Author Archives: firwincorp

Finding the Right Insulation Material

Insulation blankets (also known as insulation covers or insulation jackets) come in a variety of material options, some of which are better suited to certain tasks and environments than others. You need to ensure that your chosen material can meet the demands of your specific application as efficiently as possible.

Our quick guide to the most common insulation materials can ensure that you have the information you need to make an informed decision regarding the right insulation solution for your particular situation, while saving you time and money down the line.

Material Advantages Disadvantages
General Insulation Materials
Fiberglass
  • Odorless
  • Doesn’t cause corrosion in metals
  • Temperature limit of 1200°F (649°C) leaves it poorly suited to higher temperature applications
CMS Wool
  • Temperature limit of 2192°F (1200°C)
  • Odorless
  • Slightly more expensive than fiberglass
Mineral Wool
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Excellent thermal resistance
  • Shares the same temperature limits as fiberglass
Aerogel
  • Top-of-the-line insulation material
  • Very expensive
Outer Covers
Aluminized Fiberglass or Mirrored Fiberglass
  • Maintains structural integrity at temperatures up to 1000°F (538°C)
  • Aluminum coating breaks down at 450°F (230°C)
Heavy Duty Silicone
  • Ideal for challenging outdoor applications where resistance to wear and tear is necessary
Stainless Steel Laminate Fiberglass
  • Perfect for applications that require high resistance to oil, chemical, and fire
  • Very expensive
Inner Liners
Stainless Steel Mesh 304
  • Temperature range up to 1200°F (649°C)
Stainless Steel Mesh 309,316
  • High temperature range of 1800°F (982°C)
Stainless Steel Mesh Foil with Mesh Cover
  • Same as 309 but offers fluid barrier
Stainless Steel Mesh Inconel
  • Top-of-the-line liner with high temperature range of 2300°F (1260°C)
  • Very expensive
Outer Cover & Inner Liner
Silicone Impregnated Fiberglass
  • Standard outer cover for most applications
  • Can serve as inner liner at temperatures greater than 500°F
PTFE Coated Fiberglass
  • Effective alternative to silicone in paint, food, and chemical applications thanks to broad chemical resistance
PVC
  • Low cost alternative to silicone and PTFE
Fiberglass HT
  • Non-coated fabric used as outer cover and inner liner when temperatures exceed 500°F (260°C)
Silica
  • Multi-use, non-coated fabric
  • Great in temperatures greater than 1300°F (982°C)
  • More expensive
Fastening Systems
Stainless Steel Lacing Wire with Rivets
  • Withstands high heat (1200°F/649°C)
  • More cost-effective than other options
Silicone Straps with Buckles/Rings
  • Can be quickly installed and removed
  • Has a lower temperature limit (500°F/260°C)
Kevlar Straps with Buckles/Rings
  • Greater durability and higher temperature limit (700°F/371°C) than silicone
  • More expensive
Stainless Steel Mesh Straps with Buckles/Rings
  • Rugged top-of-the-line system with a high temperature limit (1200°F/649°C)
  • More expensive
Springs
  • Easily assembled and removed
  • High temperature limit (1200°F/649°C)
Snaps
  • Very similar to springs
  • Poorly suited to curved surfaces and low volume applications
Velcro (polyester)
  • Easily applied and removed
  • Very low temperature limit of 200°F/93°C
Nomex Velcro
  • Similar to standard Velcro, but has a slightly higher heat threshold (280°F/138°C)
Stainless Steel Velcro hooks with Nomex Velcro Fasteners
  • ess sensitive to dirty environments than other Velcro products
  • Somewhat expensive

It can be a challenge to find the right insulation blanket, cover, or jacket. Fortunately, the experts at Firwin are ready to help you choose the correct insulation material or combination for your application. Read our free eBook to learn about everything you should look for in your insulation blanket supplier.

Why Choose Firwin?


With over 30 years of experience in the field, Firwin is proud to be a premier manufacturer of removable insulation blankets and permanent composite Hard Coat™ insulation solutions.

Our business was built on our commitment to provide our customers with the best insulation solution for their particular situation, and it’s from this strong foundation that we’ve emerged as a leading insulation solutions provider for companies across a diverse range of industries.

Firwin’s Key Capabilities

  • Custom insulation products — Firwin offers various permanent and removable thermal solutions. Our product inventory includes removable insulation blankets, Thermo-Wrap™ insulation covers, metal foil, and Hard Coat™ composites.
  • Insulation solutions for a variety of industries — Firwin creates reliable, practical products for many different industries, from power generation and mining to military and marine.
  • Diverse insulation applications — Our products are used for various applications, such as exhaust piping covers, silencer insulation, engine insulation, turbines, industrial solutions, and vehicle insulation.
  • Stocked insulation and safety products — Insulation material, tapes, sleeves, hose wraps, spray shields, and sound attenuation solutions are among our most popular stocked products.

Technical Capabilities

Firwin adheres to the highest standards of design and manufacturing, and we invest in the best technology available today. Here’s a breakdown of our key technical capabilities and resources:

  1. Team of skilled engineers
  2. Design processes using software programs including AutoCAD and SolidWorks
  3. Computer-controlled cutting

OEM Capabilities

We understand the unique needs of growing OEMs. When Firwin creates a custom insulation solution for a client, we ensure:

  • Designs are scalable for shifting manufacturing capacities
  • Detailed pricing matrices and catalog lists are kept on hand by our responsive sales team
  • Product support is at your fingertips

Case Studies

For a better illustration of how Firwin helps our customers, a couple of case studies are outlined below.

Ship Lagging Overhaul: A Marine Application

  • Problem — A fleet of drill ships was experiencing torn exhaust lagging, or insulation. The customer wanted Firwin to construct removable insulation blankets that would meet specific size and thickness specifications set by the customer. Rather than just produce blankets to a specific spec without knowledge of the components they were meant to cover, Firwin encouraged the customer to share more of their product details and allow Firwin’s engineers to determine the most appropriate blanket design that would best meet the customer’s needs; the customer agreed.
  • Solution — Firwin’s design team prepared two options for the customer, both elegant solutions that would cover both the exhaust flex and upper/lower flanges while meeting the customer’s specifications: 1) a single blanket that would cover the flex and the flanges (similar to the client’s original solution), and 2) a three-blanket solution, in which separate blankets would be made for the flex and flanges. The customer chose the three-blanket solution, as it would provide more flexibility and greater ease of use.

Heat Flow Analysis and Containment: A Non-OEM Application

  • Problem — A company needed to insulate a silencer located in their in-house testing room as they were concerned about its high heat generation within the limited space. To assess how much insulation would be required to properly protect the equipment, Firwin conducted a heat flow analysis.
  • Solution — Using new flow simulation software, a dramatic improvement over past technology, the Firwin team was able to use accurate data validation to inform the client’s insulation decision. Firwin’s heat flow analysis indicated that only the top of the silencer needed to be insulated to achieve the desired heat containment. The client moved forward with insulating the recommended portion of the equipment and successfully reduced the silencer’s heat generation, without needlessly spending money on blankets for the entire silencer body.

Find the Custom Solution You’ve Been Looking For

Beginning as a small family business, Firwin has grown to become an industry leader in custom insulation products for wide-ranging industrial applications across the world.

Removable Insulation Blanket - Exhaust Piping

Two Problems to Avoid When Sourcing Removable Insulation Blankets

With nearly four decades in insulation blanket manufacturing, Firwin has quite a bit of experience with helping customers find the best insulation blanket solutions for their applications. Part of that experience includes helping clients fix pre-existing insulation problems, or helping to prevent potential mishaps in their insulation sourcing journey. In this blog, we explore two of the most common problems that we’ve seen clients run into while attempting to order insulation blankets.

Problem #1: Ordering Improperly Sized Blankets

A common occurrence that Firwin has encountered over the years is clients unintentionally ordering insulation blankets at the wrong dimensions. It’s an easy mistake to make without the proper experience and prior knowledge that comes from working with a variety of insulation projects, and the errors usually stem from the same issue. Clients will often forget a key component that needs to be taken into consideration: the thickness of the insulation blanket.

This can be most aptly demonstrated via a numerical example:

Let’s say that a client has a pipe that needs to be insulated that measures 5” in diameter and 12” in length.

To determine the blanket dimensions, clients know they need the surface area:

Surface Area = Circumference * length of pipe

To Calculate Pipe Circumference:

Circumference = Pi * Diameter
Circumference = 3.14 * 5” (diameter of pipe)
Circumference = 15.71”

The Common Mistake: The client submits their blanket dimensions as Surface Area = 15.71” (pipe circumference) * 12” (pipe length)

What Did They Forget? The thickness of the insulation blanket increases the actual “pipe diameter”.

What are the Real Dimensions? To account for the insulation blanket, the pipe diameter should be increased by approximately 1” per end, making the actual calculations:

Circumference = Pi * Diameter
Circumference = 3.14 * 7” (diameter of pipe)
Circumference = 21.99”
Actual Blanket Surface Area = 21.99” (pipe circumference) * 12” (pipe length)

The purpose of the above example is to demonstrate the “unknowns” that clients will run into when trying to purchase insulation blankets strictly by dimension. Even if the client has previously ordered insulation blankets to specific dimensions in the past, we exercise caution when taking on orders where only blanket dimensions are provided. This is especially true if the client is replacing non-Firwin blankets. We might recommend using different insulation materials and thicknesses than the clients current blankets. Small variations in blanket material makeup can lead to discrepancies within the final required blanket dimension.

To avoid this problem, Firwin recommends that clients refrain from placing insulation orders with exact blanket measurements and specifications. Instead, it should be left to the insulation provider to design the blankets and determine the final required blanket measurements. Allow the insulation provider to work with you to learn more about the project, and to determine exactly what you are trying to achieve with your insulation blankets. With a full understanding of the industry you are working within, and the environmental factors the blankets will be exposed to, the provider can make an educated decision on the materials required. From there, it can be a seamless process of the insulation provider providing the client with the exact dimensions and end product they need, without any mismeasurement problems occurring.

Problem #2: Not Receiving the Best Insulation Solution for Your Project

Another problem that Firwin has observed is clients potentially missing out on cost-effective insulation blanket solutions for their projects.

Similar to our recommendations to the first problem, we always advise that the client provide the insulation manufacturer with as many details as possible about the application that is being insulated. It’s possible that the blanket material makeup that a client is used to working with can be improved to create a stronger, more durable, or even cheaper final solution. Clients may simply be unaware of what options are available when it comes to insulating for their specific industry. By submitting strict blanket material requirements, without leaving room for assessment and consultation, the insulation manufacturer is unable to advise the customer and prevent inefficiencies in the blanket design.

To avoid running into this problem, we encourage all end users to send over photos, dimensions of the parts that need to be insulated, and as many details as possible about the environment and end-goal. This allows for the insulation blanket supplier to fully assess all of the factors impacting the component, and to come up with the most viable insulation options for the project. When clients allow the insulation providers to operate outside of the confines very specific blanket material makeup, the insulation experts are given the opportunity to play around with different materials, different shapes, and different overall outcomes, ultimately providing the best, and most elegant insulation solution.

Learn More

For more information, download our eBook on “Choosing the Right Insulation Supplier.” This step-by-step, comprehensive guide is designed to help you when choosing your next insulation supplier.

 

Firwin FireBlanket 2000 Can Take the Heat: It’s Proven to Withstand Temperatures as High as 2000-Degrees-Fahrenheit!

In our last blog post, we reviewed how the Firwin FireBlanket 2000 protects industrial safety valves and actuators.
We explained how a removable insulation blanket designed to protect safety valves is different from the standard insulation blankets you’ll find in industrial settings. In this blog post, we’ll talk more about the design of this type of fire blanket and explain how strong and durable it is (and why it needs to be this way!).

The Firwin FireBlanket 2000 is designed to keep the heat and fire away from the part. Typically, removable insulation blankets are composed of three layers:

1. the inner surface
2. the insulation material that rests on the inner surface
3. the outer protective cover.

In most cases, the removable insulation blanket’s inner surface is the “hot face” that comes in direct contact with the hot component. However, the Firwin FireBlanket 2000’s outer protective cover is the “hot face” and it needs to withstand extremely high temperatures. The FireBlanket is working “in reverse,” in layman’s terms: The outer surface and insulation are protecting the part from the heat, and the outer protective cover needs to withstand the very high heat of a fire.

There are also other variables that come into play in a fire safety situation at an industrial plant, and time is a critical factor. The valve or actuator being protected by the FireBlanket will need to function and operate properly to allow enough time for the operator to shut down a line. In situations like this, a FireBlanket’s outer cover may deteriorate too quickly if it’s not manufactured to meet certain fire standards. It’s also important to install the FireBlanket so that the component is properly protected – an improperly installed FireBlanket could impede the blanket’s ability to protect the component in case of fire.

The Firwin FireBlanket 2000 easily passed the UL rapid rise fire standard test (UL1709) where it was placed in a special compartment and blasted with 2000-degrees-Fahrenheit temperatures for 30 minutes. The fire blanket – including its outer protective – remained fully intact throughout the test, with no signs of deterioration at all. This proves that the Firwin FireBlanket 2000 can definitely take the heat!

A Fire Blanket Designed to Protect Industrial Safety Valves is Definitely Worth the Investment

You’ve probably heard about fire blankets that are designed to protect people in their homes or in their workplaces. These types of fire blankets are commonly used to extinguish and smother fires or as portable safety devices to wrap around people as they run for safety. But, have you heard about fire blankets that are designed to protect industrial safety valves and equipment?

Fire blankets designed to protect industrial safety valves are a type of insulation blanket, but they differ from standard insulation blankets used in industrial settings. Standard blankets are meant to insulate a part to maintain a high level of heat inside the part, or to keep heat away from the outside environment. For instance, in many industries, machine and equipment parts must be kept at the right temperature for the part to function properly; conversely, heat must be contained and kept away from the surrounding area, be it for personnel protection or protecting nearby heat sensitive components. However, fire blankets designed to go over a part – typically a safety-related part, such as a gate valve or an actuator – are designed to keep the heat and fire away from the part. These types of fire blankets are needed in many industries, including the oil and gas industry.

A fire blanket that protects a valve, an actuator or another part from fire and heat is a critical industrial safety tool. Gate valves and actuators function as safety mechanisms in industrial settings. In the event of any type of fire, including chemical fires, these actuators perform a safety shutdown to reduce fire spread and prevent or minimize disaster. The fire blanket is designed to go over a valve or part to protect its covering long enough for safety procedures to function properly. Designed to withstand a fire for up to 30 minutes, this allows enough time for an operator to actuate the safety function on a line and to perform a shutdown to keep the fire under control and to minimize potential damage.

The fire blanket we offer at Firwin works to protect industrial valves and actuators so that they can do their job in a critical safety situation, and they’re proven to work: Our fire blanket for industrial safety valves and parts was tested in a UL rapid rise fire standard test (UL1709) where it was placed in a special compartment and blasted with 2000-degrees-Fahrenheit temperatures for 30 minutes. The fire blanket remained intact throughout the test.

A fire blanket designed to protect industrial safety valves and equipment is definitely worth the investment! To learn more about the fire blanket, read the article Firwin FireBlanket 2000 in our e-newsletter.

Standard vs. “Donut” Flange Covers: The Differences and the Advantages

You may be aware that it’s important to have a covering for flanges—and it’s especially important that this covering be high quality and durable.
But did you know that there’s more than one kind of flange cover? In fact, we at Firwin offer two basic flange cover options: our standard cover, and our “donut” cover. Both are made of the highest quality materials and are reliable and effective, but they differ in several ways.
Let’s examine both, and what makes each unique and beneficial.
Standard Flange Covers
Our standard flange covers are one-piece insulation blankets that cover the flange, wrapping around it and closing through the use of draw strings—which compress the blanket at the edges, pulling it tightly around the flange.
This design allows for flexibility, so that the blanket will cover the flange even if the actual dimensions differ slightly from the assumed ones. This also means that in the case of an adjacent existing flange that restricts the amount of exposed pipe around which the cover is being placed, installation is still possible.
While flexibility and quality are always assured, one disadvantage is that installation can be a bit tricky for someone who isn’t familiar with insulation blanket installation, and can lead to an uneven appearance.
“Donut” Flange Covers
Alternatively, our donut flange covers consist of three parts—the main body cover and two end pieces—and this design allows for easier installation than our standard cover, and a smoother look. For these reasons, the donut flange covers are preferable in certain circumstances, particularly when the aesthetics are especially important and the user prefers a more customized appearance.
However, because of the extra material and design engineering, donut flange covers are more expensive than standard ones. Those who choose these covers are paying a premium for easier installation and a more seamless, smoother look.
Either way, whichever cover you choose, you can rest assured that the design and material quality will never be compromised. Like all of our products, both styles of flange covers are the best of their kind, and deliver exceptional quality every time.
Of course, if you have any questions or would like to know more about which is best for your needs, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.

Stopping Noise Pollution with Firwin

Often times when we think of noise pollution, a loud car stereo or perhaps a dog barking might come to mind. However, in the industrial world, noise or sound is not just a nuisance, it can actually be dangerous.

According to the NIDCD, noise-related deafness is a 100% preventable disorder. Using earplugs certainly helps, but the best way to avoid damage is to remove the sound from the environment. At Firwin, we understand how critical sound absorption and attenuation is in industrial settings, especially when it comes to diesel-powered equipment.

We bring up diesel-powered equipment because it can be found in a wide variety of industries. These machines can be extremely loud, especially when used in enclosed spaces. OSHA states that 85dBs is a tolerable noise level; the average diesel engine room can reach a deafening 120dBs, which is the same as a fireworks display. This level of noise pollution is dangerous for workers and the public.

The best way to combat noise pollution is to use panels, curtains, absorbers, and blankets. The experts at Firwin will often combine sound absorption technologies with our insulation. Firwin also has a selection of sound attenuation products like our AcoustiGuard™ Quilted Barrier/Absorber Curtain Panels and AcoustiGuard™ Pipe/Duct Lagging, among others. All of these sound attenuation products can help reduce levels of noise pollution in almost any situation, thus keeping you and your workforce safer.

While there are many factors to consider when choosing proper sound attenuation, including the thickness of the material, space around the equipment, and proper paneling, we understand the importance of limiting noise pollution and have the products to fit your specific application.

Increasing Engine Efficiency with Insulation Blankets

Many of today’s modern engines have two chargers that help to improve engine efficiency, and for which insulation blankets have an important role to play—turbochargers and charge-air coolers.

To understand how insulation can help you get the best performance from your engine, you first need to know how turbochargers work. The function of a turbocharger is to increase the mass of air that enters the engine, which leads to a greater air/fuel mix and boosts the horsepower. This is achieved by an internal turbine and corresponding compressor. The turbine, which can spin at speeds over 200,000 rpm, drives a compressor, which increases the amount of air entering an engine’s cylinders. Because the turbocharger’s turbine is powered by the engine’s own exhaust and because of the rapid rpms, turbochargers run at extremely hot temperatures.

The extreme heat generated by turbochargers can stress sensitive engine parts in the piston and cylinder area, and have a detrimental effect on surrounding engine components and employee safety.

Unlike turbochargers, charge air coolers run cold. Charge air coolers work to cool the compressed air that leaves the compressor before the air enters the engine. The increased density of the colder air means that more air can fit into the engine, for greater power. Charge air coolers thus improve the efficiency of the turbocharger and engine by allowing a greater mass of air to enter the engine at one time.

Insulation blankets are used in conjunction with both turbochargers and charge air coolers. For turbochargers, the blankets keep the heat from escaping the turbochargers and from entering the surrounding engine components. For charge air coolers, insulation blankets are found on the hot piping that leads from the turbocharger to the cooler, in order to protect personnel who might be in the area.

To learn more about how Firwin’s insulation blankets can improve the efficiency of your engine, please visit our website or contact us today!

Visit our new site!

In case you haven’t noticed already, Firwin has a newly designed website for customers in the petrochemical, chemical, and oil & gas industries. The new site, www.firwinthermowrap.com, sports an updated look and feel, while keeping the navigation and content similar to our main site. In redesigning this online platform of our capabilities, products, and applications, we closely considered our customer’s needs. We’ve catered to audiences that are both familiar and unfamiliar with our company by streamlining the navigation, adding useful images, and highlighting our most popular products.

The first things that’ll catch your eye are the content buckets on the home page. The content buckets compartmentalize chunks of information that are specific to a certain topic. Experienced users, for example, will be able to access information about our products quickly by scanning the links under the list of Products & Services. Others that are newer to Firwin can read about our past successes by clicking on our various case studies. The new site prominently places a lot of important information for customers both new and old right on the home page.

We’ve also added quite a number of high resolution photos to the site, in a photo gallery. These pictures not only serve to educate new customers about our Thermowrap product line, but also may inspire experienced professionals with new solutions to equipment issues. You can view our Thermowrap products at work in a variety of different applications. One notable image in our photo gallery shows our product installed around a gate valve with glycol tracing, a complex piece of equipment with many bends and components. The images in our gallery may help you visualize how your next insulation project might look upon completion.

Overall, we’re focusing this new site on our Thermowrap product line of removable insulation covers. We hope that the site serves our customers in the petrochemical, oil & gas industries well and is a useful resource for anyone looking for insulation covers. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a look at our new site today!

Stop the Deep Freeze with Firwin

Wintertime, especially north of the border, means one thing: cold weather. Every year at this time, many of our industrial customers want to know if Firwin offers an insulation product that can keep piping and components from freezing. If you’ve ever owned a house, you know that frozen pipes can lead to disaster; now, just imagine if you are in charge of millions of dollars of industrial equipment under the same conditions.

At Firwin, we recognized that many of our customers operating in colder climates needed to find a way to both retain and create heat to keep their equipment safe and effective.  After a number of tests and prototypes, our R&D department came up with the perfect solution, the ‘pizza blanket’. Modeled after the insulated satchels pizza delivery people use to keep your food warm during transit, our pizza blanket introduces heat through a series of electric coils in order to prevent equipment from freezing up in harsh conditions. Of course, our pizza blankets are more than just heating pads; they also have all the properties of standard removable insulation blankets, including the ability to retain and contain heat. The combination of heating elements and insulation blankets means that our customers who operate in the harshest cold-weather conditions can be sure their facilities will constantly run at peak performance. 

So, if you’re facing a long cold winter and you need to know that your equipment won’t freeze up, contact Firwin today and let us tell you more about our innovative and cost-saving pizza blankets.