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.
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.