The Ever-Changing Market

By:  Ryan Olson, Packaging Specialist

Polystyrene Foam isn’t just a flat sheet of foam or a large block.  It’s the beginning stage of a unique design commonly used for protective packaging utilizing hot wire equipment.

Often I hear the word ‘sheets’ when visiting with new companies.  ACH Foam is more than just a supplier of sheet insulation.  We bring a lot of creativity and value to the new projects we are presented with daily.  We can take a large EPS billet with average size of 36”x 48”x 96” made from one of our eight plant locations and design, wire-cut, and ship new orders in a typical two-to-three week window.

As equipment advances; we also advance, which enables us to produce new products faster in our ever-changing market.  A good example of new equipment at ACH Foam is our Frog Mill multi axis router pictured below.

Here are a few examples of low cost value added polystyrene packs:


Frog Mill Multi Axis Router

Frog Mill Multi Axis Router

Antenna Pack

Antenna Pack

OEM EPS Application: Pontoon Fillers

OEM EPS Application: Pontoon Fillers

CNC Glued Part

CNC Glued Part

EPS Foam Packaging Vaccine Shipper
EPS Foam Packaging Vaccine Shipper
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Structural Insulated Panels Simplify Complicated Designs

By:  Aaron Weatherbie, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

Structural Insulated panels offer many benefits. They are often chosen because of their increased energy efficiency and environmentally friendly components. SIP panels are made with expanded polystyrene (EPS) and oriented stand board (OSB). EPS is a rigid insulation that is 98% air and a small percentage of plastic. The OSB is made from fast growing trees that can quickly regenerate. I believe these are two great reasons for building with Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), in addition to their ability to accommodate complicated designs.

I recently worked on a commercial roof project that was shaped like an octagon with undulating hips and valleys. This complicated design had multiple angles matched to form the hip or valley.  Additionally, the angle of the ridge line also needing to be accounted for. The use of SIPs on this project drastically increased the speed of construction because the panels were able to be prefabricated so they were ready to install upon delivery.

BLC (29)BLC (47)

The contractor on this project prefabricated the panels at his shop. All the angles were cut in a controlled environment. On the jobsite the contractor took it a step further and preassembled large sections of the roof on the ground before lifting them into place. This reduced the amount of time a crane would be needed, which saved money. By preassembling large sections of this complicated design, hundreds of square feet of SIPs were able to be installed at the same time.

Over the years structural insulated panels have been chosen for residential and commercial projects because of their energy efficiency and superior performance over conventionally framed structures. However, there are some designs in which SIP panels can be used to lower construction costs and speed up the amount of time required to complete a project. The prefabrication and on site assembly of these panels was key to the success of this design. With some advanced planning Structural Insulated Panels can turn a complicated design into a money saving opportunity.

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ACH Foam Technologies Premiers at PackExpo!

By: William Hill, Packaging Specialist

We hope you plan to visit ACH Foam Technologies at the PackExpo November 2-5th at the McCormick Center in Chicago! ACH Foam Technologies, a leader in Expanded Polystyrene manufacturing with 8 strategic manufacturing locations across the nation, is your show destination for information on protective foam packaging.  ACH Foam can assist you with stock or custom packaging solutions and provide you with competitive pricing.


ACH Foam Technologies also has the capability to provide you or your clients with a solution that will meet your unique criteria, along with required testing specifications established within various niche market places.  We have extensive design capabilities, can produce prototype parts that are machined to your exact specifications for testing purposes, and conduct design evaluations.  Our in-house testing lab is capable of providing impact drop testing data or thermal test results for those items needing to be temperature controlled during shipping.

Let ACH Foam Technologies’ team of packaging specialists introduce themselves to you at the show and answer all your protective packaging questions. ACH Foam’s team will be located this year at PackExpo Booth 8821.  We look forward to meeting you soon.

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Foam-Control EPS Roof Insulation – A No-Brainer

By: Pat Austin, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

In Wisconsin, a lot of folks with German ancestry play a card game called sheepshead. When someone is playing sheepshead and gets dealt a hand with all the dominant cards, in which there is no possible way they could lose, it is referred to as a no-brainer. The thought process is that the person could have a frontal lobotomy and still somehow throw their cards on the table and win.


With respect to roof insulation – choosing Foam-Control EPS is a no-brainer. Time and time again, on projects all across the country, ACH Foam Technologies ships EPS to customers who’ve looked at the rigid foam insulation options with a discriminating eye. To the informed consumer, the advantages are obvious:

- Stable, long-lasting R-value; no loss of performance due to off-gassing of entrained gases.
- Versatility: our products are cut out of large billets allowing custom thicknesses and lengths; additionally many densities are offered with corresponding compressive strengths from 10-60psi.
- Code approvals for direct-to-deck installation.
- Fire resistance with industry-leading flame spread and smoke density performance.
- Full-system warranty availability with any type of single-ply membrane.
- Environmentally-Conscious: EPS is fully recyclable and ACH Foam Technologies recycled 5.4 Million pounds in 2013. We recycle every day.
- Cost: Foam-Control EPS simply has the lowest cost per R-value of all the rigid insulation options. Money is a resource worth conserving.

It’s an easy decision when you look at all the variables and compare them across the board. Choose Foam-Control EPS Roof Insulation from ACH Foam Technologies when you need a winning hand.

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Looming Changes in FedEx and UPS Dimensional Weight Pricing

By: Dennis Smith – Packaging Specialist

Effective December 29, 2014, UPS is changing to Dimensional Weight Shipping pricing for its ground services with FedEx implementing their changes January 1, 2015. Experts claim that 33% of all Ground shipments will be impacted by this change.

Currently, FedEx Ground charges dimensional weight pricing only to packages measuring three cubic feet or greater, but the new Dimensional Weight Pricing changes will apply to all packages. UPS already applies Dimensional Weight pricing for UPS air services (domestic and international), UPS Standard to Mexico ground services and for UPS ground packages and UPS Standard to Canada packages measuring three cubic feet in size or larger. Starting December 29, 2014 dimensional weight will be utilized to calculate the billable weight of a shipment of all UPS ground services and UPS Standard to Canada packages followed by FedEx implementing the same policy a few days later on (January 1, 2015).

Determining the impact:
For example, a FedEx Ground package of 20x14x12 the dimensional weight is 20 lbs.

20” x 14” x 12” = 3,360 cubic inches

Volume/dimensional divider = 3,360/166 = 20 lbs.

You then compare the dimensional weight to the actual weight, and the higher of the two becomes the billable weight. For example, if the actual weight is 14 lbs. you will then be billed at the 20 lb. dimensional weight.

How to help offset this rate increase:

The most significant way to help offset this increase is to be aware of the box size and not using unnecessarily large boxes for lighter shipments.

EPS (Expandable Polystyrene) Fabricated and Molded protection options:

Obviously, EPS protective packaging is lightweight and, at the same time, also offers critical impact protection and thermal values.  It also occupies a certain amount of space within the shipping container that adds to the Dimensional Weight calculation.

ACH Foam Technologies offers optimal utilization of EPS foam (fabricated and molded) through proper design for a variety of products. By understanding the particular requirements of our customers and the wide array of products they manufacture and ship, we can incorporate the optimal protection thermal value to assist in maintaining the least amount of package dimension in order to help offset the new FedEx and UPS Dimensional Weight Pricing changes.

Proper utilization of EPS Loose-Fill (Peanuts):

To properly protect fragile products in transit, center the object in the container, surrounded by loose-fill.

Start by filling the corrugated container approximately half-way with EPS Loose-Fill (peanuts), then center the object in the container and continue filling the container with loose-fill so there is a slight dome above the top edge of the container. Then, taking the flaps of the container, compress the dome downward and seal with tape.

This compresses the loose-fill in and around the object to be protected; locking it in place so that it doesn’t shift and migrate to the edge of the corrugated container (subjecting it to potential damage). This offers better protection and utilization of the EPS protective packaging within the package dimensions. The size of the container and the amount of loose-fill used would of course have to be determined by the weight and fragility of the object being protected.

For assistance in helping design a package for your application and to help offset the new changes in Dimensional Weight Pricing changes, please contact your nearest ACH Foam Technologies Packaging Specialist in your area.

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