EPS Fills the Void in Precast Architectural Panels
Enterprise Precast Concrete is one of the Midwestern United States’ largest and longest-standing producers of architectural precast concrete. Over more than five decades of firm history, Enterprise Precast has earned a reputation for excellence in architectural precast through a combination of innovation and responsive partnership-based service to owners, architects, engineers, and contractors. Operating from two production facilities in Omaha, Nebraska, and Corsicana, Texas, Enterprise Precast’s project supply geography stretches from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Galveston, Texas.
Embracing a whole-building approach to design logic and construction applicability, Enterprise Precast appreciates that in commercial architecture, the cost-benefit analysis of any building product is measured by more than just the purchase price. Savvy builders, owners, and designers know that the real value of a building material is an amalgamation of the purchase price, installation cost, and the possible long-term operational savings a given product provides to the owner throughout its in-service lifecycle. In holistic consideration of these variables, few would argue strongly against the inherent value of an insulated architectural precast panel as an exterior wall building solution.
Between the exceptional range of finishes, materials, colors, and textures, the aesthetic possibilities of today’s architectural precast panel are virtually limitless. Panels can be manufactured in a wide array of sizes and shapes including curved pieces, allowing Enterprise to supply architectural commissions of almost any scale or design vision. Atlas Molded Products has been a long-time ally to Enterprise Precast Concrete, supplying molded polystyrene insultations for their projects for more than a decade on scopes of every sort.
As a structural building solution, precast concrete panels have been in a continual state of progressive evolution since the start of the 20th Century, when precast panels were first used in Liverpool, England in 1905. In the five decades since Enterprise Precast Concrete was founded in 1968, the firm has seen a lot of change in the manufacturing process, size, and functional performance of precast concrete panels leading to ever-greater innovation in means, methods, and project possibilities. During the 1980’s precast panels were typically only as large as about 10’ x 10’, whereas today Enterprise Precast is regularly producing panels as large as 12’ x 50’ and 15’ x 35’. The increased size of precast panels has compelled something of a cultural shift across the construction industry, including site logistics, craning operations, delivery sequencing, and the equipment required to move these massive panels in place.
Another significant industry-wide evolution in precast concrete is the introduction of the insulated precast panel. Well-regarded for environmental benefits, an insulated precast panel sandwiches a layer of polystyrene insulation between the interior and exterior wythes of the concrete wall during the manufacturing process to provide a complete thermal break between the interior and exterior of the wall. As the architecture and commercial construction industries have embraced insulated precast panels on a wide range of project types, manufacturers like Enterprise have been challenged to keep up with demanding production schedules and ever-more complex panel sizes and shapes.
For many years, Enterprise Precast Concrete has relied on a long-standing partnership with Atlas Molded Products to supply the molded polystyrene insulation materials used in their insulated precast panels. Designed to achieve a high-performance building envelop, the precast panels manufactured by Enterprise incorporate molded polystyrene to achieve R-values of between 3.9 and 4.5 for every inch of foam thickness. Because Enterprise is fulfilling panel orders for single projects that usually involve many different sizes and shapes of panels, Atlas’ ability to manufacture sections of rigid foam insulation in many different lengths, thicknesses, and compressive resistance without any excess waste is a genuine asset. Atlas’ molded polystyrene insultations provide compressive resistance ranging from 10 psi to 60 psi.
Atlas Molded Product’s willingness to pre-organize material orders tailored to Enterprise’s panel production schedule on a job-by-job basis is also extremely beneficial. By developing project-specific product numbering schemes and material delivery schedules, Atlas can get Enterprise the precise molded polystyrene materials required, in the order needed without any bulky excess taking up space in their production facility. Pre-organizing material orders allows Enterprise’s production crews to quickly build each panel’s insulated internal core in a repeatable process that reliably increases overall production speed.
Presently, Enterprise is producing an estimated 2,500 square feet of new panels in each of their two production facilities a day. This result is some 6 to 12 panels supplying roughly five different projects that are shipped each day from both the Omaha and Corsicana locations. Orchestrating some 50 different panel trailers and hundreds of different frames and racks to support the transport of the finished panels to far-flung job sites requires a team effort and constant analysis. Atlas Molded Products sales representatives work closely with Enterprise Precast’s Project Managers to build an initial product delivery schedule and then continually monitor the push and pull of each project to make required adjustments through weekly check-ins.
Another key advantage of using molded polystyrene rigid foam insulation from Atlas Molded Products for Enterprise is that it is easier to use than XPS materials. Molded polystyrene’s slightly textured surface provides a grip able face for the concrete to adhere to in the curing process, which creates a strong bond between layers.
Like Enterprise Precast Concrete, those in the know realize that the value of a building material must account for the purchase price, installation costs, and differences in the finished building’s operational performance over its lifecycle. Atlas Molded Products’ complete line of architectural rigid foam insulations and geofoam materials stand the test of time, while Atlas’ customer service and attention to detail in purchase order logistics are second to none. We know that relationships are the basis of good business and we appreciate the opportunity to build long and mutually beneficial lines of product supply with customers throughout North America for jobs big and small.