Simple is Better

By: Jim Nugent, Regional Sales Manager


Many of us have heard the expression “spoiled for choice”. As consumers today we have so many choices for the products and services we use, and the construction market is no exception. Architects and engineers have thousands of products available to them for each CSI construction division. In division 7 (thermal & moisture protection), the construction division most relevant to ACH Foam, architects need to choose products for Roofing, Siding, Waterproofing, Sheet Metal, Exterior Claddings, Fireproofing and others. It is understandable that architects are not always quick to try new products when there are so many to consider.

Specifically in the area of thermal protection I would like to think that simple is better. For the purpose of this blog post let us consider this question; if an architect could only pick one material to thermally protect a building in addition to providing structural support for concrete slab or a paver system, what product would they chose?

Let’s look at the fiber insulations like fiberglass and mineral wool. These products are used regularly on the inside of above grade walls, occasionally rock wool is used in cavity walls. However these products would not work well, on foundations, underslab, or beneath waterproofing membranes. Limited compressive strengths and poor moisture management are the issues.

Extruded polystyrene is a product that is commonly specified for foundation walls, underslab insulation, and in cavity walls. XPS is available in limited thicknesses which makes it harder to use to meet the new continuous insulation (CI) code requirements. New independent insitu data is showing that XPS used in foundation applications or in horizontal applications, holds moisture which impacts long term R-value. Extruded polystyrene is not very practical for use under roof membranes. The thin layers combined with the difficulty to create tapered XPS systems makes it impractical in roofing applications.

Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso) is commonly used in cavity walls and under roof membranes. Polyiso is available in a wide variety of thicknesses which helps meet changing CI R-value requirements but it has never been a good choice for foundation walls or underslab insulation due to issues with moisture retention and limited compressive resistance options.

New independent data from the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) regarding the temperature sensitivity of polyiso is compelling. The roofing industry is learning that in cold climates the R-value of polyiso drops. At 25 degrees EPS actually has a higher R-value than Polyiso.

That brings us to EPS and Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® below-grade insulations offered by ACH Foam Technologies. Starting at the foundation and underslab, independent testing shows Foam-Control PLUS+® is a great choice. The ability of Foam-Control PLUS+® to shed moisture in drying conditions makes it ideal for wet environments. With compressive strengths of 25, 40 and 60 psi Foam-Control PLUS+® is ideal for underslab and pedestal paver projects. Foam-Control® and Foam Control Plus+ are available in a wide range of thicknesses making it easier to meet CI requirements in cavity walls or other wall insulation applications, and also has many NFPA285 approved assemblies.

Lastly, Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® EPS roof insulations are proving to be the right choice under roof membrane applications as well as above membrane horizontal applications. Larger pieces for tapered systems are outperforming polyiso R-values in cold climates, making EPS ideal under roof membranes. High compressive strengths, larger pieces, and better bulk moisture management make it ideal for above membrane applications in plaza decks, green roofs, and split slabs.

Initially the premise of only using one rigid insulation to thermally protect a building, may have seemed funny, but if you think about how this could simplify the specification for an architect this premise has serious merit. A very strong case can be made that simple is better and Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® can meet all the thermal protection needs of a building.

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Join ACH in Chicago for PackExpo 2016

By: Chris Benson, Packaging Specialist

2016_PACK_EXPO_International_LogoPackExpo is rapidly approaching as this year seems to be flying by.  The 2016 PackExpo will be Chicago, IL November 6th through the 9th at the McCormick Convention Center.

ACH Foam Technologies welcomes you attend and to stop by our booth at Upper Lakeside Center #E-6716  . We will have samples of our EPS manufacturing capabilities to show off along with a few of our highly knowledgeable and experienced sales team members to answer any questions.

For over four decades ACH Foam Technologies has been a leader in Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) manufacturing for packaging and industrial applications. With 8 manufacturing facilities across the United States, our customers have found ACH to be conveniently located, market competitive pricing on all our products, and a valued source to assist with any packaging or OEM solutions your company may need.

Please stop by the ACH Foam booth #E-6716 and meet our experienced and dedicated packaging team. We look forward to meeting you and working on a cost saving packaging solution that will meet your company’s needs.

We look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

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Roof Insulation Performance in Cold Climates

By: Pat Austin, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

In the northern parts of the United States and Canada, insulation usage is largely designed to keep buildings warm. In Wisconsin, where I live, our average year-round temperature hovers around 45°F, depending on which part of the state you live in. This means insulation performance is very important when temperatures drop.

Recently, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) conducted research on the cold-temperature performance of polyisocyanurate insulation. The results were both surprising and disappointing considering the volume of polyiso installed in heating climates. To summarize the NRCA’s findings, polyiso performs at R-5.55 per inch at 75°F, and drops as the temps fall.   At 40°F polyiso is not quite achieving an R-5.0 per inch and at 25°F it’s down to R-4.0 per inch.

Read more in the NRCA March 2015 Tech Talk Bulletin

To further study the impact of this in northern climates, I looked at the heating degree days in Wisconsin, as compared to the temperature curves in several cities across the state. It turns out that we spend upwards of 75% of our energy budget heating on days averaging 40°F or below and over 50% of our dollars on days 25°F or below. Insulating with a product that loses R-value as the temperature falls makes zero sense and costs money.


Comparatively, Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® EPS roof insulations gain R-value as temperatures decrease. Our Foam-Control PLUS+® 150, for instance, increases from R-4.2 per inch at 75°F to R-4.8 per inch at 25°F. We gain R-value when we need it the most! And best of all, EPS provides this performance at a cost-savings to the owner.

In northern climates, when designing insulation envelopes to keep our buildings warm in the most cost-effective manner, the choice is clear. Foam-Control® and Foam-Control PLUS+® EPS roof insulation provides performance, saves money, and keeps you warm!

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Facts About EPS and Water Absorption

By: Doug Wehrwein, Sales Representative

Extensive testing has confirmed that the closed-cell structure of EPS reduces moisture absorption over prolonged periods. Even when moisture absorption has reached the maximum threshold there is minimal effect on the thermal performance of EPS insulation. When you review the Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance Technical Bulletin 103 you’ll see that even when the moisture absorption level reached 4.8% the EPS insulation’s R value was still at 94% of what was expected. Conversely, the R-value of a comparable sample of XPS was only at 52% of what was expected and moisture level of the XPS sample was 18.9%.

The area in which water can migrate into in the EPS material is the tiny channels (or the interstitial space) between the fused beads of expanded polystyrene. These channels naturally exist in EPS rigid insulations boards and serve as the means to easily release the water when drying occurs. Moisture is present in the EPS long enough for adverse effects to take place. When XPS is exposed to bulk moisture repeatedly over long periods it may allow water in, where it them becomes trapped. See Expanded Polystyrene Industry Alliance Technical Bulletin 104 and 105. Generally, neither water nor water vapors affect the properties of EPS.

Foam-Control Plus+® Architectural EPS Insulation is a very cost-effective way to provide both superior thermal resistance and protection for underlying foundation moisture protection systems.

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Summer time, need to ship wine?

By: Bryan Buchanan, Packaging Specialist

1673DuraTherm® wine shippers is a great packaging solution for shipping your wine from summer through the winter months. It is designed to resolve any issues with shipping a temperature sensitive product safely when the outside temperature is high; in addition to ensuring that it travels from point A to point B without breakage. Our design, with input from industry leaders, distributors, and freight carriers has helped to make this a solid and dependable program. DuraTherm® wine shippers have passed the rigorous ISTA 7E Summer Profile test. Is has also received ISTA 3A drop test certification, which confirms that your product is shipped in a package that will avoid content damage. Passing these critical tests provides our customers with peace of mind that their product is in good hands!

The summer DuraTherm® shipper comes in a 2-Pack, 6-Pack, and 12-Pack versions. We can provide the specially designed EPS foam in a corrugated box with designated gel packs as a complete kit.  Over the years we collected valuable customer input and have modified the summer shipper to create an unparalleled quality product with unique features for your valuable wine contents.

For more information on this product category please go to

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