A brief history of PorterSIPs™ by Porter Corp.™
Porter Corp, founded in 1964 as W. H. Porter, Inc., is a design, engineering and manufacturing company focusing on exterior structures and insulated building envelopes. Porter Corp was one of the first producers of SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels). Bill Porter’s venture in SIPs was an outgrowth of his experience in the marine industry where he learned that one of the best ways to build an economical, structural boat bottom was with a plastic foam core in sandwich construction with fiberglass. During the 1950’s and 60’s, Bill Porter was the R&D Manager for boat manufacturer Chris Craft Corporation. He established the first factories that would eventually manufacture fiberglass boats. Bill Porter was also one of the founding members of SIPA (Structural Insulated Panels Association). Currently, the company’s Director of Actg & SIPS Business Unit Mgr, Ard Smits, is serving on the SIPA Advisory Board.
About Our Facilities
|The Porter Corp campus is home to over 131,000 square feet of manufacturing facilities, corporate offices, shelters, prototypes and R&D ventures. It is situated on 20 acres in Holland, Michigan. Porter Corp has state of the art SIPs manufacturing equipment and operations, which includes multiple CNC machines in flexible manufacturing cells. Within the framework of Lean Manufacturing, the company implements continuous improvement processes to improve quality, reduce customer lead time, ensure on-time delivery, and reduce cost. We are committed to serving customers well and exceeding their expectations.|
The People Behind Porter Corp.™
Our employees are dedicated to providing our customers with the best products and service available in our industry. We are proud of our strong design and engineering capabilities and customer oriented office staff. Compared to the industry, PorterSIPs has more technical resources and offers more product innovation. We are continually evaluating and improving our processes to ensure that our products are the best quality and value. Porter Corp also manufactures Poligon®, which is a line of factory fabricated, ready to assemble, park shelters. Poligon® shelters are manufactured in our steel processing plant, located on the same campus as our SIP manufacturing plant.
Since 1964, PorterSIPs has been committed to
providing products to advance the building industry.
Bill Porter began making laminated, foam-core, and structural building panels in the mid 1960s. The panels made at that time were quite different than today’s SIPs. They were commonly made with polyurethane foam cores and plywood, steel, or aluminum faces. These early panels were typically 4’ wide and 8’ -10’ tall. In 1980, OSB was brought to the market and soon after that, the much larger jumbo 8’x24’ OSB became available. This was a major shift for PorterSIPs and the rest of the SIP industry. Today, PorterSIPs is the oldest SIP manufacturer in existence and continues to be one of the industry leaders.
The History of SIPs (Courtesy of our friends at SIPA)
The concept of a structural insulated panel began in 1935 at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) in Madison, Wisconsin. FPL engineers speculated that plywood and hardboard sheathing could take a portion of the structural load in wall applications. Their prototype structural insulated panels (SIPs) were constructed using framing members within the panel combined with structural sheathing and insulation.
The panels were used to construct test homes that were continually monitored for over thirty years, then disassembled and reexamined. During this time, FPL engineers continued to experiment with new designs and materials.
Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright used structural insulated panels in some of his affordable Usonian houses built throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s. SIPs took a major leap in technology when one of Wright’s students, Alden B. Dow, son of the founder of Dow Chemical Company, created the first foam core SIP in 1952.
By the 1960’s, rigid foam insulating products became readily available, resulting in the production of structural insulated panels as we know them today. The Structural Insulated Panel Association was founded in 1990 to provide support and visibility for those manufacturing and building with this emerging building technology.
In the 1990’s, SIPs saw the development of advanced computer aided manufacturing (CAM) technology. Using these systems, computerized architectural drawings (CAD drawings) can be converted to the necessary code to allow automated cutting machines to fabricate SIPs to the specific design of a building. CAD to CAM technology has streamlined the SIP manufacturing process, bringing further labor savings to builders.
Today, SIPs offer a high tech solution for residential and low rise nonresidential buildings. Advances in computer aided design and manufacturing allow SIPs to be produced with amazing accuracy to deliver flat, straight, and true walls. SIPs are now made with a variety of structural skin materials, including oriented strand board (OSB), treated plywood, fiber-cement board, and metal. SIPs are available in thickness from 4-inch and 6-inch walls, and thicker roof panels up to 14-inches, depending on climate conditions. The design capabilities, exceptional strength and energy saving insulation make SIPs a twenty-first century building material for high performance buildings.