The History of Laminated EPS Sheathing

By: Nick Harvill, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

ACH Foam Technologies produces Polar-R®, a 4’ x 8’ laminated sheathing, and Polar Fold®, a 4’ x 50’ sheet that comes folded in a 24” x 48” bundle.  The durable facers make these products to be strong and are used to wrap your home in continuous insulation and a weather resistive barrier to reduce air infiltration and energy loss.  Why were these products developed?

Up until the 1970’s, contractors frequently used wood fiberboard for wall sheathing.  As energy costs rose, the need for thermal insulation grew.  Contractors began using sheets of unfaced EPS on the walls to gain insulation value, usually ¾” or 1” thick.

In the early 80’s companies began to laminate a paper layer to the EPS, usually with a foil facing to achieve reflective R-Value when air space was present such as in brick sheathing applications.  The facer made the sheet stronger, more durable and flexible.   The early versions of laminated EPS sheathing used melted asphalt as the adhesive.   This method was followed by latex and hot melt adhesives, which were much safer.  The manufacturing process most common today is a plastic film facer that thermally laminates to the EPS. The plastic film is co-extruded with an adhesive layer that, when heated, bonds aggressively to the EPS sheet

Over time contractors had a growing need for larger sheets of insulation that could be easily transported and handled on the jobsite.  This need led to both sides of the EPS insulation being laminated.  Each side of the laminate and foam was cut every 2 feet to allow the material to fold.  ACH Foam Technologies produces its 4’ x 50’ Polar Fold® in thicknesses from 3/8” thick to 4” thick in a variety of densities ranging from Type I to Type IX EPS.   Polar Fold® is used as a backing for siding underlayment, protection board for foundation waterproofing, sheathing, and as a recover board for single ply roofing applications.

Polar-R and Polar Fold, like all of ACH Foam Technologies products, are safe for the environment and have never contained CFCs, HFCs, HCHC’s or formaldehyde.

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EPS Insulation Prevents Your Roof from Becoming a Waterin’ Hole

By:  Rick Shinn, Sales Representative - Architectural Products

Driving the rural highways of my territory, I often see a bulldozer or other equipment pushing dirt around in a large field. Always strategically placed in a low-lying area of the field, a berm is being created to catch the rainfall runoff from the surrounding area. To the rancher, this oasis will help sustain his herd. Strangely enough, a very similar thing can occur on a flat or low-slope roof. Unfortunately, on a roof this “ponding” will result in major problems.

I recently searched the Internet for leading causes of flat and low-slope roofing problems. The results were numerous and consistent. Most websites pertained to materials and workmanship. Only one design-related issue showed up regularly and it always listed near the top of my searches. Ponding water!

Standing or ponding water on a roof WILL find any hole or gap in the roofing membrane to create a leak. The standing water will also cause the membrane to degrade faster and put a substantial additional load on the roof structure itself. Whether new construction or the reroof of an existing structure, if proper care is not taken in roof design to move rainwater efficiently and quickly from the roof area, major damage can occur. The best way to accomplish that task is with tapered insulation. Foam-Control EPS Roof Insulation offers the versatility needed to design highly efficient drainage for your roof. Consisting of flat and tapered foam pieces, slopes, crickets and saddles can be provided to create positive drainage in as few as two layers of material and to thicknesses as great as 36”. That versatility offers substantial savings in both material and labor costs compared to the most common polyiso materials, which are available only in relatively thin sheets.

So the next time you inspect a roof for a building owner, notice if you happen to be standing in water, mud, a layer of dirt, or just a dark ring on the membrane. If so, be sure to design the new roof with Foam-Control EPS Roof Insulation. Figuratively speaking, you’ll be protecting his herd.

This insulation consists of flat and tapered foam pieces from which slopes, crickets, and saddles can be provided to create positive drainage in as few as two layers of material and to thicknesses as great as 36”.

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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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