Feeling Chile

Feeling Chile
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SPRAY FOAM MAGAZINE – Aguas Magallanes is a water treatment plant, responsible for the water supply to the city of Punta Arenas, Chile. Due to its geographical position and extreme winter temperatures, the plant’s indoor water pools often freeze in the colder months. Therefore, they desperately needed superior insulation to help retain a steady temperature in the premises especially during the winter season. Spray Foam Magazine was eager to find out more about this remote part of the world and how SPF is proving to be a big benefit to projects like this one.

Punta Arenas is a small Chilean city that lies on the Strait of Magellan between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It is the southernmost large city in the world. Founded by immigrants from Europe and Chileans from the north, it has an abundance of sophisticated European architecture from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The city is built on a steep hillside that drops down to the harbor and was once reliant on industries like sheep farming, mining, and other commercial activities. Today, tourism is an important part of its economy.

Tándem Foam is situated in this beautiful region of Magallanes, amidst the picturesque Chilean Patagonia, specializing in spray foam applications, airless paint applications, HDPE Extrusion welding and hydro jet washing services. The Tándem SPF crew works in this challenging natural setting, where cold winds and extreme weather conditions constantly present challenges to structures. 

Led by Galmier Morales, an industrial engineer, Tándem Foam has solidified its position as a crucial service for energy efficiency and thermal protection and stands out for its ability to adapt to the unique conditions of the region, offering insulation solutions that meet rigorous quality standards. Regarding their competitive environment, they have taken a service line guided by the American industry, which is a fast and reliable application using high-end American equipment, powered by equipment that allows them to reach all places in their region. This has resulted in an advantage in their environment.

The interior of the treatment plant with 2" of closed-cell foam and acrylic topcoat

Tándem Foam secured the Aguas Magallanes treatment plant project through lobbying efforts and the presentation of their products and services to the company. Aguas Magallanes opened a private tender, where Tándem Foam emerged as the winner due to their professional presentation, competitive pricing, and tight execution deadlines. The crew headed to the site in their two-axle trailer which was manufactured in Chile. Inside they have a Graco Reactor Series 2 unit, powered by gasoline generators and paint spraying equipment. This is mobilized with a Ford F-350 flatbed truck.

Two crew members from Tándem worked on this project including the owner, Galmier Morales, who was accompanied by Sebastián Fernandez, a highly dedicated assistant who has been with the company for over a year. Their PPE consisted of chemical-resistant overalls, disposable Nitrile gloves, MaxiFlex gloves and Allegro System full-face masks with air supply which they imported from the U.S. to Chile. Before applying the SPF, the crew cleaned the substrate by blowing and vacuuming the area. Consequently, a thorough surface protection was carried out using disposable plastics on all main pillars, primary beams, electrical accessories, and pavements. In the case of water pools, the crew had to devise a platform system using iron framework and marine plywood to enable them to work safely over the treatment plant pools.

Once the prep work had been completed, the crew then sprayed two inches of closed-cell foam to 13,000 sq. ft of the entire envelope of the facility consisting of the walls and roof. The SPF was also applied directly to the exterior zinc coating on the inside face. Tándem Foam’s supplier is a company called Pochteca, whose Isocyanates are produced in China and the Polyol manufactured in Chile. The crew followed the SPF application by applying an acrylic Chilean-manufactured single-component paint, which is usually recommended for larger vessel hulls and perfect for this project due to the water pools.

The biggest challenge the crew faced was designing a safe environment and controlling the humidity inside the facility. They managed to accomplish this successful project in 15 working days, which included: surface prep, protection, SPF application, topcoat spraying, site cleaning, and the corresponding handover. Aguas Magallanes water treatment plant is very happy with the outcome following the SPF application. Their pools will no longer freeze due to the closed-cell SPF creating an airtight seal preventing the warm air from escaping during the area’s colder winter months and helping control the humidity for good adherence over the water pools.

Tándem Foam is a living testimony to the determination of a quality spray foam company flourishing in the remotest corners of the world. Providing essential SPF services with a distinctive touch of majestic Patagonia charm results in energy efficient buildings and another accolade to SPF and the positive results it helps create. As for Tándem Foam’s success, owner Galmier Morales said, “The progress of my company is thanks to the ongoing effort of entrepreneurship, enduring the highs and lows of the journey, and most importantly, the unwavering support of my loved ones, especially my wife, Katia Kusch. She has been a cornerstone at every stage of the process, particularly during the challenging times in the industry. Her steadfast support has been an invaluable boost both for me and the company.”  

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Galmier Morales, Founder of Tándem Foam
An exteriorr view of “Aguas Magallanes” treatment plant, Punta Arenas, Chile.

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