A New Low-Pressure Foam System Reduces Waste and Increases Yield
By Ryan Spencer
LOW-PRESSURE FOAM: PROS AND CONS
Low-pressure foam systems offer major benefits over high-pressure foam in certain circumstances, notably cost-effectiveness for smaller applications. However, one major drawback is the tedious calibration process, which not only negatively impacts time and labor, but also increases material waste. In short, the calibration process is a time-consuming combination of pressure adjustments, test spraying, and weighing in pursuit of the ideal 1:1 ratio between the A and B sides of a low-pressure spray foam system.
“In the past, contractors used calibration nozzles and plastic bags to manually calibrate the chemical by weighing it on a digital scale, and then dividing the results to determine the ratio,” explained T.J. Peters, General Manager of Spray Foam Systems. “If the ratio is incorrect, then they have to adjust the pressures and/or temperatures in order to apply it properly.”
While calibrating is necessary to install quality low-pressure SPF, the process can be understandably intimidating or off-putting for contractors looking to run a smooth operation. Indeed, manual calibration was for years a source of inefficiency and waste that simply came with the territory of using low-pressure foam systems.
“We’ve seen in the low-pressure world that contractors will still have at least 10% of their material, either A or B, when they send back a refillable system,” Peters said, adding, “and you can imagine how much material and labor is wasted on a daily basis by people test-spraying into bags.”
THE ANSWER: NITROSYS
In recognizing this challenge in the low-pressure market, Spray Foam Systems aimed at providing a solution that would do away with manual calibration entirely, and what they ended up creating was the new NiTROSYS low-pressure system.
“NiTROSYS is designed to work with refillable low-pressure foam systems, and it eliminates contractors manually calibrating materials on the job site,” said Peters. “There’s no system out there for refillable low-pressure foam that preheats the material to keep the viscosities equal to increase yield.”
Basically, NiTROSYS is a low-pressure proportioner that preheats and automatically calibrates (by volume) the material of refillable low-pressure foam systems, and also maintains the material temperature to the spray gun through specialized heated hoses. The system is powered by nitrogen, which is supplied via refillable tanks, and also features a stroke counter, which provides for more accurate yield measurements. The NiTROSYS system is sold by itself, for contractors who already have spray rigs, or as a turnkey spray rig package, trailer and all.
“It’s a good entry-level rig for someone who may want to get into weatherization or hybrid flash-and-batt applications,” said Peters. “They’ll see a lot of savings, and they’ll see them relatively quickly.”
Savings constitute perhaps the system’s biggest advantage, and Spray Foam Systems has been adamant about touting the bottom-line benefits via the ROI calculator on the NiTROSYS website. Interested contractors can see projections of how much time and material waste can be offset by NiTROSYS, and how quickly they can recoup their investment.
NiTROSYS debuted to the public in October at the ICAA show, but has been extensively field tested for months to gauge its performance and gather contractor feedback. One of the early adopters was Dr. Energy Saver, a home energy retrofit contractor network headquartered in Connecticut.
“We try to be an extremely innovative company, that’s very important to us, so we were trying to stay ahead of the curve, technology-wise, and at the same time we were trying to solve a problem that our network was experiencing with the former low-pressure systems we were using,” said Mike Rubin, Operations Manager at Dr. Energy Saver. “We installed a trial system in our local Connecticut company about a year ago and ran it all through the winter time and it performed very well.”
Dr. Energy Saver was so impressed with the NiTROSYS’ results during the field testing process that it announced at its annual convention in August that the system would become the company standard for the entire dealer network, with a measured rollout currently ongoing.
“The magic of the NiTROSYS, where it truly adds value for our network, is it’s the first low-pressure system out there to combine three major components,” said Rubin, referring to the automatic calibrator, the preheaters, and the stroke counter. Rubin also highlighted the fact that for dealers who’ve already integrated the NiTROSYS into their rigs, these features have already made a positive impact in their operations. Specifically, Dr. Energy Saver dealers have not only saved on time and material costs, but also have been able to perform jobs during the winter, when they otherwise couldn’t because of the lack of preheaters in their legacy low-pressure systems.
The results and feedback from Dr. Energy Saver have reaffirmed Spray Foam Systems’ mission of taking the low-pressure market to a new level of efficiency and performance.
“What we’re trying to do with NiTROSYS is focus on the contractors who are out there that are currently spraying these refillable systems and having issues with manual calibration and spraying off-ratio foam,” said Peters.
Additionally, lowering barriers to entry will naturally increase the number of people willing to either start out in the spray foam industry or incorporate a low-pressure foam system into their existing contracting business.
“I personally think it’s a great innovation in the world of low-pressure spray foam; it’s a game-changer that will reduce waste and time, which is going to equate to cost savings,” said Rubin. “I think what NiTROSYS is ultimately going to do is break down a lot of barriers for people who are hesitant to get into refillable low-pressure foam systems, which are maybe perceived as complicated or intimidating, because a lot of the complications have been eliminated.”
In that sense, NiTROSYS may play a major part in expanding not only the low-pressure sector of the SPF market, but the industry as a whole. •
Contact Spray Foam Systems
Direct any questions about the NiTROSYS low-pressure foam system or the ROI calculator to SFS:
Contact Dr. Energy Saver
Direct any questions about becoming a Dealer to Dr. Energy Saver:
Photos Courtesy of Spray Foam Systems