When COVID put a major kink in supply chains last year, the team at SprayWorks Equipment Group did what they do best, according to marketing director Jennifer Hristovski.
"We started manufacturing some of the pieces we needed ourselves," she said.
SprayWorks assembles and sells equipment for the application of spray foam insulation and other polyurethane coatings used widely in residential, industrial and infrastructure construction. It also provides training, technical assistance and maintenance to spray foam contractors and companies.
Late last month, the growing business moved from a 10,000-square-foot Canton facility to a 28,000-square-foot building in Kent, providing more space for in-house fabrication, Hristovski said, along with a dedicated training classroom, a ventilated "spray room" and larger bay areas for assembling, maintaining and showcasing its portable and mobile spray rigs.
Deborah Davidson, who launched SprayWorks in 2008 with her husband, Jim, said calling upon creativity and craftsmanship to make hard-to-come-by parts during the pandemic was natural given Jim's inventiveness and deep roots in the field. Jim's dad, Dave Davidson, she said, recognized the future value of polyurethane foam for roofing and insulation back in the 1960s, becoming one of the country's first spray foam contactors and equipment distributors in the country.
"Jim has been on roofs since he was 12 years old, working with his dad when he was just a kid," Deborah Davidson said.
Jim Davidson himself has designed spray foam equipment and has two patents, including one for an automated "spraybot."
"Instead of manually spraying a surface with somebody holding the hose and hopefully trying to get the right thickness down," Deborah Davidson explained, "his machine does it for you, with the perfect amount of uniform thickness."
SprayWorks has 18 employees; five of them were hired in the past year. The executives said revenue is in the $4 million to $5 million range and has grown consistently year over year.
"The past year was a bit challenging, I think, for everybody. But despite that we've definitely seen a lot of growth," Hristovski said. "This March alone was our best month in the company's history."
Hristovski credits much of SprayWorks' growth to the escalating popularity of spray foam insulation. Spray foam is a better insulator than traditional materials like fiberglass, she said, increasing the energy efficiency of homes and commercial buildings.
"It is a lot of the residential contractors, for example, that are already doing fiberglass insulation work for homeowners and are also introducing spray foam, and the demand is becoming higher for open and closed cell spray foam because it has a longer lifespan and higher R-value," she said. (R-value is the measure of thermal resistance.)
Dallas-based market research Lucintel projects the global spray foam insulation market will reclaim its pre-pandemic annual growth rates of 5% to 7% in 2021 and reach an estimated $2.1 billion by 2025. The report authors cite "a focus on energy conservation and sustainable building practices" as a major driver of the rebound.
Deborah Davidson said SprayWorks' customers range from sole proprietors getting a start in the spray foam business to large companies bringing those capabilities in-house.
"We've built rigs for SpaceX and worked with NASA and the military," she said. "We have one customer we've built eight rigs for. He just keeps growing and upgrading and replacing his equipment."
Along with insulating buildings, the company's equipment is used to apply protective coatings on bridges, roads, rail infrastructure and pipelines and in a variety of manufacturing spray applications.
Hristovski thinks the expanded training and testing capabilities at the Kent location are key to continuing the company's growth as it partners not only with contractors using the equipment, but manufacturing companies looking to optimize applications of foams and coatings that are integral to their products and markets.
"In the previous building, we were mostly doing training for residential spray foam companies," she said. "The spray room in particular will allow us to expand that and leverage our expertise to explore some new research and training opportunities."