FSI is a global chemical supplier and leader in the polyurethane industry whose vision is building a better tomorrow. Founded in 1972 on the core values of Sustainability, Innovation, and Caring, the company is driven by the pursuit of environmental responsibility. FSI’s mission is to create a sustainable environmental and social impact that positively changes the world and improves life. 

Interview with Michele Rolla, Account Manager at FSI.

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

Michele Rolla: We have developed many innovative products including Ecomate® which is the most tested and proven environmentally friendly blowing agent for Polyurethane applications on the market today. Ecomate has zero global warming potential, zero ozone depletion potential, and has no volatile organic compounds.

FSI is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, but has a global presence with international offices and blending sites in Europe, India, China, and Dubai.  For 50 years we have been a purpose-driven organization with a passion for stewardship to the environment and using our profits for community betterment.

E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

M.R: We are a full systems solution house meaning that we supply the chemicals but also provide equipment, technical services, and application expertise from bulk tanks, to piping, hoses, presses, dispensing equipment, and everything in between.  We are global but act locally.

In the European markets our main objective is helping companies comply with EU regulations helping to make the EU Chemicals Industry a global leader in Sustainable Chemistry.  

For 50 years FSI has been recognized in the USMCA market for our products as well as our technical support. We are one of the few, if not the only major player to provide routine, on-site maintenance to our customers helping to make sure that unplanned downtime is kept to a minimum.

We consider “Service What We Sell” more than just a slogan – it’s one of the founding principles on which our business is based. We are proud to say that our ongoing commitment to service and our approach to meeting a customers’ needs is unmatched by any other organization.

Offering regular on-site service, training and support is part of our total commitment to customer success. It all starts with developing the right chemical system, progressing it through extensive trials and demonstrations in order to optimize processes and ensure product performance. Ongoing communication and personal visits with our customers assure their operations run smoothly and successfully.

FSI is not just a polyurethane chemical provider… we are a true partner who’s there, no matter where you’re located, every step of the way. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

M.R: With a core value being sustainability, it means that we are always pursuing eco-friendly solutions for the polyurethane industry. Our production division is in a constant state of growth, which we’re very happy about. The busiest division at FSI is our R&D team led by chemists who are passionate about environmental responsibility and are always seeking to make our products better for our customers and for our environment.

The EU’s plans for Sustainable Chemistry are to hold businesses accountable for their impact. We are proud to enable the Polyurethane industry to be forerunners in this initiative with our tested and proven eco-friendly blowing agent – Ecomate. Fifty years ago, our vision was defined – build a better product that is better for the environment. Through continued innovation, our patented Ecomate technology is a leader in the polyurethane foam industry and our innovative products are leading the charge in environmentally conscious technologies. 

The European Green Deal’s objective is to improve the well-being and health of citizens and future generations. Many companies in the Polyurethane industry are now having to determine the best solution for their manufacturing processes to become compliant. FSI is here to help with that conversion. Where most systems require new equipment or very expensive overhauls of manufacturing processes, our Ecomate solution is simple and in the majority of cases it is a very easy switch over.

Ecomate is an environmentally friendly foam blowing agent to a family of polyurethane foam systems that have zero global warming potential (GWP), zero ozone depletion potential (ODP), and zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Thanks to its eco-friendly properties, Ecomate does not contribute to any of the harmful environmental effects that other blowing agents have been linked to. So, in this world of ever-evolving regulatory compliance, laws, policies, and regulations, with Ecomate you can rest easy. Because it’s environmentally benign, Ecomate complies with every current regulation pertaining to foam blowing agents. Furthermore, as additional HFCs and other harmful materials are phased out of use, Ecomate will continue to be a reliable, proven, and affordable foam blowing agent solution.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

M.R:

  • Ecomate Blowing Agent
  • Ecofoam
  • Polecrete
  • Ecospray
  • Genfoam
  • Opti-Therm
  • Conti-Foam
  • Ecoflex
  • Many others

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

M.R: We are involved in many different markets; Automotive, Cold Chain Refrigeration, Marine, HVAC, and countless others. Each market has its pain points and we are particularly skilled at helping start-up companies get off the ground due to our turnkey and extensive approach.  We value open and frequent communication with our customers.  By intentionally seeking to listen we have been attentive to and better understand our customer needs. Ultimately this has allowed us to provide value with innovative solutions.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

M.R: The EU Green Deal and its “new growth strategy” goal of being the first climate neutral continent by 2050 has the European market fast paced with new products racing to market. On the one hand, this competition is great because it pushes technology forward, but often these new products are worrisome. It takes a long time to develop and properly test a product to make sure it effectively does what it claims to do.

I believe in markets like today it is best to look for innovative organizations who have solid track records. This is why I think that FSI is the solution for companies seeking regulatory compliance. For 50 years FSI has been steadily producing innovative products that exceed expectations; products like our Ecomate blowing agent, the most tested and proven environmentally friendly blowing agent on the market today. We have seen customers spend far too much on systems and equipment upgrades only to discover the solution they’ve bought into isn’t all they were hoping for. We pay attention to our customers’ needs and develop solutions that are a good fit for their production lines without any new equipment. As an example, we often do Ecomate demos without having to change any equipment at a customer’s location.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

M.R: Since I’ve been discussing Ecomate so much, I might as well continue talking about its innovative qualities. Ecomate has been a leader in the polyurethane foam industry for over two decades. Our dedication to providing eco-friendly, sustainable, and dependable products is what sets Ecomate apart from other foam supply companies. 

Since 2003, Ecomate has been classified by the U.S. EPA as an acceptable alternative to a wide range of environmentally damaging blowing agents under its SNAP program. Beginning in 2009, Ecomate has been shown to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) based on scientific procedures by the FDA.  In addition, Ecomate was considered as an acceptable alternative for HCFC & HFC replacement by UNEP for Article 5 countries.

Factory Mutual Approved Class 1 systems based on Ecomate foam blowing technology qualifications in 2006. In 2004, Ecomate foam applications were classified as VOC-Exempt by the EPA. Ecomate is eco-friendly, non-toxic, and doesn’t contribute to Ozone pollution episodes.

All of that to say Ecomate has unmatched regulatory compliance while maintaining quality, thermal insulation, and product reliability.  Our technology is economical and further keeps costs low by not requiring new equipment and has a robust supply chain and strong global presence. In my biased opinion there is nothing on market that can compete with Ecomate.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

M.R: The past few years have been difficult for many different reasons. One of the bigger issues was the supply chain. Thankfully, our CEO, Todd Keske, made an incredibly bold move in 2017 that has allowed us to maintain supply to our customers. We have seen a large amount of growth due to having been “ahead of the curve” and I estimate that 2022 we will continue to grow as more of the Polyurethane industry discovers all that FSI has to offer.