New Product Review

New Product for OEMs and the Aftermarket

The Insulator

The New Standard for Safe and Effective Insulation?
Breakthrough Technology in Insulation for RVs

Editor's Note:
RV News sees a lot of new products that manufacturers hope will capture the imagination of OEM manufacturers, warehouse distributors and dealers. Once in a while, we see a product that demands our attention -- this new insulation is such a product. It's superior insulating capabilities along with other features outlined in the following story should convince you to take a closer look. This product may set a new standard for the future of RV insulation materials.

Convincing an OEM manufacturer to change an existing product to a completely different product is a formidable task; however, that's precisely what a new company in Arizona is attempting to do. Sometimes an OEM buyer will change to something else because of a cost savings if the product meets their standard and others will change because of a new design -- but change is not easily achieved. In more cases than not, the company that currently has the OEM's business has earned that business through years of service and personal contacts.

So how's a new company going to break down the barriers of tradition and win the business? If you are Unlimited Quality Products, Mesa, AZ, and your product is a revolutionary new insulation material, you'll start by stating that the new product is two to three times more effective than what you're already using and is priced competitively. That should at least get their attention, right?

Phil Stewart, general manager, Unlimited Quality Products, Mesa, Arizona

Phil Stewart, general manager of Unlimited Quality Products, is convinced that if he gets that far, the rest will be easy because the product is, he believes, significantly superior to anything else available based on independent research. But getting the product to the point where it was ready to compete has been a long and intensive process.

However, after three long-years of experimentation, product testing, working and reworking manufacturing procedures, and test-marketing, Unlimited Quality Products is ready to deliver The Insulator to the RV industry.

And, when the product was tested against competitive products by independent testing authorities*, the results were impressive. In the original single-ply, The Insulator tested better than Reflectix, Astro Foil and Solar Shield by 74%, and better than Quality Heat Shield and Ozite by 36%.

In The Insulator double-side (foil on front and back), tests came back beating Reflectix, Astro Foil and Solar Shield by 102%, and better than Quality Heat Shield and Ozite by 58%. Finally, in the Dual-Thickness product category, The Insulator beat out Reflectix, Astro Foil and Solar Shield by 278%, and beat Quality Heat Shield and Ozite by 194%.

With these numbers, it is easy to see why somebody hearing the facts for the first time might find them somewhat suspect. Unlimited Quality Products, however, invites everyone to see a copy of the test results from independent testing companies.
The Insulator, a unique new insulation material for the RV and other industries.

Stewart said, "We knew the test results would be good, but when the numbers came back for the second time, we knew we had a winner."

According to Stewart, those tests also proved the following: 1) The Insulator provides 50% - 90% greater R-values than other reflective materials, 2) The Insulator meets FAA standards for installation in light aircraft, 3) The Insulator conforms to FMVSS 302 for flammability of interior materials, 4) The Insulator reflects 97% of infrared energy, and 5) The Insulator is environmentally safe with no need for protective clothing, gloves, masks or respirators

The Insulator, appropriately named for the way it insulates from heat, sound, moisture and vapors, began with the concept of providing a multitude of industries with an insulation product that would out-perform "the pink stuff" and other industry stand-bys, and at the same time work well in environments that are lacking in space -- especially RV's.

That meant developing not only a new product, but a new road map to get it from a dream to a final product ready to be marketed into the RV and other industries.

Stewart said, "Everybody in the insulation business seemed to be looking at the past, and developing more-of-the-same type of product. Some would be thicker, some thinner, and some with more or less fibers. We knew that the vehicles of the future would be smaller, but would require more interior space, so the answer had to be better protection with less bulk. The Insulator fits the bill by taking advantage of new, constraint layer damping."

Stewart came to Unlimited Quality Products in its very early stages from the Bose Corpora-tion. At Bose, Stewart was the Western sales manager with additional responsibility for in-teracting with Bose Engineers in the development of new products with the primary focus on engineered built-in products. With his background, the transition into the insulation industry was not difficult.

Stewart's business philosophy and insight of expanding this key product over a multitude of industries has opened the door to RV manufacturers and consumers alike, as well as the auto, aircraft, marine, commercial and even residential building industries. According to Stewart, these industries have conducted their own tests on the product and, without exception, the reviews have been more-than-positive. He used the word "raved" in describing the reaction to the tests.

"It's a new concept to be sure," Stewart said when RV News questioned about the look of The Insulator. The Insulat-or's unique 'constraint layer damping' concept is strengthened by a unique fiber pad that provides outstanding conductive heat transfer, stops the flow of heat, and absorbs any penetrating sound waves. The layers of 1 mil. thick aluminum reflect 97.3% radiant heat energy back toward the source and are impervious to moisture, vapors and air currents."

To appeal to a variety of markets, The Insulator was developed in single, double and triple-ply thickness with foil laminated to multiple layers.

The combination of materials has provided an insulation product, that when tested, meets standards that out-perform the competitors hands-down.

"Now that we're ready for mass marketing, I'm anxious to see our dream come to life," Stewart said.

To ensure that the dream would become reality, Stewart added Shari Gabaldon to the sales staff nearly a year ago. Gabaldon's background in sales is widely diverse and includes everything from sales training for Kimberly Clark, Inc. to sales of specialty vehicles and equipment for the physically disabled.

With an approach that leans towards problem solving and educationally-based sales, Ga-baldon has made roads into some very exclusive circles by placing more emphasis on gathering information leading toward product enhancement and development.

"Our company prides itself on customer satisfaction," Gabaldon said. "Whether it be the purchasing department, receiving department, the Do-It-Your-selfer, or the person who ultimately uses The Insulator's benefits, they must all be satisfied with the product and their relationships with our company. Otherwise, we don't consider ourselves successful."

Some of those that have tried the product have reported back to Unlimited Quality Products their reactions which Stewart shared with RV News.

How The Insulator Works

So, how then does the product work?

The Insulator was developed primarily to combat heat transfer. There are three modes of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation (infrared). Of the three, radiation is the primary mode; conduction and convection are secondary and come into play only as matter interrupts or interferes with radiant heat transfer. As matter absorbs radiant energy, it is heated, develops a difference in temperature, and results in molecular motion (conduction in solids) or mass motion (primarily convection with some conduction in liquids and gas).

All substances, including air space, wood, glass, metal, concrete, plaster and insulation, obey the same laws of physics and transfer heat. Solid materials differ in the rate of heat transfer which is affected by differences in: density, shape, weight, permeability, and molecular structure. Materials that transfer heat slowly are said to resist heat flow.

Radiant heat, a major source of heat flow, is energy in the form of infrared waves. Heat flow travels at the speed of light, even through a vacuum, and is either transmitted through, absorbed into, or reflected by any materials in contact. Air, water, and glass, for example, transmit visible light in varying degrees. A white surface, such as snow, reflects it, and a black surface absorbs it.

Infrared works in the same way as visible light; heat is generated when energy is absorbed. Common insulation products, like most building materials, tend to absorb a large percentage of the radiant energy they encounter. However, tests have shown that one sheet of aluminum in the center of an airspace reflects 97% of radiant heat.

This means that heat rays pass through it at a rate of only 3%. The radiant barrier does not deliver or remove any heat from the overall system; rather it reflects a sizeable fraction of the radiant energy back to the surface from which it originated. In addition, if the radiant barrier is two sided, it will re-radiate very little of the energy it has absorbed from its opposite side. The barrier material typically have 95-97% reflectivity and .03-.05 emissivity.

The reflectivity and emissivity are basic material properties. The Insulator addresses both of these phenomenon.

All objects radiate infrared rays from their surfaces in all directions, in a straight line, until they are reflected or absorbed by another object. Traveling at the speed of light, these rays are invisible, and they have no temperature, only energy.

When these infrared rays (energy) strike the surface of another object, the rays are absorbed, and only then is heat produced in the object. This heat spreads throughout the mass by means of conduction. The heated object then transmits infrared rays from exposed surfaces by radiation, if these surfaces are exposed directly to an air space.

"We can't do anything to change the physics of heat and energy," said Stewart, "but we've definitely developed a product that combats the elements effectively and efficiently."

Mike Horton, president of Texas-based Horton Aero Service, said, "Every once in a while, something comes along that obviously is better than what we have been using. The Insulator is one of those rare products. The benefits become very evident during and after the installation throughout an airplane. We found The Insulator to 1) be easier to cut and install than other products, 2) protect against heat and cold, 3) make all planes quieter, and 4) be FAA approved.

Another satisfied customer is Rick Rose, assistant division manager of Specialty Vehicles & Equipment of Arizona. He said, "The Insulator is an outstanding product. It gives us far greater sound deadening qualities, heat/cold insulation, and takes up less space than the material we were previously using. Now we use it in every application imaginable, from low-temperature refrigeration units to law enforcement mobile command units, to mobile medical cancer screening units. All with outstanding results."

Rose also pointed out that the City of Mesa (Mesa, AZ) selected The Insulator for its fire/police mobile command unit because of compacting problems it had previously experienced with Uniroyal IV Ensolit while their vehicles were moving.

And while the attraction for OEM manufacturers is obvious, Stewart believes there is a great aftermarket potential as well. He said, "A definite advantage of The Insulator's lightweight material for Do-It-Yourselfers is the ease in which it cuts with normal household scissors -- and it can be used for any application where insulation is needed, from dog houses to Dodge Dart restoration projects.

The three-year research and development phase was mostly dedicated to the product and its applications for manufacturers, but significant time also went into listening to the needs of distributors and retailers, according to Stewart.

He said, "We were somewhat amazed that this concept hadn't been embraced.

"For us, it wasn't just a matter of listening , but of listening differently. If you change your focus from being the seller to the buyer, and put yourself in their shoes, you start to 'live their concerns and problems' rather than just listen and react to them. It's an old trick I learned in my early selling days, but it still applies -- and it generally either produces some very unique insights or confirms a winning approach.

"The RV industry was quick to point out that compact insulation was an absolute necessity for engine covers, ceilings, generator compartments, floorboards, walls and hot water heater blankets."

The noise abatement of The Insulator was developed to provide quieter passenger compartments and sleeping areas. As well, the product's thermal protective qualities add significant comfort and reduced energy consumption with the added value of extending the life of starter motors and other vital parts.

"We went to the automotive industry," Stewart continued. "They told us of their needs for floor, side panel, firewall, floorboard, headliner and engine compartment insulating needs.

"We went to the aircraft industry and they told us about engine cover, interior skin, floorboard and bulkhead insulation needs.

"The marine industry made it clear that they too needed a product for engine covers, inside hulls, exterior walls, pump housings and bulkheads.

"And finally, the obvious needs were there for commercial and residential buildings. Proba-bly the most unique application so far, has been the use of The Insulator as an acoustic curtain in an industrial plant."

Stewart said he is excited about the new product and anxious for the opportunity to present it to OEM and aftermarket decision makers. "I'm convinced that once they see it and review the test documentation, they will see its potential for improving the products they are building."

Ancillary products distributed by Unlimited Quality Products, but designed to work with The Insulator include STICKY Stuff, a premium grade spray adhesive specially formulated for use with aluminum coating and metal surfaces. STICKY Stuff is available in 10 oz. cans; enough to install two 4' x 6' sheets. STICKY Stuff is also available in bulk for commercial accounts. As well, for added sealing and insulating protection, INSUL-TAPE, pressure-sensitive aluminized foil tape, is available. INSUL-TAPE conforms to irregular surfaces, seals seams and joints, and provides a vapor barrier.

For more information, contact Phil Stewart or Shari Gabaldon at Unlimited Quality Products at 1-800-528-8219.

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