Pittsburgh Corning: 78 Years of Pioneering Glass Insulation for Buildings, Energy, and Industry Since 1937

Asset protection

With roots dating back as far as 1937, Pittsburgh Corning has a 78-year history as a leading supplier of high-performance glass insulating products for clients operating within the building, energy and industrial markets. The company was formed from Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company and Corning Glass Works and over the past seven decades it has supplied its innovative glass block technology to clients within a spectrum of industry sectors. Today Pittsburgh Corning is active in every corner of the world through the delivery of its technically advanced FOAMGLAS® insulation and glass block products, and continues to grow while further investing to allow the company to better reach its clients.

Pittsburgh Corning was previously featured in Energy, Oil and Gas magazine during January 2015, during which time Director of Sales EMEA, Frank Ergeerts elaborated on the company’s on-going investment in its manufacturing capabilities. Indeed since first introducing FOAMGLAS® to the US market during the mid-1940s, Pittsburgh Corning expanded its presence into Europe with a large manufacturing facility located in Belgium, which opened for production in 1965. Throughout the decades that followed, the company established additional factories within Europe, the US and most recently Asia. Today the company boasts the largest fabricating workshop in the world where FOAMGLAS® insulated blocks are transformed into elements designed to fit on piping and equipment.

The latest investments by Pittsburgh Corning within Europe and China incorporate its unique continuous product manufacturing process, which enables it to maintain an extended global reach underpinned by expert technical support. The company’s most recent expansion in China has been driven by the strong and growing demand within the Asia Pacific region and is supported by a newly implemented global focus. “Since May 2015 our China Plant has been fully completed and is now up and running producing FOAMGLAS® insulation blocks. All of the company’s plant production meets global material standards and its strong capacity and network of locations allows for prompt and economic supply to all projects worldwide,” explains Frank.

“Our new global organisation structure will reinforce Pittsburgh Corning’s core values and help us improve our customer focus, deepen our understanding of our various customers’ needs and provide responsive products and services that profitably grow the business,” he adds.

“Standardised key business processes improve efficiency and strengthen our competitive position. Therefore we continue to deliver projects worldwide in applications such as tank base insulation for piping and equipment. For example, deliveries to yards catering for Gazprom’s Yamal LNG project in Russia have started and will run over the coming years. Because the LNG plant is situated in an area with a harsh climate, FOAMGLAS® insulation was specified for all of the insulation work.”

FOAMGLAS® is a unique product with a manufacturing process comprised of four stages; glass production, grinding of the glass to glass powder and mixing it with carbon, foaming and annealing of glass and finishing of the product. The result is an extensive range of different grades of FOAMGLAS® insulation, which have varying degrees of compressive strength and thermal conductivity. “All FOAMGLAS® insulation materials are inorganic, incombustible, closed cell and impervious to liquids and vapour,” Frank explains. “Our main product is FOAMGLAS® ONE™ cellular glass insulation that is available in block format as well as in numerous prefabricated formats such as pipe shells, fittings, cones and tank and vessel heads. We also offer a specific high load bearing range called FOAMGLAS® HLB insulation, this has a unique combination of high compressive strength and low thermal conductivity, which makes it ideal for a wide range of tank base construction and other industrial load bearing applications.”

As an expert in the field, in addition to the provision of its range of FOAMGLAS® installation materials, Pittsburgh Corning puts an emphasis on the delivery of full installation solutions. As such it has developed its range of PC® Accessory Products, which comprises adhesives, coatings, sealants, fabrics and jacketing options. “We recommend this ‘total system’ approach when specifying insulation and accessory products as a total solution package,” Frank says. “This is why Pittsburgh Corning recommended accessories are formulated, designed and tested to ensure proven performance of the client’s insulation system.”

A key application in the use of Pittsburgh Corning products is the prevention of corrosion under insulation (CUI). In the simplest terms, the prevention of CUI requires that water be kept out of insulation systems. One of most effective ways of keeping water out of insulation systems is through the use of a closed cell insulation material, together with an applied flexible coating that provides a seamless weatherproof membrane that can prevent water ingress and retention. To address the problem of CUI, Pittsburgh Corning has developed its Terostat anti-CUI system, which is a combined system of FOAMGLAS® closed cell insulation with Terostat PC® FRi. Terostat PC® FRi is a single component silicone-based sealant, coating and adhesive which cures by reaction with moisture to a soft elastic monolithic product. The product is free of solvents, isocyanates, and PVC. This combined with its excellent flame retardant properties (Class O as per BS476) makes it the preeminent anti-CUI insulation system. “Many offshore and onshore installations have switched to working with closed cell insulation like FOAMGLAS® insulation and have started to see the benefits in CUI prevention and increased long-term thermal efficiency,” Frank reveals. “Pre-coating cellular glass in flexible coatings like in the FOAMGLAS® – Terostat system has simplified this process by giving quick installation with easier and more effective sealing to maximise CUI protection. One hundred per cent closed-cell FOAMGLAS® insulation plus a pre-applied flexible Terostat PC® FRi coating with fully sealed joints will provide an exceptional insulation system for CUI prevention and longevity.”

Pittsburgh Corning will be present at Offshore Europe 2015, where it will take the opportunity to meet with some of its clients and potential future clients as part of its strategy of continued product innovation and market growth, as Frank concludes: “Events such as Offshore Europe are of big importance for us as they create the chance to meet with all your clients from a specific market over the course of just a few days. We are constantly working on improving our products so an exhibition like this provides a great opportunity to communicate to our clients when a product’sproperties have been improved or to launch a new product. During the coming months the main focus will remain on keep further penetrating the market with a main focus on the voice of the customer. Main market segments we will keep targeting will be the CUI and fireproofing markets, which still have some developing potential and we will also keep working towards globalising our fabricating facilities to even further develop our global reach.”

Pittsburgh Corning Europe

Services: Insulation systems for industry

Issue 125 October 2015