Removable insulation blankets are great at managing heat. Be it by lowering the ambient heat in an engine room, protecting workers from hot surfaces, or shielding pipe contents from cold external temperatures, removable insulation covers are often the solution of choice where heat must be managed, but permanent insulation is not feasible.
|Gate Valve with Glycol Tracing,,
wrapped with Removable Insulation Blanket
But there is one thing that removable insulation blankets cannot do – they cannot add heat. “We often get asked, particularly in cold weather applications, if our blankets can keep pipe contents or components from freezing”, said Brett Herman, Firwin`s VP of Sales & Engineering. “The answer is that while we can contain heat and delay heat loss by sheltering pipe components from cold external temperatures, our insulation blankets can`t add any heat that isn`t already there.”
Where insulation blankets can help, however, is where companies have some sort of heat tracing on their piping, and they want to minimize the amount of heat lost to the environment, and thus maximize the efficiency of their heat tracing.
Heat Tracing Challenges
“Companies, particularly in the oil and gas industry, and often in other industries such as mining, chemical, and food processing, use heat tracing to keep pipe or container contents from freezing. In cold temperatures, this heat tracing, if left un-insulated, becomes much less effective. Firwin has done a number of applications in this area, covering the component and the heat tracing, increasing efficiency and lowering the heat that escapes to the environment”, added Brett.
Like other removable insulation blanket applications, a properly designed blanket is key to ensuring that the heat tracing is properly insulated. “There are various type of heat tracing in the marketplace today – steam, glycol, hot oil, and electric”, said Rael Herman, Firwin’s VP of Production & New Product Development.
“In some instances, the entire component in covered by a ‘bolt-on heat jacket, changing the entire geometry of the part”. What they all have in common is the need to be wrapped tightly, so as to minimize the amount of heat that is lost to the environment. The challenge, when it comes to insulation blankets, is to design a blanket that will account for the sometime difficult geometries and penetration access points that often come hand in hand with heat tracing”, said Rael.
|Firwin Blanket custom designed to fit glycol penetrations
What about situations where the customer is not familiar with heat tracing, or where heat tracing is not a viable option ? “We have done applications where we have incorporated a heat source into the insulation cover (see previous article on “pizza blankets“)”, notes Brett. “Regardless of who supplies the heat tracing, what’s important is ensuring that the the insulation blankets are designed in such a way as to tightly cover the components in question, while allowing for penetration points that typically accompany tracing of valves and similar components”.
For more information on removable insulation blankets and heat tracing, please contact Firwin.
At Firwin, we always want to make sure that you get the most out of our removable insulation blankets. When you purchase any of Firwin’s removable insulation covers for the first time, we not only provide you with a high quality product, but also a world-class product information guide. The 24-page guide covers a wide variety of topics including:
- An overview of removable insulation blankets
- Detailed installation instructions including common errors to avoid
- A closer look at harder to identify parts like segmented elbows, flanges, and cones
- Alternative fastening methods
- How to care for new blankets
- How to keep the highest level of safety during usage
The guide includes diagrams and photos, allowing those who are new to our insulation blankets to properly install them.
While we provide top quality covers, we also want to provide top quality service. Is there anything missing from the guide? If so, let us know!
At Firwin, we take pride in the performance and longevity of our removable insulation blankets. We manufacture all of our products to withstand the toughest and most challenging environments, be it hundreds of feet underground or on the roughest seas. In order to make sure our insulation jackets maintain peak performance, it helps to follow a few easy care tips.
- Firwin’s fastening systems are extremely strong, but it is important to avoid excess force when installing your insulation blankets.
- It isn’t always easy, but for the best service, keep your blankets as clean as possible.
- Promptly remove or clean off all chemicals that cause deterioration of aluminum or silicone coatings.
- Avoid oil saturation; this will render your blanket’s “non-combustible” characteristics ineffective. You will then need to replace the covers.
- Treat blankets like all parts of the engine and inspect them regularly.
- Last but not least, always take care not to cut or damage the outer protective cover fabrics. It helps to limit the usage of sharp instruments around all insulation blankets.
If you follow all of these steps, you can automatically increase the lifespan of your removable insulation blankets. If you have more blanket care questions, please contact one of our insulation blanket experts today!