Answer: The TEMPUR formula. It actually hasn’t changed much since TEMPUR began working
with it in the 1980s. That’s a testament to its quality. Dan-Foam Lab Manager Simon Simonsen
explains, “We’ve made some small adjustments to the basic formulation, but what we have now is very similar to what we worked with in the 80s.”
The formula remains a closely guarded secret. While many brands seek patents to protect their brand, to do so requires product details to be published, thus inviting competitors to mimic the formula with slight changes.
“Fewer than 20 people actually know the TEMPUR® recipe, and there’s no patent on it in order to keep it that way,” says Simon.
“The formula is quite simple – it’s the chemistry that’s complex. In fact, it’s the most complicated in polymer chemistry.”
For those of us who aren’t chemical engineers, it’s all to do with macromolecules, or simply very
large molecules strung together, and chemical reactions.
Though the formula remains largely the same, the lab has still conducted over 30,000 experiments
in the past 10 years. That might sound like a lot, but in product development terms it’s not out of the ordinary.
It takes about three to six months to develop a new recipe. First, the specifications for the project
are defined, then Simon and his team begin experiments on a small scale in the lab.
When all the parameters are met, they take it to the next level – the pilot stage – which resembles a full-scale production process to make sure the mixture meets TEMPUR® parameters, extensive tests are conducted throughout development.
“We use lasers and mechanical analysers to measure criteria like the foam’s pressure relieving and sink-in performance. We also conduct triangle tests in climate- controlled environments, where we ask people to identify which of three mattresses does not have the TEMPUR® feeling of weightlessness,” explains Simon.
The main criteria for experiments is that products meet a specific market need, such as sleeping in
a hot environment. This might involve adjusting the air flow qualities or moisture management properties in the formula – always with less waste and cleaner production processes in mind.
Though many have tried to imitate the TEMPUR® feeling, none have succeeded in creating the unique balance of comfort and support. “Our mission is to provide the best possible night’s sleep for TEMPUR® customers, so any changes we make to the formula are based on a sound understanding of its properties,” says Simon. “We are very faithful to the original formula, because what we have is truly unique.”