Process control engineer John Bacon thought it took too long to reapply piping insulation after pipes were repaired. His solution? FoamPak, an insulating foam that hardens to form and can be popped off and on in seconds. Produced by Field Foam, in Pittsburgh, it was named a product of the year by readers of Plant Engineering. One market: valve and pump makers, who bundle it with their products.

-- Leslie Brokaw