The terms ‘talalay’ and ‘dunlop’ refer to the two different methods of manufacturing latex rubber for sleep products. The dunlop process was developed in 1929 and was the first method used to produce latex material for bedding. As technology progressed, the talalay process was developed during World War II. The talalay process for producing latex is significantly more complex and costly, resulting in a softer more buoyant and luxurious finished product.
- Liquid latex formulation is pouring into a mold and sealed closed.
- Vacuum is created to disperse liquid latex throughout mold
- liquid latex is flash frozen
- Frozen latex is flash heated to ‘gel’ into permanent solid form
- Cooled solid latex is removed from mold
- liquid latex formulation is poured onto a long conveyor belt
- liquid latex is slowly heated to gel into permanent solid form
- cooled solid latex is removed from conveyor belt
Why #2 Vacuum? This allows any amount of latex to be evenly distributed through the mold creating precise and varied firmnesses with the finished latex. The more liquid latex that is poured into the model the firmer the resulting solid latex. This differs from the dunlop process since the dunlop process has very little ability to vary the firmness or feel while maintaining the structural integrity. The only way to ‘soften’ the dunlop is to add fillers into the liquid latex which results in solid latex that is flaky and breaks down quickly.
Why #3 Flash Freeze? Flash freezing provides talalay with its uniquely consistent characteristic. Liquid latex is a suspension of rubber particles in water, like a shaken snow globe. Flash freezing prevents the latex particles from settling to the bottom while gelling into a solid product. This means that the resulting piece of solid talalay latex has the same consistent feel from top to bottom.
This differs from the dunlop process because dunlop does not utilize a freeze step. Therefore, the rubber particles settle to the bottom while the liquid latex is gelling into a solid form resulting in a variation of feel from top to bottom.
All in all the talalay process take four times longer than the dunlop with the two additional steps that increase consistency, quality, and feel of the finished latex.