Saudi Aramco Review 2015

Bakker ... no other product provides parallel longevity and safety

Bakker ... no other product provides parallel longevity and safety

Making a difference with Pittsburgh Corning Foamglas

Pittsburgh Corning’s Foamglas insulation, a unique product, provides superior protection and energy conservation in a wide range of applications surrounding the industrial process piping and supporting oil and gas storage tanks

Critical processes, requiring longevity in service, sustainability in quality, and safety as the foremost requirement, cannot be satisfied with marginal products and systems. For these reasons and for many decades, engineering professionals have come to call on Pittsburgh Corning to assist with their hydrocarbon processing construction.

Pittsburgh Corning engineers have worked with project engineers around the world to ensure that their designs provide the long term operating efficiencies and safety, their clients demand.

"Our company’s commitment to safety is paramount. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to the safety of our employees, affiliates, and customers," says Peter Bakker, region manager, Pittsburgh Corning Europe – Middle East operations.

The company, this year, has seen a reasonable amount of industrial growth in the oil and gas industry as its customers’ challenges raise the demand for its products.

"Hydrocarbon processing provides many challenges to process insulation systems," Bakker says. Explaining further, he adds: In the gas importing and exporting terminal business, there is a good deal of cryogenic work, which involves temperatures below -100-deg C. Some petrochemical and refining processes exhibit very high temperatures, which provide both personnel protection and fire safety challenges. Wicking of flammable liquids can be catastrophic with fibrous insulation materials in above ambient service but Pittsburgh Corning’s Foamglas insulation, being closed cell, prevents wicking and the consequential fire hazard. Pittsburgh Corning’s Foamglas insulation and pre-fabricated insulation systems meet all of these challenges.

According to him, Foamglas insulation is a unique product, which provides superior protection and energy conservation in a wide range of applications surrounding the industrial process piping and supporting oil and gas storage tanks. "No other product provides parallel longevity and safety," Bakker says.

Manufactured to a global standard, its materials are manufactured to the same standard across the globe in five different factories, ensuring that projects can be supplied with the same quality without shutdown of construction because of a single plant production issue. This has proven to be most important when many large projects require many millions of units within a span of just a few weeks or months.

Foamglas insulation is fabricated into many shapes and sizes, depending on the tank, vessel or pipe configuration. These fabrication operations not only take into consideration the surface size but also the design conditions (ambient conditions, chemical composition of the contained goods, and process fluid temperatures).

The company takes care of Foamglas insulation’s supply chain, too. The global manufacturing flexibility, combined with a network of both company-owned and contracted fabricators, ensure that small to major projects are assured full continuity of supply.

Technical service is the key value-add of the Foamglas insulation team. The sales people are technically astute but are also backed up by the most competent and experienced technical service team. The technical service team can help by phone, by email, and at the jobsite. "No other industrial insulation manufacturer can surpass the Pittsburgh Corning technical service offering. When a heavy duty industrial insulation problem arises, the answer is to call the Foamglas insulation team. There aren’t many problems the team has not seen," he says.

As technical training is more in demand than ever with contractors around the world asking for training and certifications for their key employees, Pittsburgh Corning has answered these needs with a world class technical training centre. In the training centre, many different applications and techniques can be exhibited. In fact, ‘hands-on’ training is the key element, not just an instruction at Pittsburgh Corning. In addition, several technical training managers visit sites and assist contractors in making sure that the Pittsburgh Corning guidelines for performance are followed.

As a world-class manufacturer of sustainable, high-performance glass insulating products for the building, energy, and industrial markets, Pittsburgh Corning has been at the forefront of designing products that stand the test of time. These products include products with better thermal conductivity, better physical properties, and fire protection. The company has been at the forefront of key product testing initiatives, making certain that the desired properties can be expected every day. These testing initiatives include both in-house and third party testing.


Pittsburgh Corning Corporation had a promising start in 1937, with one innovative product, architectural glass block, and the support of two renowned companies – Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company and Corning Glass Works. When the company was founded, its sole purpose was to produce and sell glass block products to the building and construction market. Until the development of Foamglas insulation some years later, this was its only business. Its architectural glass block business continues to this day.

The company has evolved in many ways over these many decades, always looking to improve its efficiency, on the surface costs, and safety for its customers. Those improvements include innovations in glass technology, glass production, and fabrication of the insulation elements. Pittsburgh Corning has also been devoted to supplying high quality insulation accessories, which provide the final piece in solving the puzzle of longevity and safety.

Today, the company manufactures Foamglas cellular glass insulation in five global locations: two manufacturing units are in the US; two in Europe and one in Asia.

"Pittsburgh Corning is a global company with interests in all continents. We seem to keep growing because of this. We follow the business very closely in each regional market," says Baker.

The company has recently opened a large manufacturing facility in Yantai, China, which it says will become a major source for its products in the growing Asia-Pacific region. The company has been active in the Middle East since the mid-70s and its direct presence in this region is now approaching ten years. "The business level is very good in the Middle East but there is a cyclic element to it. The price of oil, of course, can play a role in this, without question," says Baker while commenting on the business levels in this region.

A privately held company, Pittsburgh Corning has sales offices in many global locations, and distribution points (or partners) which serve all continents but Antarctica.

Foamglas insulation sales engineers and managers are available in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and Europe and carefully work through the industrial problems with real solutions, which last for many years. For over 75 years, Pittsburgh Corning has evolved into a leading global manufacturer of innovative and technically advanced Foamglas insulation and glass block products for the industrial, commercial and building markets. Its sustainable products conserve energy, protect the environment, and have improved the lives of millions of people in virtually every country in the world.

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