How Polyiso is Made
How Polyiso is Made

How Polyiso Insulation Products are Manufactured

The manufacturing members of PIMA operate 36 facilities in Canada and the United States that produce a variety of polyiso insulation products. An overview of the manufacturing process for polyiso products is illustrated and described below. While specific operational details can vary between manufacturers and plants, a general understanding of the steps required to manufacture polyiso can be important to industry stakeholders. A PDF version of this webpage is available for download here.

Manufacturing Process Overview:

Manufacturing Process Detail:

  • Raw Material Unloading and Storage - Raw materials are delivered to the manufacturing plant via bulk shipment methods like rail cars or large totes. After unloading, certain materials are transferred and stored in large on-site tanks or totes.
  • Facer Unwind - Rolls of facer material are loaded on the front end of the lamination line. Two rolls of material are unwound and fed toward the laminator. The material will become the top and bottom of the finished product.
  • Compounding - Raw materials are compounded and heated to form the polyol or B-side component of the product formulation. The isocyanate or A-side of the product formulation is heated and transferred through a separate line.
  • Mixing Head and Pour Table - The A-side and B-side components are mixed with the blowing agent at the mixing head. At the pour table, the mixture is applied through the mixing head applicator and laid onto one layer of the facer material. The chemical reaction begins at this point in the process and the second layer of the facer material is brought into contact with the foam mixture as it enters the laminator. 
  • Laminator - The chemical reaction transforms the liquid mixture to the rigid foam core as the product moves through the laminator. The laminator is used to control the thickness of the finished product as well as other characteristic like cell formation, curing, and facer adhesion. The laminator can also be adjusted to form any tapered characteristics for finished polyiso boards.
  • Trim and Cutting - The product is manufactured in a continuous process and must be trimmed and cut after exiting the laminator. A cross-cut saw and gang saw are used to cut the material down to either 4' or 8' finished lengths.
  • Robot Stacker - A conveyor system moves the polyiso boards through the trimming and cutting process to the robot stacker. An initial quality check is performed as the boards are stacked in bundles.
  • Packaging - The stacked bundles are transferred to a hooding machine where each bundle is individually wrapped with a plastic film. The factory packaging secures the product for warehouse storage and transport.
  • Foot Station and Warehousing - The product identification labels are applied to each bundle. A forklift transfers the bundles from the end of the line to warehouse storage. Polyiso boards complete the curing process while stored in the warehouse.
  • Quality Assurance and Control - Product samples are selected and subjected to various quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) testing. The QA/QC is performed against applicable standards and internal controls for physical properties like initial R-value, compressive strength, and dimensional stability.
  • Loading and Shipping - After QA/QC testing and storage in the warehouse, bundles are transferred to the loading dock. Bundles are loaded onto flatbed trucks and secured for transport to jobsites or distribution locations.