DALLAS — Owens Corning is adding another product line to its stable of building systems.
At the International Builders' Show in Dallas Jan. 15-18, Owens Corning unveiled a structural insulated panel using its brand of expanded polystyrene foam — minus the traditional pink coloring.
``We are targeting residential builders in the Midwest,'' said Ned Trautman, Owens Corning's business manager for structural insulated panel systems.
The SIPs, which are made by laminating oriented strand-board skins to a foam core, have been used sporadically for decades, but recently have gained momentum in the home-building business.
The panels can be produced in a factory setting then shipped to a building site, which can increase the quality of the finished product while reducing the time needed to put it up. The panels also tend to be stronger than walls made with 2-by-4 lumber.
Owens Corning makes the foam portion of the panel at plants in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Los Angeles, Trautman said. The finished product is produced by Insulspan Inc. of Pittsfield, Mich., through a licensing agreement. Insulspan also markets its own brand of SIPs.
Owens Corning, meanwhile, also is penetrating another up-and-coming wall system: insulated concrete forms.
In ICFs, foam panels are combined with various types of metal or plastic locking devices to make forms for concrete. When the concrete dries, the panels are left in place as insulation on both the interior and exterior of the walls.
A number of companies at the builders' show displayed their type of fastening unit along with Owens Corning's pink extruded PS foam panels.
ICFs and SIPs both offer alternatives to a traditional Owens Corning product: rolls of pink fiberglass designed to fill the spaces in walls using the more customary timber frame construction.
With ICFs and SIPs, there are no gaps to fill.
``Both systems [ICFs and SIPs] compete with stick systems and fiberglass insulation,'' Trautman said. ``Owens Corning wants to market specific systems to specific applications.''
Owens Corning, a building materials giant with about $5 billion in sales for 1998, started getting into the foam business in 1994 when it bought UC Industries of Tallmadge, Ohio. UC Industries and its licensees produced extruded foam using a proprietary vacuum process. In 1995, Owens Corning bought Falcon Manufacturing Inc. of Grand Rapids, whose plants now produce the expanded PS panels used in SIPs.