In December 2011, Huntsman teamed up with customer Green Span Profiles to launch the company’s insulated metal panel (IMP) production line at its Houston-area manufacturing facility. Green Span management team started this new venture after accumulating decades of experience in the metal construction industry. Huntsman’s team of experts helped Green Span optimize its IMP production process by providing the newest pentane-blown PIR foam technology, implementing thorough employee training programs and conducting the proper physical property foam testing.
Benefits of Insulated Metal Panels
IMPs have long stood as sturdy, high-performance building components in wall and roof sheathing applications. Consisting of coated steel facings with a rigid polyurethane foam core, IMPs provide a strong building enclosure by withstanding damage and creating air, water and vapor barriers, and offer long-term thermal stability. IMPs’ high insulation values significantly improve a building’s energy efficiency, reducing heating and cooling costs.
IMPs also provide architects and engineers with valuable design options, featuring made-to-order profile, length, thickness, color and surface finish. Another very significant benefit IMPs present is the vast reduction in installation time. IMPs significantly accelerate project completion without compromising quality, because the panels are a single-manufactured unit and can be installed in nearly any weather condition (extreme temperatures, high wind). IMPs also combine multiple components (both metal skins and insulation), eliminating additional steps to add insulation or a vapor or moisture barrier on-site. The panels result in a visually appealing, streamlined architectural appearance.
IMPs are used in multiple industrial, commercial and institutional applications. Some examples of industrial applications are cold storage facilities, manufacturing plants, including food processing facilities, and different types of warehouses. Commercial and institutional applications include shopping centers, schools, hospitals and sport arenas, among a wide variety of buildings.
Green Span Profiles
Huntsman customer Green Span Profiles specializes in the manufacture of insulated panels and is headquartered northwest of Houston in Waller, Texas. The company’s 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility was constructed in 2011 using the most modern technology available worldwide. Huntsman provides Green Span with the chemical raw materials and technology to produce the PIR foam, which makes the core insulating layer of the steel-faced panels.
Sharing Experience and Providing Key Training
As Green Span initiated the trial phase of its production line in December 2011, representatives from Huntsman were on the ground at the manufacturing facility to assist with set-up and vital employee training. Engineer Technologist Michael Ritchie helmed Huntsman’s training team, who trained Green Span personnel on important product handling and safety issues.
By observing and interacting with both company leadership and employees working directly on the metal panel line, Huntsman made recommendations to optimize the production of PIR-insulated panels, troubleshoot, and implement procedures to standardize and streamline the start of each production run, the regular process controls and quality controls.
“We were confident in our decision when we chose Huntsman as our supplier for the chemicals required to make IMPs, says Kelly Ginn, President, Green Span. “From the planning stages to initial receipt of chemicals to commissioning and start-up, Huntsman personnel have met or exceeded our expectations. I find them to be exceptionally knowledgeable, responsive and eager to assist. They have approached the relationship as partners and worked with us as such.”
A True Collaboration from the Start
A true collaborative environment between Green Span and Huntsman was evident from the start. This type of relationship emerged during the initial phase, which included planning and design aspects, support from Huntsman’s Geismar, Louisiana plant personnel, as well as the definition of future commercial terms. The collaborative effort continued during the first three months of production. While Michael Ritchie and his team were able to offer safety training and their extensive experience with the insulation components of IMPs, Green Span’s team of experts shared their insight on the metal processing element of IMP manufacturing.
“The Green Span Profile team was extremely cooperative and was able to very easily adapt to any changes in the IMPs, processing procedures,” said Ritchie. “The knowledge that they have shared with Huntsman on metal handling combined with the polyurethanes foam expertise we offered made this start-up a seamless event.”
Through knowledge sharing and teamwork, Green Span and Huntsman developed a supplier/customer relationship based on service and commitment, and the plant officially began production in January 2012.
Up and Running
These efforts culminated in a customer open house in April 2012,. This brought together many Green Span suppliers and customers who participated in a meet-and-greet event, which included an unbeatable crawfish boil. The local residents clearly had the upper hand during lunch, demonstrating the most efficient crawfish peeling techniques. Representatives from Huntsman were on hand to conduct foam cup demonstrations and to casually talk to attendees about the odds and ends of PIR foam, its history, fire properties, and growth in the construction industry.
From the initial design phase, to employee process and safety training, product stewardship and final panel property tests, Huntsman and Green Span worked together to boost efficiency across the full spectrum of its IMP manufacturing processes. Huntsman is looking forward to ensuring that Green Span’s IMP production facility is not only up and running, but that it will continue to serve its customers safely and efficiently for years to come.