Author Archives: firwincorp

Firwin at Power-Gen International 2012

Everyone at Firwin is excited about attending and exhibiting at PowerGen International 2012, December 11-13, in beautiful Orlando, FL.  The annual Power-Gen International Show is a can’t miss gathering for anyone who needs to keep up with the trends, technologies, and issues facing the power generation sector.  The event has been around for 24 years, and it never fails to impress. This year they are expecting 20,000 attendees from 92 different countries and over 1,200 exhibitors.

Firwin will be front and center in the EGSA (Electrical Generating Systems Association) pavilion at Booth 1844. As always, we will be displaying our wide range of innovative insulation blankets, covers, and insulation jackets that are such a big part of the power generation industry. We are especially excited about highlighting our removable insulation blankets that are custom tailored for SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) applications.  Our design team is proud of their work in this difficult and complex specialty and can’t wait to show off how our blankets work perfectly with larger SCR systems (we can show you how our blankets will fit around the complex geometries of your systems!).  We will also be displaying our Hard Coat™ permanent insulation products.

Understanding how essential it is for the power generation industry to insulate engine and exhaust components, protect personnel, lower ambient heat, maintain exhaust heat, and protect nearby components, we are ready to showcase our long-term expertise and industry-appropriate products.

Some of the other highlights of PowerGen 2012 that you shouldn’t miss include:

  • A great line up of featured speakers including Randy Zwirn (Pres. & CEO of Siemens Energy) and Jon Wellinghoff (Chairman, FERC).
  • The Annual Awards Gala.
  • Tours of Polk Power Station, Cane Island Power Park, and the Orange Country Convention Center PV Solar Installation.
  •  An incredible array of different panels and discussions including talks on transforming the U.S. Power Industry, and what the 2012 Election means to the future of the industry.

If you want to learn more about this exciting show, you can visit the Power-Gen International website or you can always drop us a line and we’ll be glad to tell you all we know. Hope to see you in Orlando!

Save Energy and Keep Workers Safe with Firwin

At Firwin, we are proud of our work with the plastics industry. As with all of our customers, the plastic extrusion and injection molding industry is extremely concerned with both energy savings and worker safety. Luckily, Firwin offers a wide array of removable insulation blankets that can help with these two pervasive problems.

Firwin custom manufactures insulation blankets that are perfect for some of the most important parts of the plastic forming process, including covers for injection-molder barrel heaters, and preheat and service throw insulation covers.  If you have ever had any experience with a barrel heater, you know that they are just loaded with pipes, electrical connections, and thermocouples. This high level of complexity makes covering them difficult. If not done correctly the heater will take more energy to operate, and you risk exposing your workers to dangerously hot parts.

So how exactly do our removable insulation blankets save energy and keep your workers safe? Here are some examples:

  • Barrel heaters are switched on and off constantly. By covering them in the proper insulation, the units will retain heat when off, and take less energy to reach operating temperature when restarted.  One of our clients reports that thanks to Firwin’s removable insulation blankets, they save 35% on energy input and a 25% reduction in start-up time!
  • Another customer was concerned because they had a preheat station located next to a passage door. They wanted the benefits of maintaining an optimal level of heat, all while protecting their workers from accidental contact in this heavily trafficked area. Once again, Firwin’s removable insulation was the perfect solution.

If you are looking to make your injection-molded barrel heaters both energy efficient and safe, please visit our website or contact Firwin today.

Underground Mining Safety and Firwin

There is no question that underground mining is a challenging and risky occupation. Over the past 12 years, the month of October has been the deadliest month for metal and nonmetal mining operations in the United States. It is with this unfortunate stat in mind that we wanted to talk about the role of insulation in underground mine safety of diesel-powered equipment.

Diesel accounts for 72% of the energy used by the mining sector. This dominate fuel source comes with some unique challenges. The exhaust given off by diesel engines can get extremely hot, and with workspace at a premium underground, this can get dangerous for miners. Additionally, the high ambient heat given off by these non-insulated engines can worsen an already uncomfortable environment.

By blanketing exposed engine and exhaust components, you immediately reduce ambient heat; plus, these same insulation blankets shield workers from burns. It’s a win-win and it doesn’t take a great deal of effort.

Of course, for all of this to work effectively, you need to choose the right insulation blanket partner. This is where Firwin can help. Thanks to their unique stainless steel inner liner and reinforced outer cover, our MineWrap™ insulation blankets are perfect for the rigors of underground mining.

If you want to raise the level of safety in your underground mining operation, the best place to start is insulating your diesel components, and the best place for insulation blankets is Firwin.

How to Beat Coal Pollution

Do you work in the coal industry? Coal pollution has been a rampant topic in the news recently, causing for much debate and conversation, especially when it comes to potential health risks associated with coal fired power plants.
What about the actual mining of the coal itself? In terms of mining, coal, like other other mined products, makes extensive use of diesel and gas powered equipment to extract the coal from the ground.  The exhaust from this equipment can contain pollutants and carcinogens, which must be captured prior to release, so that only clean air or steam is let out.
Various after-treatment systems, such as catalysts, particulate filters, and SCRs (a type of catalyst) are used to treat the exhaust before it is released into the air.  These after-treatment systems often require high exhaust temperatures to function optimally and burn off the pollutants. Our insulation blankets, insulation jackets, and insulation covers work in conjunction with these after-treatment systems. Specifically, the blankets are used to insulate the catalyst / SCR, as well as the exhaust piping leading into it. Asides from the blankets protecting the personnel who might be in close proximity to the exhaust, and lowering the ambient temperature in the area around the equipment, the insulation blankets and jackets maintain the exhaust temperatures at their highest level so that the after-treatment systems work optimally. The further the exhaust gas has to travel from the engine to the catalyst / SCR, the more heat it can lose on the way. Insulating the after-treatment system and the exhaust that leads into it maintains the exhaust temperature and can be crucial in helping the after-treatment system capture the pollutants before they can be released into the air. Let our insulation blankets, jackets, and covers help you beat pollution!

Firwin Goes Offshore

The narrow confines of the engine rooms need to be kept cool. 
Recently our colleague Brett took a trip to Wisconsin to work on a power generation application for offshore vessels. The challenge was this: make vessels seaworthy by getting them their DNV certification. To become certified, DNV (Det Norske Veritas) tests to make sure your maritime vessel meets up to its long list of exacting rules and standards. Once you have been classified as good risk, then you can be insured and begin operating.
In the case of our Wisconsin client,  Brett needed to come up with a solution to make sure that the high-temp engines that power these marine applications didn’t leak excessive heat into the engine room, thus creating a hazard for the crew and the equipment due to the narrow confines.
In order to do so, Brett used his expertise and Firwin’s innovative selection of insulation jackets, covers, and shielding to design a very specific application for our customer. We have learned from years of testing and study that heat loss from things like engine exhausts, piping, silencers, and steam piping systems can be dramatically reduced with insulation. After installing and testing the system, our clients were able to get their DNV certification and are now open for business. Brett and Firwin are proud of another job well done!

Absolute Zero in Chile

Recently, our company president, Paul Herman, took a trip down to one of our newest and most exciting markets, Chile. While there, Paul met with Firwin’s Chilean distributor, in order to continue to develop durable, high quality removable insulation blankets, covers, and jackets, and insulation solutions.

At Firwin, every project we work on is our most important. However, some are more difficult than others. On his trip, Paul faced one of the biggest challenges in the insulation blanket world: cryogenics.

Cryogenics is the study of how matter behaves at very low temperatures, all the way down to almost absolute zero (-459.67°F). In the industrial realm, cryogenics is used to create gases – nitrogen, oxygen, and helium – at these subzero temperatures. As you might imagine, the pipes that carry these gases are, to say the least, on the cold side. In fact, they get so cold that they become serious workplace hazards. Touching them can result in a worker becoming stuck, which can lead to serious medical issues.  Just for clarification, this isn’t the same as when a kid gets his tongue stuck to a cold flag pole— it’s much more severe and puts workers’ health at real risk. Another problem is ice build-up, which occurs because of the temperature difference between the gases in the pipe and the air in the facility. Because of this, the pipes cannot be outfitted with permanent insulation.

Firwin hopes to be able to solve these problems with specially designed removable insulation that would act as an ice barrier, protect personnel from cold pipes, and allow maintenance workers to remove and replace the insulation to access valves.

Stay tuned for blog updates about the progress of this unique project. . .

LFP™ Chemical Spray Shields

We all know how annoying it is when the pipes under your bathroom sink spring a leak: ruined toiletries, soaked towels, and a big bill from the plumber.  Now imagine if you owned a piping system that didn’t carry water to the sink, but corrosive fluids under extremely high pressure. When these systems leak, you have to worry about more than just buying a new hairdryer.  
At Firwin, we provide our customers with custom manufactured chemical spray shields that offer innovative spray and leak containment from accidental gasket ruptures. Unlike our competitors, our LFP™ Chemical Spray Shields are made of a non-porous, all PTFE material that guarantees performance against harmful spray-out and leakage no matter the severity or duration of chemical exposure. Our LFP™ shields can handle temperatures from -100F° to 550°F. In addition, they can be used in almost any industrial setting, including pharmaceutical, gas and oil, offshore, marine, chemical processing, FDA approved, cryogenic, and clean room applications. Just in case that isn’t impressive enough, LFP™ also won the 1995 DuPont Plunket Award and Chemical processing’s Vaaler Award. 
 With all the benefits of our LFP™ Chemical Spray Shields, it should come as no shock that a multi-national gas company headquartered in the Middle East recently approached Firwin to help them complete a new processing plant.  The customer ordered almost 700 custom spray shields in a wide variety of sizes for use throughout their plant.  Over a period of six months, we worked hand in hand with them to make sure that every one of our spray shield fit and functioned perfectly. 
This success story is a perfect example of how Firwin is able to combine outstanding and innovative technology with old fashion, high quality customer service.  If you want to learn more about our LFP™ Chemical Spray Shield visit our website, or contact us today!

Firwin Goes Way out West

Western Canada, which includes major population centers like Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, has always played a big role in the global energy industry.  The region is one of the world’s largest exporters of energy resources and contains 13% of the world’s oil reserves, and 8% of the uranium reserves. However, in recent years, the rush to mine and drill almost every corner of the region has been off the charts.  There are even 12 working oil wells within Calgary’s (population 1,200,000) city limits!
At Firwin, we have been making a big effort to expand our business into western Canada.  Thanks to our amazing sales staff and quality insulation jackets, heat shields, and insulation covers, our expansion has been going very well.  In fact, we are in the middle of delivering a large order of insulation covers to a massive oil processing plant in the heart of Western Canada. The 3000 insulation covers are being used to cover some very sensitive and crucial industrial valves at the plant. Due to the region’s often extreme and unpredictable weather, keeping flanges, flow meters, and other instrumentation properly covered is of the utmost importance. Monitoring and maintaining correct line temperatures, raises the level of worker and equipment safety and productivity.  One of the best ways to accomplish this daunting task is by using proper insulation covers.
All Firwin insulation covers and blankets are manufactured in ISO 9001:2008 certified facilities and provide excellent heat retention and protection from environmental conditions such as heat, cold, and chemicals. On top of all of these benefits, our blankets allow for quick and efficient removal and re-installation so downtime is limited and your valves and flanges stay protected longer.
At Firwin, we are excited about increasing our footprint in western Canada, and spreading our unique combination of safety, cost-efficiency, and unmatched service and quality.

How to Install Firwin Removable Blankets

Finding the perfect insulation blanket is only half of the battle. If you choose the experts at Firwin to then you are off to a great start! However, without proper installation, even the highest quality insulation jackets, insulation covers, and heat shields won’t work properly and can give you a false sense of security.
To ensure your removable insulation functions properly and provides optimal heat reduction, you need to follow some important steps.
Before you begin installing our removable insulation blankets on your straight pipes, you first need a few tools:
•Stainless steel lacing wire
•Pliers and/or side cutters
As well, you need to know exactly where you are going install the blanket before starting. It may seem like a simple thing, but you need to be 100% sure about its placement before moving forward.
Once your tools and location are all set to go, it is time to install.
Step#1: Wrap the blanket around the pipe and form and compress the blanket while working close to the seam
Step#2 : Form a loop in the wire and hook it around the first rivet or hook
Step#3: Lace the wire across the blanket to close the seam.
Step#4: Lace entire length of the insulation blanket. After lacing the last rivet/hook, cut away lacing wire and wrap any of the excess wire around the last rivet.
Removable Insulation Blankets
On top of these four crucial steps, you must also remember that the outer material should never come in direct contact with any hot surface. As well, do not forget to inspect the blankets on a regular basis.
If you can follow these instructions, then you will be able to have confidence that your Firwin Removable Insulation Blankets will maintain peak performance. If you have any questions or need more details, please contact Firwin today.

Firwin and Chile

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, open-pit mining is a great way to extract minerals and ore from the earth, but it becomes less effective when you start exhausting materials relatively close to the surface. It is at this crucial point that entire industries must make a choice: move on to another open-pit opportunity, or start the more difficult, time consuming, and expensive process of underground mining. This very dilemma is currently playing out in the Chilean copper mining industry. For years, copper mining has been the #1 industry in Chile. In 2000, Chile produced 35% of the world’s mined copper and it accounted for 40.5% of their export earnings, which translated into 25% of their GDP.[1] In 2006 alone, Chile exported $33.3 billion worth of copper. With copper being so critical to the health and survival of the Chilean economy, it is not surprising that their mining industry has begun a very ambitious underground mining project. The state-owned Corporacion del Cobre, the world’s largest copper producer, is planning to invest $3.28 billion in just one project to extend the working life of the world’s largest underground mine by 47 years. 
Because it’s hard to imagine any kind of mining without Firwin’s outstanding insulation and safety products, we recently acquired a new distributor in Chile. By signing up with the experts at Ventas,  Firwin hopes to gain a much larger foothold in the Chilean mining market. The timing couldn’t be better, and we hope that we will be able to help keep a future generation of Chilean miners safe and protected with our wide array of insulation products.