Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
Germany: BASF has adopted the voluntary Keymark certification scheme for its Styrodur insulation boards made from extruded polystyrene (XPS). The decision follows the decision by the German government to drop the Ü mark for harmonised building products in late 2016. BASF has decided to use Keymark scheme to show that the product has been approved for use in Germany. It is a voluntary product certification awarded by Din Certco, a TÜV Rhineland company in cooperation with the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN).
US: Albemarle Corporation, a flame retardant manufacturer, and ICL, a specialty chemical company, have announced that they have entered into a long-term agreement for the supply of a polymeric flame retardant. The product is manufactured at ICL's facilities in the Netherlands and in Israel using technology licensed from Dow Global Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.
This next generation flame retardant, which is marketed by Albemarle under the brand name GreenCrest and by ICL under the brand name FR122P, is a sustainable alternative for customers transitioning from hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD)-based flame retardants currently used by the building industry in extruded polystyrene (XPS) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation products. Albemarle will supply ICL with bromine for the production of GreenCrest, associated with the agreement. The agreement is subject to certain conditions precedent, including approval of Israel's Antitrust Authority.
Albemarle and ICL will continue to provide independent marketing, sales and technical service to their respective customers in Europe and around the world to ensure a transition as EPS and XPS producers continue to shift from HBCD to the polymeric flame retardants.
UK: Following a successful pilot launch during 2014, Dow Building Solutions has announced the commercial roll-out of XENERGYTM, a brand new, flame-retarded, XPS roof insulation product. In a departure from the blue STYROFOAMTM boards that the company is widely known for, the XENERGYTM boards manufactured by Dow Building Solutions' King's Lynn production site in Norfolk County, will be steel grey in colour.
Dow, the inventor of STYROFOAM, has developed XENERGY to achieve a significantly improved λ insulation performance and to deliver a global warming potential (GWP) of less than five. Through combining a manufacturing process which uses CO2 as the blowing agent and adding infra-red blocking particles to scatter and reflect heat radiation within the foam board, λ values have been increased by 11%.
XENERGY SL, the first XENERGY product available in the UK, is designed to offer highly moisture-resistant flat roof insulation at thinner thicknesses than conventional XPS alternatives. XENERGY SL offers 4mW thermal conductivity gains in various thicknesses.
"The UK is leading the way with the commercial roll-out of XENERGY, a product that has numerous benefits, including significantly improved thermal performance," said Chris Gimson, head of commercial at Dow Building Solutions. "It signifies a new era for the business and demonstrates our commitment to formulating and manufacturing the highest standard insulation materials."
Germany: Germany's BASF has switched its entire polystyrene-based insulation product portfolio for the European market to the new polymeric flame retardant (PolyFR). The change comes nine months ahead of the deadline laid out in the REACH regulation, which forbids the use of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) as a flame retardant as of 21 August 2015. This means BASF's 'Styropor' and 'Neopor' Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and its 'Styrodur' extruded polystyrene (XPS) are only available with PolyFR from now on.
"By switching to PolyFR we can guarantee the supply of eco-efficient thermal insulation products for sustainable building projects in the future," said Giorgio Greening of the group's Styrenic Foams business unit. Using PolyFR allows producers to manufacture insulation materials that meet Class E under European standards.
To meet rising global demand for PolyFR, which has a better environmental profile than HBCD, a number of producers have set up new production plants, including the recent announcement by Albemarle and Israel Chemicals (ICL) to set up a PolyFR joint venture.
Germany: Austrian heat insulation specialist Austrotherm GmbH has launched its first production plant in Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt. The new 114,000m2 plant, which produces its characteristic pink extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam insulation board, was built in 10 months with an investment of Euro40m. The plant specialises in the production of XPS substrate specifically for high-pressure loads and high insulation thickness board. Located midway between Berlin and Hamburg, the site is well placed to supply growing markets in Germany and abroad.
“With the new plant, we are much closer to the market and, by eliminating the long transport routes, it will be faster and more flexible for the customer,” said Austrotherm’s sales and internationalisation executive director Gerald Prinzhorn. “It also allows us to export to northern Europe, Poland and the Benelux countries.” The site location is also set to benefit soon from the construction of the A14 motorway at Wittenberg.
Austrotherm, which also manufactures expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, operates other XPS production units in Austria, Serbia and Romania. In its 2013 financial year annual sales grew by 2% to Euro250m.
“The fact that we were able to increase sales last year is due to our international activities, such as the new EPS insulating plant in Izmir, Turkey,” said CEO Peter Schmid. He predicted a further sales rise in 2014 with further exports from the Wittenberg plant.
The company has also invested Euro4m to establish its second insulation material plant in Turgutlu, Turkey.
Russia: TechnoNicol Corporation is expanding its insulation materials capacity at an existing plant in Yurga in the Kemerovo Region of southern Russia with investments totalling Euro18.6m. This includes the launch, which is due in 2015, of a new 200,000m3/yr XPS line. The line cost around Euro7.45m and will produce the company's full range of TechnoNicol XPS products. Its installation is set to meet growing demand for insulation products associated with major regional infrastructure projects, including the 29th Winter Universiade being held in Krasnoyarsk in 2019, as well as road construction and oil and gas industry infrastructure schemes.
In September 2014 TechnoNocil is due to complete another Euro9.4m investment at Yurga plant with the upgrade of its basalt wool insulation, leading to a 29% increase in output. Products from the plant will be targeted at Russian regions including western and eastern Siberia and the central Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous region, as well as eastern Kazakhstan, north-western China and Mongolia, according to TechNicol's CEO Vladimir Markov.
Kazakhstan/China/Russia: Russia's TechnoNicol will invest Euro12.4m to build a 300,000m2/yr capacity extruded polystyrene foam (XPS) insulation plant in the Karaganda Region of Kazakhstan. The plant will start production in 2016. Its products will be supplied to all regions of Kazakhstan and south Asia.
Germany: Austria's Austrotherm has inaugurated its first manufacturing base in Wittenberge, Brandenburg, Germany. The new plant for extruded polystyrene (XPS) required a Euro40m investment and will employ 70 people. The production capacity was not disclosed. The Austrotherm Group, which has 18 production units in 11 countries, reported a turnover of Euro250m in 2013.
Russia: Teplex, a Russian producer of insulation materials, has ordered new equipment to increase its output of extruded polystyrene (XPS) to 500,000m3/yr. The increase in production will give the company a 15% share of the Russian market and meet the demand in the Central, North-Western and Volga Federal Districts of the country. The new equipment will begin production by early 2013.
The company is also in talks to move part of its operations to Novosibirsk in Siberia to meet the needs of the local regional market. The new plant is expected to produce 200,000m3/yr of XPS and will begin operation by early 2014.
Finland: The Finnish expanded polystyrene (XPS) producer, ThermiSol, has acquired Finland's Suomen XPS in a deal funded by the state-owned company Finnish Industry Investment Ltd and the mutual insurance associations Fennia and its unit Fennia Retirement. Suomen XPS produces Novafoam XPS insulation materials and the acquisition is consistent with ThermiSol's strategy of expanding its product range.
The deal was agreed by the two companies on 1 August 2011 and ThermiSol will transfer machinery and production equipment from its factory in Pietarsaari to the Suomen XPS factory in Vimpeli between the autumn of 2011 and early 2012. According to the company this move will take advantage of the Vimpeli site's geographic location.
ThermiSol's Executive Director Urpo J Salimen said that the two companies had 'obvious synergies' and had come to a deal 'as quickly as possible.' ThermiSol, also an established producer of extruded polystyrene (EPS), had a turnover of Euro60m in 2010 and has interests in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Turnover is expected to increase by nearly 17% in 2011 to Euro70m.