Behind the Scenes at ACH Foam Technologies, Kansas City

By: Chris Benson, Packaging Specialist

There are many employees that make ACH Foam Technologies function. The following employees in Kansas City help ACH run on a day to day basis and are usually behind the scenes ensuring your orders Industrial/OEM DuraTherm® products are processed and manufactured correctly.

Brandon Rhoads blog pictureBrandon Rhoads – Kansas City 3rd St Plant, Production Manager

Brandon is a seasoned veteran in the ACH Foam ranks and is the production manager for ACH’s 3rd St fabrication facility in Kansas City. Brandon oversees scheduling and production for the plant. Anytime there is a rush order or a hot sample request, Brandon is the man that makes it happen!

Sean Thomas blog pictureSean Thomas – Kansas City 3rd St Plant, Production Supervisor

Sean, besides being Brandon’s right hand man, oversees the production on the floor, keeping the foam cutting lines running smoothly and ensuring products are manufactured correctly. He will tell you all he does is cut samples for the author off this blog post! Sean is a team player as long as donuts are involved!

Mike Dunsmore blog pictureMike Dunsmore – Industrial Products Design and Sales Support

Mike is our packaging/oem design guru. He has been with ACH only a little while, but brings packaging knowledge and a fresh set of ideas to ACH Foam. Learning everyday about the all the foam types is quite a task. Designing packaging concepts utilizing expanded polystyrene (EPS), Arcel, Neopor, expanded polyethylene (EPE) and other foam types can be difficult as each has it’s own nuances. Mike has been up to the task in designing packaging concepts that ensure your products arrive in perfect condition.

Tyra Cobbins blog pictureTyra Cobbins – Customer Service/ Order entry

Tyra has many roles, from entering orders to handling issues that arise, she is a very important employee within the ACH team. She communicates daily with everyone listed in this post along with other employees to ensure we meet the customer’s expectations and deadline on orders. Communication is key in Tyra’s role and she is always on top of orders and what needs to happen.

Shawn Allen blog pictureShawn Allen – Inside Sales Support/Industrial Products

As with everyone else listed, Shawn wears many hats within ACH Foam. Quoting, customer service, sales, mediator between sales staff and production, helping on design, keeping sales staff in line, she does it all! With over 15 years of experience, her industry knowledge and insight on DuraTherm® products are unmatched. A true team player in every aspect, Shawn is an integral part of the ACH Foam team.

There are so many employees, from production to other inside personnel not listed. I have to keep this somewhat short as it is a blog, not a novel. Thank you to all the amazing ACH Foam employees that do such a great job!

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Problem: Compressible Building-Site Soils / Solution: Foam-Control® Geofoam

By: Pat Austin, Sales Representative


When a potential building site is evaluated for its suitability to a proposed construction project, the load-bearing capacity of the soil supporting the structure is a major concern.  Geotechnical engineers are often consulted to evaluate the site and generate conclusions based on their testing.  Frequently, this testing reveals that the site cannot support the proposed construction without enhancement – meaning that mitigation must be undergone to reduce the impact of the structure on the underlying subsoils.

One method of mitigating the effects of proposed construction on a site’s subsoil is by excavating and replacing a volume of fill material with Foam-Control® Geofoam.  Because geofoam can offer a wide range of compressive strengths, at a weight of approximately 1% of the excavated material, a tremendous strength-to-weight improvement can be realized.  The loading of the subsoils left after excavation can be greatly lessened, if not eliminated completely, by replacing potential overburden with Foam-Control® Geofoam.

There are other advantages to implementing geofoam in compressible-soil mitigation projects:

  • No compaction is required of the geofoam fill, construction can occur immediately upon completion of fill placement
  • Geofoam can be placed in sub-freezing temperatures
  • Predictable strength – grades are available which offer a range of 320-2,680 psf compressive resistance
  • Ease of installation – geofoam can be placed quickly, modified easily, and requires minimal heavy equipment

These factors combine to make geofoam a preferred solution for compressible building-site soils.

Give Foam-Control® Geofoam the opportunity to lighten the load on your next building project.  Contact your ACH Foam Technologies’ regional representative for a quote and put geofoam to work for you.

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New: DuraTherm® GPS (Graphite Polystyrene) Packaging

By: Greg Aron, Regional Sales Manager

DuraTherm GPS Cooler 2

ACH Foam Technologies’ DuraTherm® GPS (graphite polystyrene) offers the same benefits of DuraTherm® EPS with the added ability to reduce material thicknesses by up to 20% while maintaining the same thermal performance.  DuraTherm® GPS is comprised of many small pockets of air within a polymer matrix containing graphite. The graphite reflects radiant heat energy like a mirror, increasing the material’s resistance to the flow of heat, or R-value.

In addition, DuraTherm® GPS is a strikingly sharp, beautiful silver/grey color and can be beneficial in reusable packaging and OEM applications that require the use of colored material.  DuraTherm® GPS can be block molded, shape molded, and fabricated in the same manner as DuraTherm® EPS and is available at ACH Foam Technologies plants nationwide.

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All that Glitters is Not Gold: How Stable is your R-Value?

By: Doug Wehrwein, Sales Representative

It’s generally understood that extruded polystyrene (XPS) offers more initial R-value per inch than expanded polystyrene (EPS) yet because of its lower cost, EPS offers a better value.

Are you aware that XPS manufacturers use blowing agents made with CFCs and HCFCs which have a negative effect on our environment because they are contributing to the depletion of the earth’s protective ozone layer? Besides this negative effect on our environment these blowing agents linger in XPS rigid insulation and temporarily boost its R-value. But it won’t last… the XPS manufacturers guaranty it won’t last!

XPS manufacturers’ warranties state that the R-value, they so proudly promote as R-5 per inch, will only be retained at 90%. 90% of that R-5 is 4.5. In other words, XPS is guaranteed to lose R-value. Is less than a .023 percent increase in R-value worth a 10 to 20 percent increase in cost?


All that glitters is not gold is a well-known saying, meaning that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. I encourage you to check into the R-value warranties of the 4 pretty pastels, the green, yellow, pink and blue colored XPS rigid insulation products. They all guaranty that their rigid insulation boards will lose R-value.

On the other hand Foam-Control PLUS+ rigid EPS insulation maintains a consistent R-value over its life because the manufacturing process used to manufacture EPS contains no ozone depleting blowing agents and results in just normal air, rather than gas, being encapsulated within the closed cell rigid insulation. Foam-Control PLUS+ architectural insulation is stable and the R-value will not change over time.

Posted in Below-Grade Insulation, Sheathing & Wall Applications, Perimeter & Below-Grade Insulation, Roof Insulation | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Take a Dip with Geofoam for Rooftop Pools

By: Nick Harvill, Sales Representative


While Foam-Control® Geofoam is often used to infill existing swimming pools that have outlived their purpose, Geofoam can also be used to shape new pools. Above grade pools are often installed in large metal boxes that are placed in the deck of building at various floor levels. To reduce the amount of concrete used, Geofoam is installed in the floor and walls of the box to rough shape the pool. This can be done in a number of ways.

Pool floors are usually sloped to a drain area. Foam-Control® Geofoam can be tapered to provide a constant thickness of concrete and further reduce weight. The walls may need fill a few inches to 2 feet thick or more. The Geofoam can be supplied to install in one layer or the contractor may choose to install multiple layers to reach the thickness needed.

Steps, sun ledges, and other structures in the pool can be formed with Geofoam and then covered with concrete. This allows every pound of weight to be eliminated that can be. After installing the Geofoam and the structural steel reinforcement, the concrete is shot into place to the needed thickness. Foam-Control® Geofoam fill is sometimes used to form the collection trough around the pool. Put in place to block out the concrete and form the trough and then removed to allow final shaping.

Although lower Geofoam compressive strengths can be used for the trough block out, higher compressive strengths such as EPS29 to EPS46 are usually needed in pool construction to support the weight of the pool and water. The Project Engineer would make the final determination.

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