Across nearly 15 years of meeting and exceeding the expectations of clients throughout North America, FSorb has cultivated a reputation for excellence and innovation and has become an esteemed industry leader in acoustic design. Yet, it began with the vision of a commercial acoustics contractor who had worked with various acoustic products on the market for more than 25 years. FSorb founder Doug Bixel had seen what worked well and what could be improved and wanted to create a product with the potential to supersede all else.
As a builder with decades of experience, Doug Bixel had installed practically every other acoustic product on the market and dealt with warranty issues, challenges with installation, and end-user complaints. His familiarity with all of the options, from fabric-wrapped panels to wood fiber or fiberglass-based products, allowed him to understand where there was room for improvement, and to envision a product that could be superior to the existing options while also being environmentally friendly. He became excited about the idea of creating a recycled product that could be sold off the shelf in a hardware store, just like 4’x8’ sheets of drywall or plywood.
It’s from that foundation and desire that FSorb was born. However, the story of FSorb is more than a simple story of best-in-class. FSorb was also created in a way that helps solve the problem of overwhelming plastic waste and helps improve how humans live on, move through, and interact with the environment. It’s the story of a passion that fuels the desire for change, and the desire to help bring forth a superior product that is durable, less expensive, environmentally responsible, long-lasting, and easy to install.
This combination was the fuel that drove founder, Doug Bixel, to create the pioneering product lines of FSorb. His vision has been to create an amazing selection of colors, solid all the way through, with a class A fire rating that is lightweight and easy to clean and handle during the construction process.
The Driver of Invention
Like all great innovations, FSorb’s products were born of necessity, as Bixel sought to discover a better solution than the standard itchy fiberglass panels for a sound treatment project he was working on. With a project that was already over budget, Bixel needed something that was both more affordable and better performing than traditional materials. So he rolled out the new extruded recycled polyester product he had been experimenting with. He dubbed the products “FSorb,” short for “frequency absorption,” and at that moment, Bixel gave rise to a new era in acoustic design.
Doug Bixel’s penchant for innovation and his passionate commitment to sustainable design led him to engineer recycled materials that resulted in a much better product. Historically, acoustic solutions have been manufactured largely from fiberglass, wood, cotton, or paper-based products, all with varying environmental impacts (1).
FSorb’s products, on the other hand, are made not from (1) traditional material, extruded, recycled polyester, a type of recycled plastic formed and shaped by heat. This breakthrough in materials manufacturing has transformed acoustic design, enabling FSorb to introduce a new generation of acoustic solutions offering great value. Unlike the leading acoustic solutions on the market, FSorb’s customizable acoustic panels, baffles, sound clouds, and exterior products are antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, fire-resistant, highly durable, and long-lasting.
Enthusiasm for innovation has also led to several unique and patented installation methods, reducing the labor and complexity of a typical install by using innovative ways to snap into existing metal ceiling grids.
Breaking the Stranglehold
The attributes of FSorb’s trademark extruded recycled polyesters don’t end with the added performance value of FSorb’s innovative materials. The heart of FSorb’s story, the core of its love of the environment, can be found in the ecological impacts of the use of recycled plastics in the manufacturing of its long-lived acoustic solutions.
The simple reality is that the Earth is choking to death on its plastic waste. It’s estimated that nearly 400 million metric tons of new plastic are produced every year, with up to 50% of that material created for single-use products. Given that common plastics typically take 450 - 1000 years to decompose, it means that every year we are producing far more plastic waste than our environment can accommodate. Plastics are found not only in the obvious plastic items but are also hidden in many others, such as clothing, bedding, mattresses, and furniture. Hundreds of millions of tons of new plastic are produced every year, of which an estimated 14 million tons end up in the Earth’s oceans, comprising more than 80% of marine debris.
A Simple Plan
At first glance, it might seem that acoustic design and plastics would have relatively little in common. However, Bixel’s ingenuity made the connection, and through it, he found a tremendous opportunity not only to improve an industry but also to begin the painstaking and precious work of healing our environment.
FSorb’s extruded recycled polyesters come from many forms of plastic, but there’s one source that far outpaces the rest: single-use water bottles. That’s important because plastic water bottles make up an immense proportion of the plastic waste generated every year. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 plastic water bottles are opened every second in the United States alone and that more than 60 million plastic water bottles will end up in US landfills every year.
As dire as these statistics are, there’s light on the horizon, and it comes in the guise of a form of recyclable plastic known as PET (polyethylene terephthalate). This is a remarkably clear, strong, and lightweight form of plastic that is also 100% recyclable, and the uses of PET plastics are seemingly infinite. From mattresses to furniture to tote bags to clothing and bedding, recycled PET is making its way into every area of the home, workplace, and community.
That includes FSorb acoustic solutions. With nearly 80% of all plastic water bottles now being manufactured from PET plastic, that means that there is no dearth of recycled materials waiting to be transformed into an FSorb panel, tile, cloud, or baffle. For every PET plastic water bottle that makes its way into an FSorb customized acoustic solution, there is one less bottle smothering our landfills, choking our rivers, or clogging our oceans.
The Story Continues
Today, nearly 15 years after it began, FSorb’s story of innovation, passion, and desire continues. FSorb is still transforming the industry, delivering excellence for its clients and compassion for the environment. It is changing the face of acoustic design and eco-friendly manufacturing. It’s revolutionizing the ways architects, engineers, and environmental designers conceptualize and create our built environment.
FSorb’s story, indeed, continues, and public and private organizations worldwide are contributing their own chapter. From Amazon to Delta, FSorb delivers excellence to some of the world’s most prestigious enterprises, while treating every client, large or small, as their first and only priority. If you are ready to contribute your own story of success to the FSorb epic, reach out to your local FSorb representative today.
At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.
M Suraj, Akram Khan, 2015, Environmental Impact of Paper Industry, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENGINEERING RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY (IJERT) ISNCESR – 2015 (Volume 3 – Issue 20)