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- Posted in Polystyrene Uses, Videos by Fran

In an earlier post, many readers commented that they would like to see a video on how polystyrene is produced. Here we have insight into the whole process.

I welcome any comments you may have after seeing the video.
One of my first impressions, years ago, was surprise by the size of the moulded blocks and the space the factory needed to store them. What is your impression?

Post a Comment


  1. Grannymar

    Posted May 1, 2009 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Frank, that was very interesting.

    Another question….?

    How do you recycle the beans?

  2. Fran

    Posted May 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Grannymar for your comment.

    The polystyrene beans and offcuts that we create are all bagged and sent back to the manufacturer, they are ground up and reused to make new blocks of polystyrene.
    Our local recycling centre also accepts polystyrene, they have a machine that compacts the scrap foam packaging into small blocks (about the size of a bundle of briquettes). We only occasionally use this service if we are short of space in the workshop.

  3. cgarvey

    Posted May 12, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Interesting clip. I thought I’d seen all the “How it’s Made” shows!

    So do you mold (and steam compress the beans), or buy blocks in bulk size and cut down to shape/size?

    Is your cutting a similar computer-guided heated wire technique?

    What about colour; are the beans coloured or do you spray the final mould?

    I probably shouldn’t be so fascinated by all of this!


  4. Fran

    Posted May 12, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Cathal.
    The ‘How it’s made’ series can be interesting and I thought they have covered the production process quite well in this video.

    We buy blocks of EPS and use our CNC hot-wire machines to cut the required design, they are similar to the machines in the video. A machine with multiple wires, used for cutting squares or sheets all at the same time, is called a harp for obvious reasons.

    Polystyrene is usually white, we do stock a polystyrene foam that is black, the actual colour is a dark grey/graphite. It was introduced to meet the ‘U’value standards in the building regulations, but these have been subsequently superseded.
    Another type of polystyrene, known as extruded polystyrene is available in quite a few colours, blue, tan, & yellow. The colour is dependant on the manufacturer.

    Whatever fascination you may have in styrofoam, I hope I haven’t bored you with this reply.
    Thanks for reading.

  5. Candy and Darren

    Posted July 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow, very interesting

  6. Fran

    Posted July 1, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for leaving a comment Candy and Darren.
    Hopefully you will keep checking the blog to see how the expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is used after it’s made. Cheers.

  7. mgg

    Posted April 30, 2010 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Is this part of the show recorded in calgary?

  8. Fran

    Posted May 3, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Hi mgg,
    I’m sorry I don’t know where it was recorded.

  9. Mike

    Posted March 30, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    What is added to the white EPS to give the grey colour and why is it done, other than to change U value, has the grey type any extra benefits?