Insulation Industry Spotlight: Graco 09 November 2023


Putting the spray in the spray foam industry.  


Founded as a ‘start up’ by a pair of brothers in 1920’s Minneapolis, Graco originally sold an invention for getting grease out of drums in freezing weather.  

The industrial equipment division of Graco was founded during World War II, when like many companies, they repurposed their production capacity to help the war effort.  

Fast forward to today, and Graco is a billion-dollar company that designs and manufactures fluid handling products and solutions for industries around the world. Among these solutions is a Reactor Foam Proportioner for applying two component foams – including for spray foam insulation.  

“These foams come in two parts, which, when mixed – expand or react within seconds,” explains Derek Wardrobe, Country Manager for Graco Australia & New Zealand. “This is why you need specialised equipment for the application of spray foam.” 

“The mixing ratio needs to be precise, and the mix itself needs to happen at the right moment. Successful spray foam applicators need the right equipment – and not all equipment is made equal,” he adds.  

Making efficient, user-friendly equipment can improve the lives and businesses of applicators. 

“We work across mining, automotive, food and beverage, general industrial and insulation industries, and find skill shortages cutting right through all of them,” Derek says. “Technology like ours helps  contractors reduce downtime and get the job done faster.” 

“There  is a limited number of spray foam applicators in Australia right now – so kids are probably not finishing high school with the ambition to do this job,” he jokes.  

“But becoming a spray foam applicator is actually a very good opportunity in a growing industry.”  

Public awareness about the value of insulation is increasing and interest in the product is on the rise, driven by those looking to unlock long term health and energy bill savings.  

In addition to hoping to see more installers enter the industry to service demand, Derek also notes the importance of good training and certification opportunities.  

“More certification and certified applicators can bring greater trust to the industry and help ensure the right checks and balances are in place,” he explains.  

The benefits of spray foam also extend beyond insulation.  

“Skilled applicators can use spray foam to level floors, fill cracks and even lift and underpin concrete. There are also industrial and aerospace applications,” Derek says.  

With a team of over 28 in Australia and relationships with a range of specialised distributors to sell and service their products, Derek says Graco is going from strength to strength.    

“We are going to continue to invest in this market, this industry, and this product. We see a big future for spray foam here, and all around the world.”