In the Pipeline
Spray Foam Magazine – Winter 2022 – The saying, ‘Design is intelligence made visible’ is the case with Spray Foam Magazine’s Innovators of the Year. To thrust this industry into the next stages of advancement takes great minds, vision, and an unwavering will never to give up.
Brothers, Mark and Greg Benaske have worked together for over 25 years, and their company, R-Value Foam Insulation, LLC (R-Value), has always pushed innovation with an emphasis on self-sufficiency, and to make spraying foam and restoration a faster and safer process. They make sure they have the capabilities to buy raw materials, blend the formulation, package, ship and install their own foam. They believe they can provide a better product and at a cheaper price than any of their competition. They attribute this to a “think outside the box” approach. From the actual spray foam to the equipment, they concentrate on improving, or coming up with an entirely different way that will save time, money and make something better.
Focusing on a complete line of polyurethane foam trench breakers, pillows, and padding, R-Value has partnered with a leading chemist and manufacturers to provide the most cost-efficient foam for the pipeline market. They also routinely perform spray tests and work to ensure they are providing their clients with the best product available. They have a comprehensive line of pipeline restoration and erosion control, from straw blowing to hydro-seeding with bonded fiber matrix materials. Their company really emphasizes the many uses of spray foam that go beyond spraying houses or other building structures with insulation.
The brothers’ innovation often derives from looking at a process and thinking, ‘how can we improve it?’ For example, they were discussing the process of pipeline foam and the idea of their now patented RVC 1 was born out of those brainstorming sessions. The RVC 1 is a unit that can rotate 360 degrees, and it’s on rubber tracks so it does not tear up the roads as the crew crosses them. It has a hydraulic run of 25kw, a three-phase generator to power the reactor, a compressor, pumps, and heaters.
R-Value custom built material tanks that had radiant heaters in the bottom to prewarm the material so as not to lose yield of the foam. They also installed a filter bag system to clean any foreign particles out, and they relocated the reactor’s control board inside of the cab so the operator could adjust his temperatures and pressure without leaving the cab.
They also built a way to hold the gun and be able to activate the trigger to engage the spray foam all from a handle on the inside of the cab. There is also a custom-built hydraulic tilt bed which helps the crew when going up severe inclines to keep all the fluids at their correct levels.
Innovation is what drives these brothers to succeed, and their innovations are now making a difference in other people’s businesses too. Mark and Greg knew they had more to offer so decided to build all their rigs to be small yet hold a lot of material. Again, they had the rigs built with tilt beds to keep the material and engine fluids level and not run them dry on oil with the steep inclines.
These trucks can hold 5000 lbs. of material on one Ford F550 footprint and according to Mark and Greg, “A lot of the other companies have bulky box trucks that are hard to maneuver in the muddy conditions. Our sleds are built on a heavy square tub frame and built with a center axle so they can swing up to 35 degrees forward or backwards to keep fluids level in the custom box that hold a generator, compressor, reactor, and electrical panel.” R-Value made the truck rigs so they could take a unit off one of their trucks and put on a sled and vice versa. Helping make for a quick-change over if a contractor is in the situation for the sled instead of the truck.
Not only have they designed the RVC 1, but the R-Value team has also made a low exotherm, water blown foam that they sell to other companies in the pipeline industry. They wanted to get the edge on other companies in the same industry, so they spent the last seven years formulating and testing a 2lb low exotherm closed-cell foam that has a shelf life of over two years. According to Mark, “We have some samples that are still holding in solution for up to five years now. We can spray the foam at two- and three-foot lifts without the fear of it overheating. It has a viscosity of 340 cp at 70 degrees F. R-Value now has it for the use in void fill and abandoned tank situations. We can make any pound foam that is required within a day.”
R-Value is hoping to have a concrete lifting foam completed in the second quarter of 2023 out of the same base material as their closed-cell foam.
There have been other companies that have reached out to them wanting their material so that lead them to start selling and shipping it across the US for others to use with reports back that they love how it performs.
R-Value has an abundance of innovative projects in the pipeline, and there is no stopping these determined brothers. They have just submitted their own line of HFO 2lb closed-cell foam for residential buildings to the E-84 Steiner tunnel test, have their own blending facility delivering a fast response for their customers, and have begun to produce a line of parts for the spray guns and pumps.
Ambition, hard work and knowing the spray foam industry drives growth within R-Value and now others are benefiting from their advances too. Being fully self-sufficient is a dream for many, and few actually achieve this goal.
Congratulations, Mark and Greg Benaske, you are a true inspiration for those who have big ambitions to grow and prosper.
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