ACH Foam Technologies Blog Providing the Best of EPS Tue, 27 Mar 2018 16:54:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Managing Price Increases in Today’s Marketplace Tue, 27 Mar 2018 16:54:49 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Joe Kurz, Packaging Specialist

Procurement Plans

It is no secret that we are seeing increases in costs coming from every sector of the economy. All petroleum based products, including a gallon of gasoline, have risen several times in the past quarter. We are seeing increases in transportation, labor, utilities and so forth. Even paper products are on the rise.

For purchasing departments, the challenges to control costs are many. The veteran design team at ACH Foam Technologies has been busy working with prospects to come up with lower cost solutions to the higher end packaging foams they are currently using. By exploring the advantages of DuraTherm foam packaging solutions, companies have been able to minimize the impact that price increases are having on their bottom line.

Please consider allowing us to suggest ways that DuraTherm foam packaging solutions can help to maximize your profits as well! Complete our simple and easy to use info request page at and one of our representatives will contact you shortly.

]]> 0
Why use Foam-Control PLUS+® for your roof insulation? Wed, 21 Mar 2018 19:43:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: John Myers – Sales Representative, Architectural Products

Today’s low slope roof systems are costing building owners considerably more money than they should. The consideration comes down to the actual “cost per R” of the insulation used in the system. While membrane manufacturers lead their customers to believe there is only one choice for insulation, nothing could be further than the truth!

Foam-Control PLUS+® and Foam-Control® roof insulation offers the lowest cost per R-Value of any roof insulation on the market. In fact, in the case of tapered insulation systems it can be 30% or more! So why might you ask are designers and contractors not offering it as insulation in their proposed systems?

The answer is quite simple, the membrane manufacturers are not as concerned with the cost of the system as they are in supplying the insulation they manufacture or label. Most every membrane manufacturer produces or licenses Polyiso insulation and naturally include it as part of their specifications. Makes sense for them; however it drives the cost of the roof system up considerably without offering any additional benefit!

In comparing Foam-Control PLUS+® and Foam-Control® roof Insulation to Polyiso there are some very important considerations.


Long term R-Value loss. It is a fact that the R-Value of Polyiso insulation decreases over time, in fact in as little as 5 years.

    • Thickness limitations of the Polyiso product requires more installation labor to reach required R-Values or taper height for drainage.
    • The best roof systems use a coverboard over the insulation and under the membrane. Using Foam-Control PLUS+® and Foam-Control® insulation with a cover board is no more expensive than Polyiso without coverboard.
    • Foam-Control PLUS+® and Foam-Control® can be applied direct to metal decks. Please refer to UL Evaluation Report ER11812-01 and UL Roof Deck Construction No. 458.
    • Foam-Control PLUS+® and Foam-Control® roof Insulation is recyclable and environmentally friendly. It contains no CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs or formaldehyde, and it comes with a 50-year thermal warranty.
    • Full warranties are available with most all membrane manufacturers, contact us for details.

This is a short list of benefits. The biggest benefit to building owners and contractors wishing to offer the best value at the best price to their customers is the significant cost savings that Foam-Control PLUS+® and Foam-Control® roof insulation offers.

Contact us today to find out how we can save you dollars on your next roof project!

]]> 0
Foam-Control PLUS+® Outperforms XPS When Exposed to Moisture Tue, 13 Mar 2018 15:27:37 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Jim Nugent – Regional Sales Manager

As the word spreads throughout the construction industry about the advantages of expanded polystyrene, specifically Foam-Control PLUS+® architectural insulation, and the advantages over extruded polystyrene, we realize there is still a lot of growth opportunity and there are many architects and contractors who still have not heard our message. With that in mind I want to review some long term independently published comparisons with Foam-Control PLUS+® and XPS as well as some new very exciting information.

Long term R Value:
There are new independently tested R-values of XPS showing the R-values of samples obtained from the market place after 3 years are under the published R5 per inch. This really should not be a surprise, yet it can catch people off guard. When you consider XPS is polystyrene plastic with blowing agents that defuse from the cell structure of XPS the R-value will be very similar to Foam-Control PLUS+®.

FC PLUS Tech Bulletin 101Water Absorption:
There is very exciting new news in this area. Newly published water absorption data on Foam-Control PLUS+ is .3% by volume, the same published data for XPS. Here is a link to our new tech bulletin. The fact that Foam-Control PLUS+® outperforms XPS when exposed to moisture, should not be a surprise, yet there are still those who have not heard the news.

In 2008 a 15 year in-ground side by side test showed expanded polystyrene significantly outperformed XPS is water absorption and R-value retention. Several other independent tests show the same results.

The key physical property of Foam-Control PLUS+® is its higher perm rating. This “breathability” helps Foam-Control PLUS+® shed moisture in drying conditions which helps retain R-value. This perm rating can also be an advantage in “open-vapor” wall assemblies that help avoid trapped moisture.

Elastic Modulus:
There is also some new exciting news regarding the elastic modulus of our Foam-Control PLUS+® offering. What is elastic modulus? In laymen’s terms it is a way of explaining to architects and engineers the strength and stiffness of rigid insulation. Elastic modulus is an important design consideration when designing freezer floods, plaza decks, split slabs and other high loading applications. Foam-Control PLUS+® 600 has the same elastic modulus as the 60 psi XPS product and our Foam-Control PLUS+® 400 has a higher elastic modulus than 40 psi XPS. The labor saving of larger pieces and the over lower material cost have Foam-Control PLUS+® 400 and 600 growing significantly across the US.

All of this information and more can be found on our website I hope this summary of some exciting new information and a review of some long standing independent testing will help to reinforce the significant advantages you have when using Foam-Control Plus+ on your next project. It is truly an architectural insulation like no other.

]]> 0
Think Small – Unique Size And Strength Tue, 13 Mar 2018 15:11:49 +0000 Continue reading ]]> DuraTherm® Expanded Polystyrene Pre-Puff

The emerging market of medical applications and it’s requirement for small size but stable materials.  ACH Foam Technologies DuraTherm® EPS Pre-puff offers a variety of densities and has you covered.   Below are a few examples of common uses for DuraTherm Pre-Puff inside Medical Positioning Pillows & also Bead sizing images.   DuraTherm Density ranging from .75 lb to 4.5 lb per cubic foot using B, C &  T bead type resin.   Typical bead size diameters range from .40 mm to 1.5 mm.

1.5 pcf pre-puff T size bead

1.5 pcf pre-puff T size bead

4.25 pcf B szie

4.25 pcf B size

Medical Positioning Pillow

Medical Positioning Pillow

Please reach out to one of our 9 plant locations to learn more.


]]> 0
Burning Characteristics of Common Insulation Materials Mon, 26 Feb 2018 18:52:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Tamara Middleton, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

ASTM E84 Standard Test Method for Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Material compares the burning behavior of a material with that of a select grade red oak.  This test involves a sample of material in a tunnel with a flame held at one end and a draft applied.  The flame is held for 10 minutes, smoke and flame spread are measured.  This is basically stage two of the three stages of fire growth. A fire starts with the non-flaming stage then progresses to well-ventilated flaming and finally to under-ventilated flaming.

ASTM E84 tests the characteristics of insulation under the well-ventilated flaming stage, and well-ventilated fires are generally small and extinguishable, however fires in enclosed buildings can rapidly grow into under-ventilated fires.  At this point the fire is large and becoming quite toxic.

Using the steady state tube furnace, toxic yields were determined for several types of building insulation, three of them were Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Polyisocyanurate (PIR), and Polyurethane (PUR).  The insulations were tested under smoldering conditions and flaming conditions.  It was found that the levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO) in the smoldering EPS were below the limits of detection, and 0.003mg/g Hydrogen Cyanide (HCN).  The PUR yielded 19.324 mg/g of CO2, 1.6mg/g of CO and .056mg/g of HCN, while the PIR yielded 25.39 mg/g of CO2, 2.171mg/g of CO and .083mg/g of HCN.  Under flaming conditions the EPS with its high content of carbon produces more CO2 than the other two insulations, however the CO2 yield in all three decreases at the fire progresses from well-ventilated to under-ventilated as the oxygen level decreases.  The CO levels increase in all three insulations at the fire progresses.  The HCN yield for both PUR and PIR increases significantly as the fire progresses, while the HCN yield for EPS remains nearly undetectable.

In short all of the above insulations yield high levels of CO2 when burning in stage two, however once in stage three or under-ventilated burning, only the Polyisocyanurate and Polyurethane yield high levels of Hydrogen Cyanide.

Assessment of Fire Toxicity of Building Insulation Materials, Anna A Stec and T Richard Hull
Center for fire and Hazard Science
University of Central Lancashire
Preson, PR1 2HE, UK
The Ins and Outs of ASTM E84 Fire Testing
Atlas Roofing Corporation
September 23rd, 2014
]]> 0
Geofoam: Competing Against Dirt Cheap Soil Thu, 08 Feb 2018 21:58:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Terry Meier, Geofoam Specialist

There is a saying that when something is extremely inexpensive it is “dirt cheap”.

When using EPS foam as a light weight fill material (Geofoam), it is often replacing dirt, so then how can Geofoam be cost competitive with something as cheap as dirt? Why would EPS Geofoam ever be used to replace dirt when dirt is so “dirt cheap?”

The answer is simple. Just because something is cheap doesn’t necessarily mean that it is always cheap to use.

I was surprised to learn that compacted soil weights as much as 125 pounds per cubic foot. That’s a lot! EPS Geofoam by comparison is 1 to 3 pounds per cubic foot depending on density.

Dirt 100 to Geofoam 1

100 to 1 weight ratio. The cube of Geofoam & the bag of dirt weigh the same amount.

Because dirt is so heavy it exerts a great deal of pressure causing numerous problems such as settlement, structural damage, and instability. Measures taken to prevent those problems are often very expensive. Even though EPS Geofoam is more expensive than dirt, in many cases it can actually save money by eliminating these problems associated with using heavier dirt.

Here are a few examples of jobs that saved money by replacing dirt with EPS Geofoam.

I-15 Freeway

I-15 Powerline

At this location on I-15 there are 3 utilities crossing the embankment. If regular fill material (dirt) had been used these utilities would need to be relocated to prevent damage caused by additional weight and differential settlement.  The cost of this relocation was estimated at over $5,000,000. By using EPS Geofoam the utilities were left in place saving the cost of relocation.

 Provo City Temple

Provo City Temple

The entire city block surrounding the temple used Geofoam to fill in depths of 3’ to 6’ on the upper level of the garage. Beneath the Geofoam was an underground parking structure and additional rooms extending from the temple. The Geofoam was either covered over with landscaping or paved over to accommodate parking. Geofoam lightened the load on the underground structures so much that the builders could reduce the volume of concrete and rebar required to support the structure. This reduction of building materials resulted in significant cost savings.

 IHC Hospital

IHC Hospital

The foundation wall on this hospital was over 30 feet tall. Using soil would exert a tremendous amount of lateral pressure on the wall. The wall was designed to be 32 inches thick to support this pressure. By using Geofoam the wall thickness was reduced to 18 inches. This reduction of thickness saved a great deal of money.

These are just of few of the many examples of how dirt isn’t always “cheap” and how using Geofoam instead of dirt can bring about some big dollar savings.

]]> 0
ACH Foam Technologies Solves the Rigid Insulation Water Absorption Equation Fri, 12 Jan 2018 20:23:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: John Cowan, Regional Sales Manager

There are several things I think we can all agree upon about rigid insulation. Performance in the field is more important than laboratory results. Stability and long-term performance of R-Values outweighs the published R-Value of the product by the manufacturer.

Until now, laboratory testing for water absorption of molded polystyrene indicated a higher water absorption rate than XPS. Recently completed laboratory tests indicates the maximum volume water absorption of molded polystyrene is 0.3%! Tests done prior to this did not take into account a drying period following the wetting period of the product.

0.3 Water Absorption

ASTM C 272 testing methods were used followed by a 24-hour drying period before measuring water absorption by volume. The 0.3 maximum absorption by volume is the same as XPS. R-Value tests were performed on samples of XPS and Polyiso obtained from major industry suppliers. The samples of XPS and Polyiso were tested periodically for R-Values over the next 3 years. The samples were tested at both 40 and 75 degrees at an accredited lab.

At 75 degrees all three Polyiso samples tested were below the published LTTR of 5.6 after 1-½ years. At 40 degrees the Polyiso actually had an R-Value less than at 75 degrees! The XPS samples were below the published R-Value of 5.0 within a month of testing. The XPS samples continued to decline in R-Value for the next several years. Compare this to the stability of the R-Value of molded polystyrene.

When you look at all the advantages of ACH Foam Technologies’ Foam-Control® PLUS+® architectural insulation: recycle content, the availability of a variety of sizes (1/2” up to 36” plus a variety of lengths & widths), stable R-Value, and costs savings up to 30%, Foam-Control® PLUS+® is the clear choice of rigid insulation.

]]> 0
FAKE NEWS: Are Published R-Values for Polyiso and XPS Insulation Real or Fake? Wed, 13 Dec 2017 21:24:23 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Dale Mullikin, Sales Representative – Architectural Products

newspaper magnifying glass

It can be hard to know what is real or what is fake. If it is published somewhere it seems to be accepted as real. If a manufacturer produces a Tech Data sheet then it must be true. Is that the case? In the insulation world that seems to be the only thing designers and owners have to make the decision on what insulation to specify or purchase for their projects. Product Tech Data sheets seem to be the only source for R-Values when it comes to insulation. Tech Data sheets use ASTM standards that give us tests/methods for measuring R-value but are they real world values? ASTM standards are used by all insulation manufactures for quality control purposes to guide their process and to hold them accountable. These standards were never intended to be used for long term performance of the insulation.

What happens to insulation R-Values when they have been in service for three years or fifteen years? What happens when insulation gets wet? What happens in freeze/thaw environments? Do the ASTM tests cover these variables? The answer is NO!

ASTM information is valuable for manufacturers to conduct quality control testing in the factory. However, there are other tests and studies that will help you determine how insulation will perform long term on the building whether it is buried in dirt and concrete under the slab or covered with membrane on the roof.  Look at the links below and read about real world testing.  And watch out for fake news about R-values.

Read the Facts about R-Values:

]]> 0
Can EPS be recycled? YES, Absolutely! Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:36:19 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Chris Benson, Packaging Specialist

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) can and has been recycled for over 25 years! Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation regarding EPS and it is a battle to get the truth out to businesses and consumers. 118 million pounds of EPS foam was recycled in 2016. This very large number can be broken down intro two categories: Post-Consumer and Post-Industrial Recovery. Post consumer is defined as any material that is recycled after its intended end-use; 63 million pounds recycled in 2016. Post-industrial recovery includes EPS facility scrap that is recycled but never served its intended purpose as a packaging material or other end-use application; 55.7 million pounds recycled in 2016.

2016 post consumer post insustrial

What ACH Foam can recycle:

#6 Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam that is white, clean, dry and free of debris. This includes items such as insulated coolers and protective packaging for electronics, household goods and toys.

What ACH Foam CANNOT recycle:

Food service containers such as foam plates, takeout containers, meat trays, egg cartons, packaging peanuts and any non-EPS type foam.

How to recycle EPS with ACH Foam:

1. EPS Foam material for recycling must be bagged, bundled, boxed, or banded for internal handling at ACH Foam Technologies

2. Mail back or drop off at any ACH Foam Technologies plant location. Contact local plant to confirm hours of operation and plant-specific recycling details.

3. Utilize the mail-back program through the EPS Industry Alliance:

4. Peanut (loosefill) recycling- call 800-828-2214 or visist   Many UPS stores will take the loosefill for recycling!

]]> 0
The EPS vs XPS Moisture Resistance & Permeability Conversation Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:21:32 +0000 Continue reading ]]> By: Pat Austin, Sales Representative

Hey John, when you’re right, you ARE right! To expand a little on your below-grade insulation performance conversation, I’d like to add a couple points.

First, the ASTM C272 quality control testing for extruded polystyrene is in my opinion the reason that most below-grade insulation is either pink or blue (those are the dyes the XPS manufacturers brand their products with).  But as you stated, this has no correlation with actual in-service performance.  In fact, several independent laboratories have published reports showing EPS to perform better in both real world and laboratory tests.

Test Reports:

So as you accurately pointed out, ASTM C272 quality control moisture testing severely misrepresents actual in-service performance.  Foam-Control® PLUS+® insulation outperforms XPS because its permeability allows it to dry out.

But John, it even gets better!  Research conducted by BASF back in the early 1990’s proved that XPS loses R-value over 10X faster than EPS when exposed to moisture gain.  In BASF’s own words, “EPS is far more resistant to adverse thermal impacts than many other insulations, including as an example extruded polystyrene.  See Table III.”

BASF E2 Front Page

As you so accurately stated, Foam-Control® PLUS+® is the superior rigid foam insulation, especially when handling exposure to bulk moisture.

]]> 0