Spray Foam Helps Bolster Wall, Window, and Door Panels that are Later Assembled into High-end Modern Panelized Modular Spaces
BY JUAN SAGARBARRIA
Due to their undefined and occasional remote locations, construction sites often lack an on-site office, which would otherwise provide a workspace for those in administrative positions and help achieve proper validation of the designated space and its particular function. This notion gave birth to a major undertaking consisting of the manufacturing of the AS Flex Units line. The AS Flex Units can be aptly characterized as modern panelized modular spaces that are set up for numerous purposes, including on-site construction offices, engineering headquarters, and administrative offices. These temporary structures are considered to be the answer to a steady demand from several industries – chief among them the construction market – and they are forecasted to be a worldwide presence in years to come.
Be that as it may, every global-scale project has an inaugural point. That point was the manufacturer’s plant in Brighton, Colorado, which set the stage for the AS Flex Units’ pilot program that got off the ground last March. The production of these 400 square-foot units consisted of the implementation of high-end materials to the door, window, and door panels of the units to improve the overall performance of the structure. The portability and flexibility of these units’ panels is key, as the end-user can easily disassemble the units, transport the panels to another location, and reassemble the units by snapping the interchangeable pieces together as needed. Additional panels can also be stacked to effectively create single or multi-story temporary offices. Essentially, this design enables the end-user to customize the type of temporary structure they require for the job via removing, replacing, and repositioning the panels. But, along with an innovative design comes innovative solutions, and that is where spray polyurethane foam insulation came into play.
The manufacturing company intended for these structures to be robust, energy-efficient, and comfortable to be inside of, so its operators opted to have each panel insulated with closed-cell SPF insulation, which provides all three. For the SPF application to the panels, the manufacturer brought in Titan Applicators, a Colorado-based SPF contractor. Thus far, Titan has installed just over 130,000 board feet of SPF, constituting 1/3 of the entire project.
“It’s been a very intense, demanding project,” said Titan’s Tony Bock. “But we’ve been able to adapt to the day-to-day operation and go through learning curves, which allowed us to establish strategies so that we effectively utilized spray foam for the benefit of these structures and those who will use them. We have managed to install foam at the fastest pace possible without sacrificing the quality and the efficiency of the material.”
The three-man Titan crew’s eight-hour average workday revolves around insulating the metal substrate of the panels of each unit. Bock explained that since the units arrive from overseas to the Brighton plant with the interior walls installed onto them, the plant employees strip the units, remove all the interior finishing, expose the inside of the panels, and finally stack the panels before the Titan crew got onsite. The crew then places the panels onto sawhorses and proceeds with the SPF application. Once the foam is cured, the insulated panels are moved over to the factory’s assembly line.
During the opening stages of the project, the crew worked outside the manufacturing plant and took advantage of the heat of the sun for ideal yield of the foam to the metal substrate. In recent colder months, the Titan crew moved their operation inside the plant into a quarantined workshop that was specifically set up for the application of SPF.
Before the project commenced, the Titan crew realized that their work involved a bit more labor than just spraying the stacks of panels. The crew had to strategically ensure that excess foam did not compromise the integrity of the panel’s metal substrate, so they taped off the seams at the bottom of the panels to prevent any foam from going through the corrugated metal exterior. Furthermore, the Titan crew was thrown a proverbial curve ball: the manufacturer wanted to have the ability to remove the exterior metal sheeting off of the units in the event that, if it gets damaged, it can be replaced with a new piece. The crew tackled this problem by applying Ease Release 200 prior to the SPF. Ease Release 200, an aerosol release agent that is traditionally used for making molds and casting parts, allowed for optimal adherence of the cured foam to the frame of each panel, as well as an effective release of the metal sheeting.
“Obviously, the objective of applying spray foam is to get the get the best possible adhesion to the substrate on which we are applying,” said Bock. “Nevertheless, with this product we were able to meet the manufacturer’s demand. We apply the foam release, wait a couple of minutes for it to dry, and then spray the foam. Since we began, the manufacturer has replaced several damage metal panels. The cured foam is in perfect congruency with the shape of the corrugated metal, allowing it to release and be replaced with a new piece with ease. Therefore, the thermal envelope is not affected because the metal exterior is it’s own shell.”
The Titan crew is installing to each panel approximately 3.5 inches of ProSeal, a 2 lb. closed-cell spray polyurethane foam formulated by ProFoam. They have one rig onsite, which is equipped with a Revolution Machinery 5/14 Pre Heater proportioner and a PMC AP-2 spray gun. As the applicator installs the SPF to the substrate, a crewmember uses a Curry comb to shave off the excess foam and maintain the SPF flush. The Titan crewmembers are outfitted with PPE consisting of Tyvek jumpsuits, full-face respiratory masks, gloves, and steel-toed shoes. While working inside, the Titan crew makes sure to have the garage door opened at all times for proper ventilation during the foam application. Bock noted that the inclusion of foam to this project will have a massive positive impact, as it will provide the end-user with a vast number of benefits, including sound deadening and energy efficiency.
“Spray polyurethane foam reduces sound infiltration amidst a loud jobsite,” said Bock. “It provides strength to each panel that makes up the unit and this is important when they are transported from jobsite to jobsite. While they are being used, the energy consumption will be minimal. The AS Flex Units cater a workspace for those in charge of construction sites and the like, and they are going to feel a superior level of comfort regardless of their surrounding environment.”
For more information, please visit www.titanapplicators.com. •