ACH Foam Technologies LLC has opened a new, 180,000-square-foot production facility in McCarran, Nev.
The Denver-based manufacturer of expanded polystyrene construction, architectural, geotechnical and packaging products transferred production capacity from a plant in Sparks, Nev., to the new McCarran plant, which is about 40 percent larger. The new plant's block molding capacity is an increase of about 50 percent.
Company officials believe it to be the largest single-building EPS plant in the United States.
ACH operates 10 block and shape molding facilities.
Among the economic forces driving ACH to invest in the upgraded plant is the expected upsurge in demand for insulating concrete forms, said Andy Lineberry, ACH operations director for its western region.
``It's one of the specific reasons we added shape press capability out there,'' Lineberry said in a Dec. 5 telephone interview.
According to an ACH news release, the company added new EPS shape molding presses from Hirsch Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG in Glanegg, Austria.
In 2006, homes built with ICFs made up less than 2 percent of the new housing stock. The Glenview, Ill.-based Insulating Concrete Form Association projects the industry to grow 20 percent per year for the foreseeable future.
According to the association's data, about 105 million square feet of new construction - both residential and commercial - was built with ICFs in 2006.
ICFs are made from two molded panels of expanded polystyrene connected by a web - often an injection molded poly- propylene part. ICFs typically are about 16 inches tall and about 4 feet wide.
Walls are built with ICFs in an almost Legolike fashion. Once the exterior wall is erected, concrete is poured down its mostly hollow center. The concrete and steel reinforcement creates walls that builders estimate can last up to 200 years. The EPS forms stay in place and provide fire-resistant, energy-efficient insulation that proponents say will pay for itself many times over in energy savings over the life of a structure.
Lineberry said the West continues to be a hot spot for new construction. ICFs will be part of the story moving forward, he said.
``There's no question it's a growth industry,'' he said. ``There are a lot of benefits to it, and people are seeing it.''