Stone wool manufacturer ROXUL hosted approximately 10 architects and a handful of press to a tour and educational gathering at its Marshall County, Miss., facility. The event, which several of the manufacturer’s teams from the U.S. and Canada attended, made the trek down south to play hosts to a handful of architects and AIA members to educate them about the benefits and attributes of stone wool and more.

This proves good timing for ROXUL because there has been important and frequent news to surface from the company. Most directly, as of this upcoming New Year’s Day, the company will rebrand itself under the ROCKWOOL name. This will apply to all segments of ROXUL’s North American insulation business—residential, commercial, roofing, OEM (core solutions) and technical insulation—as well as all product lines.

Another important news brief is that its sister company, Rockfon, which has recently made a strong move with its brand of ceiling panels and tiles to North America, has completed its facility that is now fully operational and shares space on the ROXUL campus in Marshall County. Collectively, both plants take up 110 acres of space, and more than 600,000 square feet.

No doubt, The ROCKWOOL Group, which more or less is the evolution of a company founded approximately 100 years ago in Denmark, has proactively shown its ambition to be a major player by providing its insulation and ceiling solutions based around the benefits of stone wool. This thirst is showcased by its increasing presence of the ROXUL brand, the introduction of Rockfon in North America, the subsequent acquisition of decorative ceilings manufacturer Chicago Metallic and now a strong employer of 1,000 with five facilities in Canada and the United States.

To prove its ambition as an important provider of insulation and ceiling lines, a new facility broke ground this summer in West Virginia. The facility will eventually produce and market under the ROCKWOOL brand extending and strengthening the company’s footprint further on North American soil.

“This … transition marks the next step in our efforts to create a strong global brand,” said ROCKWOOL Group CEO Jens Birgersson. “The North American market continues to grow in importance and the rebranding will strengthen our ability to meet customer requirements while … addressing global concerns about energy consumption, water shortages and the need for safer, more resilient cities.”

During the tour and time with its audience, ROXUL hosted a roundtable that asked specific questions about its products, how architects spec materials, how BIM influences design models, roles the manufacturer(s) can play in the OEM markets, and more. Architects were eager to remark on the state of online and app tools, pros and cons of resources found online and asked many questions about the manufacturing of stone wool. Both architects and the manufacturers expressed the challenges of collecting such vast information on conducting case studies, how to list product information and other topics.

One way of demonstrating how the manufacturer’s products function in regards to fire resistance was a demonstration that it held in its parking structure in Marshall County. By building a mock-up model utilizing its products, a box of chocolates was set in a “bird house” made from ROXUL’s material and then, under the supervision of Cayce, Miss.’s fire department, a pyre was set ablaze to demonstrate a time lapse of how long it took the chocolate to melt. In around five minutes, the kindling was extinguished to produce a choice temperate selection of goodies that weren’t melted but in intact from the Russell Stover box. A dramatic demonstration to prove the insulation’s worth.

After the exhibit, the Cayce fire marshall stated that if more products like this were installed in residential properties in the area, that would buy the fire fighters an additional two minutes of time that could save lives—a major advantage when considering that the department has an average of eight minutes to arrive to burning structures.

When all is said and done, it can’t be denied that the ROCKWOOL Group—since its emergence into the North American market—certainly wants to establish itself as not just an important manufacturer of quality material but a credible one. 

Memphis Smokes

Apart from a strong focus on its plant and presence in the Mississippi plants for both ROXUL and Rockfon, its clear employees also want to remind its customers and guests of the huge impact and role that its locale of the impact that rhythm and blues, rock and roll and pop has had on the world. And it’s not afraid to show you.

Should one be a guest of the ROCKWOOL Group in the Memphis area, one can expect how ecumenical the company can be in regards to the music culture that has evolved and sustains to this day from this particular region of the world, especially from the 1950s. For this particular trip, the architects and press and were lodged in the historic Peabody Hotel. For any music historian, this hotel is where Sam Phillips, founder of Sun Records, began his profession as an engineer for the radio station which was housed in the basement of the hotel. He produced some of the most important records of the blues, country and rock and roll’s infancy—from B.B. King, to Elvis Presley, to Howlin’ Wolf, to Jerry Lee Lewis, and then Stax Records. The ROCKWOOL Group is happy to share this history with any of its guests, as it realizes how this area has cultivated and developed these artists and what it means to the community in the Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas areas.