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OSH for operating polyurethane foam spray reactors.

OSH for Polyurethane Foam Spray.

Working with components of polyurethane foam.


Operating foam spray reactors and working with polyurethane components requires strict observation of the occupational safety and health regulations. Obeying below listed rules will save your and your coworkers health or life. OSH for operating polyurethane foam spray reactors must become priority for each person performing this work.


Principles of working with components of polyurethane foam spray.

Notice: Uncontrolled mixing of two components – ISO and POLY – can cause equipment damage, ravage of purchased spray materials and body injuries. To prevent accidental mixing of these two components you must always keep the wet parts separately and you must never mix POLY and ISO liquids.


Sensitivity of polyurethane foam components to moisture.

Isocyanates are catalysts used in bicomponent polyurethane foams. ISO reacts with moisture and that results in hard crystals formation which can cause machine damage. Initially, a thin layer of gel will purge on ISO and viscosity will increase. If this layer is not removed before spraying, it will reduce the machine’s efficiency and lifespan. The amount of gel and crystals produced depends on the amount of mixed ISO, temperature and humidity.


To protect ISO from moisture you must:

  • Always use hermetic containers for storing the polyurethane components.
  • Use only original containers for component storage. If you use wet container, ISO will crystallize very quickly. That will destroy the components and cause financial losses. Never storage ISO in the open container or when its opening is protected with foil.
  • Keep the tank pump immersed in the liquid – it can be hydraulic oil or other industrial oil. Liquid will create a barrier between the ISO and the atmosphere in the open container. Cover sensitive areas with grease.
  • Use special ISO hoses, resistant to humidity and chemicals.
  • Do not use solvent for ISO after POLY cleaning and vice versa.
  • After the use, cover the ISO pump parts with oil or grease.


Changing of the spraying materials:

  • When you change the spray material, sluice the system several times to be sure it is completely clean.
  • After sluicing always clean the meshes at the pump exit.
  • Check if the material is compatible with the liquid sprayed previously.
  • In most cases, ISO is marked with red and POLY with blue. Mark the hoses with the same colors or with signed descriptions. This will reduce the risk of confusion and mixing of the two components.


Hazards of Work with Polyurethane Foam Spray Reactors

There is a risk of an electric shock when operating the spray reactor. Incorrect grounding of the polyurethane spraying machine may damage the device and electrocute its operator. It is recommended that before each use, you test the power socket with the tester for three-phase sockets to detect any network connection malfunctions.

  • Cut off the power supply with the main switch before each machine survey, and open the door to the inertial of the polyurethane foam spray reactor.
  • Use only earthed power installation.
  • All connections of the reactor to the power supply have to be made by qualified electrician with appropriate permissions.


Toxic fluids or vapors can cause serious injuries if they get to your body.

  • Read specification of the spray liquid you use.
  • Store health hazardous liquids in special containers, in the temperatures appropriate for the substance, away from any source of fire. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use conditions.
  • Whenever you spray polyurethane, make sure the liquid components of polyurethane foam do not get into your body through the respiratory tract, digestive tract or damaged skin.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

If you work with polyurethane foam spray devices you must use personal protective equipment each time you: perform the work, service the machine or stay in the area of spray. Observing the safety rules when spraying polyurethane foam will help you to avoid serious injuries, including eye injuries, poisoning, burns or hearing loss.

Obligatory PPE for the operator of the polyurethane foam spray reactor:

  • Special glasses or goggles for eye protection
  • Working suit for skin protection
  • Gas mask for air track protection
  • Gloves
  • Hearing protection


Risk of skin damage for polyurethane foam spray.

High pressure of the polyurethane foam components at the exit of the gun, any hose leaks or damaged containers for component transport can harm your skin and lead to infection. Do not underestimate any injury.

  • Close the inlet valves when you do not perform insulation spray.
  • Do not point the spray gun to your body or to anybody else around you.
  • Do not put your hand into the jet of the sprayed polyurethane.
  • Do not stop the leak of polyurethane foam components with your hands or with any other parts of your body.
  • Turn off the machine after you have finished operating it, surveying it or performing any maintenance actions.
  • Repair all connections of the spray reactor before work if you have noticed any, even minor, leaks.
  • Check the hoses and connectors of the spray reactor. Replace faulty or worn parts immediately.


Fire and explosion hazards.

Flammable fumes of paint and chemical materials can cause fire and explosion.

Preventing fire ignition and explosion:

  • Work only in well ventilated areas, free from unprotected sources of fire.
  • Eliminate all potential sources of fire.
  • Remove all unnecessary and fire hazardous objects from the spray area.
  • You mustn’t create sparks in the spray area.
  • Ground all equipment in the polyurethane foam spray area.
  • Always have functional fire extinguisher at the ready.


Foam expansion hazards.

The heating of components of polyurethane foam in limited spaces, such as hoses, can damage them. Maintaining increased pressure in the reactor can cause the equipment damages and injuries to the operator.

  • Open the safety valve during the heating of the components. This can alleviate the foam expansion during this process.
  • It is recommended to replace the hoses from time to time, depending on wear and work intensity.


Dangers of chemical reactions with aluminum.

Spraying with  substances not intended for contact with aluminum parts can cause chemical reactions that will damage machinery parts – it applies to all polyurethane foam spray devices, including reactors.

  • Do not use trichloroethane methylene chloride and other substances, such as halogenated hydrocarbons and solvents for the above substances.
  • There could be many more substances that should be not used with aluminum. Contact the supplier before the use to verify the spray material.


Hazards of improper use of the equipment.

Improper use of the polyurethane foam spray reactor can cause injuries and death.

  • Only trained operators can use this equipment.
  • Do not leave the machine when it is live or pressurized.
  • It is forbidden to operate this equipment under the influence of alcohol and/or narcotics.
  • Do not exceed the maximum pressure or temperature of PU foam components. Read the technical data of the foam spraying equipment. Learn the technical specification of fluids that you intend to spray. If in doubt, contact your supplier of chemicals. Every operator should know the safety and hygiene rules of work with polyurethane foam spray reactors.
  • Use only applicable substances for spraying.
  • Check the condition of the equipment before every use. Replace damaged and worn parts using only original replacements, or replacements with the same catalog number as the original part.
  • Do not modify the equipment.
  • Use the equipment only for its intended purpose.
  • Keep hoses and cables away from human passages, sharp edges, moving parts and hot surfaces.
  • Do not bend or twist the hoses, do not pull them to move your reactor.
  • Observe all the applicable safety regulations.


Hazards of movable components.

Movable components can cause minor or serious injuries, they can cut off your fingers or other patrs of your body.

  • Keep an appropriate distance from the movable components.
  • Do not work with machine if its movable components are not protected.
  • The device connected to the compressed air line can spontaneously turn on without warning. Before servicing, replacement or transportation of the polyurethane foam spray reactor, the air must be drained from it. Remember to disconnect the machine from the power supply.


Burn hazards.

The machine elements can become hot during spray. To avoid burns, do not touch hot fluid or any hot parts. If you want to perform any repairs or maintenance, wait until the machine has cooled down.


Important information of the spraying materials.

  • Safety rules of working with polyurethane foam spraying reactors also cover issues of working with foam components.
  • While spraying or mixing of two polyurethane foam components, we create harmful particles and vapors.
  • Read the substance descriptions in the manufacturer’s brochures to find out about all of the health hazards.
  • Prevent the inhalation of particles and vapors by ventilating the room. If it’s not possible to vent the room, it is recommended to equip the employee with a mask supplying fresh air from the outside.
  • To prevent contact with isocyanates, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as special gloves, shoes, suits and gas masks are required. Any person present in the spray area must wear a special mask to prevent the inhalation of gases formed during polyurethane foam spray.


Flammable materials.

Some flammable materials may have a low ignition temperature and therefore they may be fire hazardous. Please read the manufacturer’s information on the spray substance.




Facts and myths about polyurethane foam insulations.

Why Mr. John Smith from DIY Shop Will Advice Against Polyurethane Foam Insulation?

In building insulation technology polyurethane foam is unmatched. However in Poland there is still some distrust of this new insulation method. Customers are afraid of it, as they would be of any other thing they’d consider unknown and not properly tested. There’s nothing wrong with this attitude, people by principle are afraid of something they don’t know. However, this septic attitude is additionally escalated by construction teams and professionals from DIY stores, who persuade customers to choose mineral wool or other older generation insulation materials. Why would they advise you so? Because of their aim at helping their customers to profit from the choice? NO. They just want to sell their product and charge additionally you for application service. And on the other side of the conflict, you can find such greedy spray crews, that would offer and perform polyurethane foam spray, even when it’s not recommended. It all ads up and slows down foam insulation business in Poland.

Sanberg services of polyurethane foam spray are provided only after the accurate interview with potential customer,  followed by inspection of the spray area. We invite you to read our articles. We hope they’ll bring you closer to the new thermal insulation technology and allow you to make the right choice of insulation method.


Myth #1: Polyurethane foam is more expensive than mineral wool.

It can be both, the truth and the myth, depending on the perspective. If we look at the insulation as a the long-term solution, the conclusion is different than when only the short-time perspective is considered. In terms of costs, mineral wool’s sole advantage is the price of the purchase. But when the wool is already installed in your house, it will only generate losses from that moment on, as the insulation parameters get weaker every day.

If you decide for polyurethane foam instead, the savings will appear immediately, and will be generated not only in winter, but also during the summer. The insulation properties of foam are 100% better than those of mineral wool. In addition, foam does not loose its properties with time, and you receive 25 years manufacturer’s guaranty for the foam itself.


Myth #2: Foam will push the roof elements out, or will damage them.

This is a complete nonsense. Polyurethane foam expands only in the space where it is applied and enters only the spots where there is no resistance.


Myth #3: Mineral wool isolates heat better.

Polyurethane foam is twice as warm than mineral wool, when the thermal conductivity is compared. Thermal conductivity for polyurethane foam is 0,020 -0,025, and for mineral wool it is 0,035-0,050. The lower the thermal conductivity, the better insulation efficiency. This small investment in your house may pay off more quickly than you imagine. Foam reduces risk of fire and roof damage caused by high winds.”


Myth #4: Polyurethane foam is a market novelty.

Polyurethane foam has been known as insulation material for years – both in Poland and abroad. It wasn’t so popular, though, because the offer of foam spray reactors was limited and costly. Until recently, the price foam spray reactor was equal to the price of a good car. Sanberg company entered the market with our mid-range reactors and decent prices. The cost of our machines is 50% lower than the cost of comparable devices from other suppliers. The polyurethane foam spray technology comes from the USA and Canada, where it was used in the early 1980s. Severe weather conditions forced the application of more effective technological solutions for thermal insulation of buildings. In America, a large part of buildings has framing construction, usually wooden. Thin walls are well suited for isnulation with polyurethane, which applied in a 20cm thick layer protects effectively against severe frost.


Myth #5: You can live in the premises after polyurethane foam application.

Each type of polyurethane foam has its own fragrance, which can be smelled after spraying. It evaporates within 2-7 days, depending on the thickness of the layer that has been applied. Immediately after spray, bubbles are formed in the foam. They are filled with gas that is created during the POLY and ISO binding. The gas is replaced by clean air within few days. You can move into the sprayed preemies only after this period.


Myth #6:  Each type of polyurethane foam is applicable for your house insulation.

Depending on what is being insulated, the applicable type of polyurethane foam must be used. You must consider the density of foam per cubic meter. Foams with density of 7-12kg/m3 are used for thermal and acoustic insulations of attics, ceilings and partitions. Foams with a density of 30-37kg/m3 are used for thermal insulation of farms, floors of farm buildings, etc. Foams with density of 37-44 kg / m3 are used for thermal insulation of refrigerated buildings where products are stored at reduced temperatures. Foam with density of 45-56kg/m3 is used to insulate the roofs that can be walked on. The density of foam from 57-70 is used to insulate roofs, where pedestrian traffic is intense.


Myth #7: Insects, mice and marten will inhabit the foam.

I have never heard of insects inhabiting the polyurethane foam. Insects cannot hatch in the foam, because it is to hard to penetrate and give shelter. Rodents will not eat the polyurethane away, as it’s distasteful for them. Mouse can dig a hole near the foam but not inside it. Polyurethane foam insulation spray is not simple. Trust the advisers of Sanberg Poland.


Myth #8: Foam is flammable

Polyurethane foam is one the best insulation materials considering flammability. There are several confirmed cases in Poland that the attic secured with polyurethane foam kept the fire inside and prevented it from getting to the wooden structure before the arrival of the fire brigade. Of course, polyurethane foam will not resent the fire for a long time, but it is often long enough to call for the fire brigade and save your property.

You can watch the foam flammability tests on YouTube or read the test results on manufacturers’ websites. It is recommended to spray polyurethane foam of fire class E because of its self-extinguishing properties. Class E tells us that the foam is classified as combustible. The foam does not smolder,  drip or melt in contact with fire. Comparing polyurethane and mineral wool, polyurethane foam is the better option considering flammability.


Myth #9: Polyurethane foam has no flaws.

It’s a myth. Polyurethane foam has one flaw, important for many investors – cost of application service. Prices start form 48PLN/m2. Is it then worthwhile to invest in new technology? Of course it is. Assuming that the foam will bring us savings of 30-50% per year compared to other insulation methods, the investment will pay off after 18 months only.


Advantages of the Polyurethane Foam in Comparison To Other Isolation Materials

Advantages of the polyurethane foam in comparison to other isolation materials

What to use for single-family house insulation? Only polyurethane foam.

Choosing of the insulation methods is very important when you build a new house or renovate the existing one. This choice decides whether in the future you will enjoy the warmth of your home and receive low bills for heating, or if the money you spent turn out to be WASTED. Currently there is no better insulation method than polyurethane foam. By choosing our company’s foam spray service you will save about 50% of money that you normally spend on heating. Producer gives 25 years warranty for the polyurethane foam, and guarantees that its insulation properties will not change during that time, and that your house will be well protected from cold and heat.

Sanberg Europe is not only a distributor of polyurethane foam spray reactors, but also a Certified Polyurethane Foam Insulation Contractor. In the early phase of our activity, we gained experience on the Western European market. We learned how to provide an excellent customer service and it is now our best advertisement. Working for foreign customers in Germany and Ireland is very challenging considering the quality of service. If Polish company is to receive a job in Germany, their performance must be perfect – just as Sanberg’s. Nearly 70% of our services is provided for German customers. So ask yourself, why we don’t have to advertise on the Internet or in the industry press, while other companies do? The answer is very simple – we already have a lot of customers in Germany and Poland and we perform services on their recommendation.

Below I present comparison of different materials and their thermal insulation properties. It shows that 5cm of foam provides the same level of insulation as a 170cm thick wall. 5cm of foam equals 8cm of mineral wool, in therms of insulation performance. The advantage of polyurethane foam is an optimal heating with a minimum layer.


There are many thermal insulation methods available on the market – polyurethane foam, Styrofoam, cellulose, various types of mineral and glass wool. What is the best for your house, family members and your wallet? Only polyurethane foam! Here are some of the advantages of polyurethane foam, which show you that Polyurethane Foam is the best way to isolate your house.

  • One of the most important assets of polyurethane foam is the quick return of money incurred on insulation. Every year you save around 30-50% more money compared to savings resulting form traditional insulation methods.
  • Insulation with polyurethane foam brings benefits not only in winter. During the summer the foam protects you from the heat. If you have the air conditioning in your home, you will appreciate the benefits of polyurethane foam as an insulator very soon. The air conditioner will not turn on so often, so you will also save money on room cooling. Thanks to foam isolation you will enjoy a pleasant coolness on hot days. The advantages of polyurethane foam will be appreciated strongly by those who have attic bedrooms and on hot summer nights they can not sleep because the attic feels like a heated oven.


What really counts in our lives? Only the health of our family.

  • Health is the basis of a happy life. Polyurethane foam is indifferent to the environment and to your health. It doesn’t generate dust, harmful gases or vapors. No microbes, parasites, insects, molds and fungi propagate in the foam.
  • Polyurethane foam isn’t dusty, unlike mineral wool or glass wool. It means that there are no harmful particles floating in the air that could enter our lungs and cause respiratory diseases.
  • By choosing polyurethane foam you avoid factors that cause allergies. No bird nests or rodent lairs will be found in the foam. Animals do not like the foam because they can’t eat it or chew it. They do not feel comfortable in its surroundings because it’s not soft or cozy for them. For example, in the mineral wool, martens are nesting, and that’s not healthy as they carry the mites. Also, birds do not make nests in the foam layer because it is a synthetic material and it is not tasty for them.
  • Polyurethane foam can be sprayed on various materials – wood and wood-based panels, sheet metal, steel, pap, polystyrene, tile, plastic, mineral wool and glass wool.
  • Foam is a perfect acoustic isolation. By choosing foam spray for insulation, you gain quieter house as well. It is especially important for premises located near communication nodes, bus or train stations, airports or noisy workplaces and factories.
  • Polyurethane basic form is liquid – it expands when sprayed, reaching all the accessible spaces it is required to fill. Other insulation methods don’t have this ability.

This small investment in your house may pay off more quickly than you imagine. Foam reduces risk of fire and roof damage caused by high winds.

  • In recent years we observe a lot of weather anomalies. Winds break roofs or damage their structures. Polyurethane foam joins the elements of the roof structure, creating a compact body. Thanks to low mass it does not weigh the roof structure.
  • Polyurethane foam may save your house from being consumed by the fire. As the foam is not flammable and the fire goes out on it, it may turn out to be your lifework saver.
  • Polyurethane foam spray gives a consistent thermal insulation throughout the entire roof surface. There are no thermal bridges. Other types of insulation do not provide this consistency, and therefore your precious heat escapes into the atmosphere through the gaps. And with the heat, your money goes as well.
  • And now a small portion of numbers and foam data. The foam thermal conductivity is 0.020-0.038. For mineral wool the thermal conductivity is 0.032 to 0.042. Polyurethane foam will not change shape over the years and will keep its insulation properties. For mineral wool, however, the insulation properties will deteriorate over time. (różnica w stosunku do punktu “Myth #3: Mineral wool isolates heat better.”)
  • Air escapes easily through the wool. Our money is blown into the atmosphere. Polyurethane foam transmits air too, but not as much as other insulating materials.
  • If you spray foam onto the wooden construction, it will not cause its rotting. Even if the wood is damp at some places, the foam will let the steam excape. Metal sheet does not rust under the foam.
  • Applying foam onto the metal sheet provides considerable protection of the latter from atmospheric conditions.
  • Once the wool gets damp it clumps together and its insulating properties are lowered. The wool starts to sag and the thermal bridges expand systematically. This doesn’t happen with the foam. The foam sticks to the foundation and remains stiff and does not sag like mineral wool. Open-cell polyurethane foam will absorb water only a little, and will also give it away. That is the reason we say that the foam breathes.

Our polyurethane foam spray service takes one working day. Do not wait for the construction crew and don’t waste your nerve, time and money. We will do everything for you.

We perform spray service promptly and swiftly, so that it actually saves your time and money. It’s not uncommon that availability of professionals during the season is very limited, and you’re forced to wait for somebody to install the mineral wool you already purchased. When after several weeks the professionals finally arrive, they perform their service throughout several days. Additional costs can surprise you in the process, for example for installing the mineral wool with binding, for nails, etc. In contrary to rockwool, polyurethane foam is installed in a 250m2 attic in only one working day. The crew starts their work in the morning, and leaves at 5 o’clock, the job finished. Customer is satisfied with a new, expertly applied insulation, and the company is free to send their professionals for another job.




Compressor and Power Generator for Polyurethane Foam Spray Reactor.

To perform the polyurethane foam spray, you will need not only the reactor, but also a compressor and, optionally, power generator. Let’s start with compressors.

For Sanberg Polyurethane Foam Spray Reactors SG-100, SG-200, SG-300, the air demand is 1000L/min. For hydraulic machines air demand is lower – 400L/min. When buying a compressor you need to consider how much space you can afford it to occupy, what your power supply is, and how much money you can spend. My experience shows that when two compressors are compared, sometimes the differences can be surprisingly big – so it’s better not to save time on choosing the perfect one for your purposes and capabilities. The most common for the polyurethane foam spray are piston compressors and screw compressors.


What Technical Parameters the Compressor for Polyurethane Foam Spray Should Have?

The tank is not the most important technical parameter to consider when choosing the foam reactor. What counts is the actual production of compressed air per minute. If the machine’s demand is 1000 l/min you have to think carefully on your choice. You must remember that the compressor can create problems with an overload protection – it may happen, that after we connect the compressor to the network or reactor, an overload protection will blow up at a start-up. Why does it happen? Well, the answer is very simple. At a start up each device consumes far more power than during normal operation. Compressor that normally uses 7,5kW, will use 14kW at a start-up. There are different ways to reduce the effect of a fast start-up, and one of them is the Softstart. This is a rather expensive solution, because it costs several hundred zloty, but it works.

The other solution, costly butt efficient, is the screw compressor with combustion drive. The power supply problem doesn’t occur for these compressors.

Our reviews.

Machines of which supplier does Sanberg recommend? We can’t actually give answer to that question, as the market’s offer is wide, and we do not favor any of the companies manufacturing compressors or power generators. The compressors we sell are produced by Walter Kompressortechnik. For our services we use a piston compressor Walter SG-1400 with 500L tank. This machine meets the air demand standards, but it has one drawback. It is large and noisy. After several seasons of working with this machine, I decided that if I were to buy another one, I would’ve spend more money for the screw compressor.


Power Generator for the Polyurethane Foam Spray Reactor.

The next device that you need is the power generator. If you want to have a power supply on the construction sites without a three-faze current, the 400V unit will be a good choice. However, while the power generator solves a lot problematic issues, it can cause troubles itself. So how to choose an appropriate generator to our foam reactor plus compressor set? It is actually quite simple, if we know exactly what we need and what we want to achieve with our device. If the generator is to supply power only to the reactor, than the 15kW unit will be sufficient. If it is to supply power for both reactor and compressor, than you need from 25kW to 30kW generator. Why did I write the power required in range, rather than in a defined number? Because you need to leave the power reserve for the reactor, so that it doesn’t work on it’s full power all the time, but rather on such power, that would not cause a dynamo burnt after a month.