Archive: Nov 2011

Alternative Fastening Techniques for Insulation Blankets

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Over the years, Firwin has developed more than a few ways of building fasteners for its removable insulation blankets, but its traditional modus operandi has always been with stainless steel lacing wire. “We find that stainless steel lacing wire works best,” says Paul Herman, Firwin’s president. “But for certain applications, where speedy installation is key, or where the client will be removing the [insulation] blankets frequently to do maintenance, we will recommend alternatives.”
So what are some of the alternatives? Thus far, Firwin has developed and produced insulation blankets that can be fastened by way of straps, snaps, springs, even Velcro. All of these options provide lighter, cheaper, and more accessible means of opening and closing insulation blankets.
 A recent challenge: Firwin was tasked to develop a new spring system for one of its clients. But first there were a few slight problems that required solving. As Brett Herman, Firwin’s V.P. of Sales & Customer Service, sums it up, “We have made spring fasteners available to our customers in the past… However, we used to find that the spring fasteners available ‘off the shelf’ just did not provide the proper fit that insulation blankets require. We knew that if we were to provide spring fasteners as a legitimate option, we would have to design one ourselves.” 
That’s just what Firwin did. Working with a local spring manufacturer, Firwin retrofitted their fasteners so that they would snap off with ease, all the while maintaining their sturdiness over time and at high temperatures. Insulation blankets fitted with these new and customized spring fasteners (as well as all other fastening alternatives) are currently available from Firwin upon request.

Insulation Outer Fabric: What are the Options?

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An insulation blanket is composed of three main layers: An inner face, the insulation media itself, and the outer fabric. The inner face, known as the hot face, comes in direct contact with the hot component. Typically a stainless steel mesh, it holds the insulation in place. The outer fabric, known as the cold face, covers the insulation.

Outer fabric can be fluid-resistant or non-fluid resistant. Silicone or Teflon™ lamination endows the fabric with fluid-resistant properties, greater abrasion resistance, and the ability to withstand greater amounts of mechanical stress. Additionally, these types of fabrics are well suited to surviving the elements.

However, once temperatures reach above 500° F, the adhesives and coatings begin to break down, causing the material to lose integrity and become brittle. Some fabrics can continue to perform up to 600° F, at which point laminated fabrics maintain integrity while losing lamination. For extremely high-temperature applications, non-fluid resistant, woven, non-coated fabrics fare well. For applications that require fluid-resistance as well as high-temperature resistance, other materials must be considered.

Curious about what kind of outer fabric is right for your particular application? Read more to find out what other options are available.

How to Install Firwin Removable Insulation Blankets

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Last week, we discussed fastening techniques for insulation blankets. But what about proper installation? Combined with the right fastener, proper insulation installation is crucial in maximizing heat reduction. An improperly installed blanket can result in uncovered parts, heat leakage, or damage to the blanket—all of which can cost you time and money.

To help our customers get the most from our insulation, we’ve put together a basic guide to Firwin insulation blanket installation. This step-by-step guide, complete with pictures and diagrams, shows you exactly what do to and how to do it.

Firwin’s removable insulation blankets are available for many different applications, including manifolds, turbos, elbows, flanges, and flex joints, among others. Please contact Firwin directly if you require further instruction on installation for these or other components.