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Australian-made XPS versus imported XPS

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Despite the doom and gloom stories about Australian manufacturing, there is still plenty of local manufacturing taking place in many sectors. While it is true that the manufacturing sector in Australia has been gradually shrinking (the number of manufacturers in Australia has fallen from 96,000 10 years ago to just under 84,000 last year), Professor Peter Gahan from the University of Melbourne says that manufacturing remains an important contributor to Australia’s GDP.

“All in all, the evidence overwhelmingly suggests the Australian manufacturing sector has, even in a period of decline, continued to represent a core source of economic prosperity for Australia – and should continue to do so. In short, it has outperformed many other sectors in terms of its contribution to Australia’s sustained economic performance and its capacity to generate quality jobs. It still produces around 6.5 per cent of Australia’s GDP.”

A 2016 CSIRO report into Advanced Manufacturing in Australia stated that “Australian manufacturing can and must be a thriving component of Australia’s economy through the application of advanced manufacturing technologies, systems, and processes. The sector will focus on pre-production (design, R&D) and post-production (after-sales services) value-adding, sustainable manufacturing, and low volume, high margin customised manufacturing”.

The CSIRO also concluded that opportunities will also emerge for businesses that embrace the circular economy concept, taking responsibility for whole-of-life impacts. Businesses can achieve step-change improvements to resource efficiency through waste reduction, recycling, remanufacturing and reuse. From energy-efficient products to products designed with recycling, recovery and collaborative consumption in mind.

Good news for Foamex

That all adds up to good news for Foamex. Our Styroboard XPS is the only extruded polystyrene board manufactured in Australia, meaning it competes with imported products where you don’t always know what you’re getting.

Australia has strict requirements regarding the type of gases we can use that give the panel its superior thermal value. Manufacturers in other countries that don’t have the strict environmental controls that Australia has can use cheaper hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ozone-depleting substances in the manufacture of their products that deliver higher thermal values but are bad for the environment.

Ozone-depleting CFC-11 used by some overseas manufacturers

There are many credible stories online about how some Chinese manufacturing cities in particular are showing exponential increases in the VOC (volatile organic compounds) found in the atmosphere. For example, a report last year by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said dozens of Chinese companies were still using CFC-11 to make polyurethane foam.

Detective work in China in 2018 by the Environmental Investigation Agency seemed to indicate that the country was indeed the source. They found that the illegal chemical was used in the majority of the polyurethane insulation produced by firms they contacted. One seller of CFC-11 estimated that 70 per cent of China’s domestic sales used the illegal gas. The reason was quite simple – CFC-11 is better quality and much cheaper than the alternatives.

Foamex EPS manufacturing is resource-efficient

The manufacture of Foamex EPS is resource-efficient, as there is little energy used in the manufacturing process, including only a fragment of oil consumption. The process also includes the use of steam, which is collected once condensed and then reused on a repeated basis. Additionally, the manufacturing of Foamex expanded and extruded polystyrene uses zero chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), which are harmful to the ozone layer.

EPS is also recyclable at many stages throughout its life cycle. Foamex has four recycling facilities, in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, to serve EPS end-users, building and construction sites, civil engineers and contractors, and other EPS manufacturers. By reusing all EPS manufacturing waste, virtually all EPS manufactured at Foamex is used for products. Our state-of-the-art granulating machines reduce moulded EPS into beads, which are then reformed into new products.

Your polystyrene insulation experts

Interested in learning more about how Foamex can help you insulate your home in time for summer? Contact your local Foamex sales office to discuss your insulation requirements. We have been supplying polystyrene solutions to the Australian market for more than 35 years and have worked with builders, engineers, architects, designers, and specifiers to serve their insulation needs.

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