Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) are climbing the ladder of top construction materials. Their superior insulating properties, increased spanning capabilities and single-step installation make them efficient and cost-effective. Combine that with the assortment of colors, widths, profiles and finishes. Making them the perfect choice! So how are these superior building materials made?
What’s In The Middle?
In the most basic terms, IMPs are comprised of rigid insulation sandwiched in between metal skins. Based on the manufacturer, that insulation material varies. The most common filling is expanded polystyrene, but IMPs can also use extruded polystyrene, polyurethane, and other materials. Different fillings have different performance properties. Some are better insulators while others are more structurally sturdy. This also leads to variations in thickness.
Bind It Together
Oriented strand board (OSB) tends to make up the outside of the panel. That being said plywood and fiber cement board are also common. Manufacturers apply structural-grade adhesives to stick these outer pieces to the insulation using machines called roll coaters. The machines apply glue from the bottom layer up, starting with a single sheet of OSB lying flat. The foam core is then placed into the adhesive, followed by another coating of glue on the foam core, and then the top layer of OSB is added.
Turn Up the Pressure
The adhesive has a tendency to expand. In order for the panel to stay together, manufacturers must press the entire piece together using a large machine.
Trim the Excess
Initially, IMPs are much larger than what we see on the construction site. IMPs must be cut to fit the custom shapes and sizes determined by the architect. To finish each panel, manufacturers can add connectors, create joints, or close off the exposed edges with a thin strip of OSB.
Long story short, IMPs are formed by a continuously poured-in-place manufacturing process that binds interior and exterior steel facings to a Class 1 foam plastic insulation. But these panels are so much more than that! IMPs are a beautifully strong and thermally efficient metal cladding product. They are readily available, easy to install, and every day designers are finding new and exciting applications for this dynamic and versatile building product.