Archive: Apr 2022

Heat Shields: Materials, Types, and Industrial Applications

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Industrial equipment is prone to producing high heat levels when in operation, which can impact the surrounding areas. This can lead to uncomfortable, or even dangerous, working environments for personnel, and it can negatively impact the performance of surrounding machinery. Heat shields are used to reduce the effect of high temperatures in areas around equipment that generate heat. They are specifically designed to protect equipment and personnel from high heat levels. There are several types of heat shields available, and selecting the right heat shield for your application depends on several factors, including the end-use, the surrounding environment, and the industry. 

What is a Heat Shield? 

A heat shield refers to any material that can be used as an obstacle to prevent heat from entering the surrounding area. A heat shield can be removable, like an insulation blanket, to allow for easy service access, or it can be permanent,  like a hard coating material that is used to insulate surrounding components.

Some of the most common heat shield types include:

  • Firwin Hard Coat™ Insulation: Hard Coat™ is a composite material composed of ceramic fiber insulation with a high alumina content. This is covered by a heat-resistant and highly durable composite. Hard Coat™ insulation forms a permanent, hard, and rugged exterior, making it ideal for applications with low maintenance requirements. Hard Coat™ insulation is non-flammable and resistant to water and oil, making it ideal for applications that are exposed to high temperatures for long periods.
  • Removable Insulation Blankets: This type of heat shield is composed of three primary layers. The outer protective cover shields the insulation from the environment. The insulation mat is composed of insulation material and contains heat, preventing it from escaping into the surrounding environment. The inner liner secures the insulation blanket in place. Removable insulation blankets can be reused and are ideal for equipment that requires periodic maintenance. Insulation blankets can also be constructed to act as shields for preventing fluids from reaching exhaust and engine components.
  • Firwin Metal Foil Insulation (MFI™): MFI™ is made of either aluminized polyester or aluminum foil that is secured to one or both sides of the heat shield. The foil reflects the heat, preventing it from escaping the insulation. This option is ideal for exhaust system components, such as elbows, tubing, and piping, that require pre-installed insulation. It acts as a barrier to fluid seepage. MFI™ offers superior durability, which means that it can withstand steam solvent/washing.

Heat shields mitigate heat damage to sensitive components and can protect against burns. They also allow equipment that requires high operating temperatures to run optimally while protecting the surrounding environment. 

Heat Shields in Industry Applications 

Heat shields are beneficial in a wide range of applications. Different industries utilize different types of heat shields to fit the needs of their application and the surrounding environment. Some of the most common heat shield applications include:

Marine

The tight quarters and constant engine operation in marine applications can quickly create a dangerous environment for those on board. With such limited space, the chances of personnel getting injured from an overheated component raise exponentially. Both removable insulation blankets and permanent hard coat insulation are ideal for different components in marine applications to facilitate safe heat control through dispersion and redirection.

Underground Mining

In underground mining, there are significant safety challenges due to high temperatures, exposed engine and exhaust components, and other factors. Both permanent composite Hard Coat™ insulation and MineWrap™ removable insulation blankets are ideal solutions for mining applications. The permanent solution coats equipment in a thin insulation layer that prevents oil and hydraulic fluid from engine leaks or broken hoses from building up on or igniting equipment; while MineWrap™ removable blankets have a mesh reinforced foil interior that shields the insulation material. Both solutions cover the exposed exhaust and engine components, reducing heat and improving the shielding of workers from burns. 

Oil & Gas

The oil and gas industry also faces similar safety challenges, however, heat retention is critical to the optimal functioning of process systems. Firwin’s ThermoWrap™ insulation blankets are designed to contain heat to the oil and gas, petrochemical, and industrial components to improve efficiency and protect employees. Each blanket is custom manufactured to wrap around the component needing insulation.

Why choose Firwin?

Firwin offers heat shields that protect employees from physical harm, prevent flammable fluid ignition, mitigate heat damage in the surrounding environment, and lower temperatures. Firwin is a leading manufacturer of insulation products for diverse industrial applications. To find out more, contact us or if you know what you need already, request a quote.

Research and Development

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Firwin Corporation is a premier manufacturer of custom insulation products for gas/diesel engines and exhaust systems as well as industrial applications. We invest heavily in R&D to ensure that Firwin is at the forefront of the latest developments in the insulation industry. Our goal remains to offer our customers the best possible insulation solutions for their unique applications.
Here are some examples of products that have resulted from our R&D efforts over the years.

MineWrap™ Mark I and Mark III

If equipment malfunctions in underground mining sites, it can have disastrous consequences for workers and facilities. In the event of an engine oil leak or a leak from a burst hydraulic line, there is a danger of the oil seeping into the insulation material and catching fire. To prevent these hazards, our R&D team developed MineWrap™—a unique line of insulation blankets for wrapping underground mining equipment.
MineWrap™ Mark I and Mark III feature a foil and mesh inner liner that isolates the insulation material, as well as extra rigidity to withstand wear and tear in harsh environments. On the Mark III, we designed the outer liner with reinforced stainless steel foil and mesh for extra puncture resistance.

Permanent Hard Coat Insulation™

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Our Permanent Composite Hard Coat™ is more durable and compact than most conventional insulation products. It can withstand extremely high temperatures and fit in tight spaces. This product is ideal for heat-prone applications like engines, exhaust systems, elbows, and turbochargers, where space is at a premium and removable insulation is not required. Clients in the automotive, mining, marine, and defense industries currently use the Permanent Composite Hard Coat™ to manage their heat-related issues.

Metal Foil Insulation

Firwin MFI Metal Foil Insulation is ideal for exhaust system parts (tubing, piping, elbows) that require pre-installed installation. The insulation is encased by an outer foil that is permanently welded to the part. It provides a visually appealing insulation cover that offers excellent durability, can withstand steam washing and solvents, and keeps fluids from seeping into the insulation material.

Fire Blankets

Our removable fire blankets are designed to protect heat-sensitive components from chemical fires. The blanket slips over the valve or other part to protect it from fires for up to 30 minutes. This gives the operator enough time to initiate safety procedures by shutting down the line, controlling the fire, and minimizing damage.
Our fire blankets have been applied successfully in the oil and gas and chemical industries.

Remote Scanning

In situations where it is impractical for clients or Firwin to take manual measurements at the client’s facility, we employ remote scanning technology to create digital replicas around which we design our insulation products. Some machines have complex geometries, making it challenging to get accurate, reliable measurements by hand. With remote scanning technology, the customer can scan their machinery and send the 3D models to Firwin. We use these models to develop accurate insulation products that fit the customer’s application and save on travel costs and time.

3D Printing

Firwin’s in-house 3D printing technology allows us to accommodate more complex designs and streamline the production process, ultimately saving our customers time and money. Our ability to 3D print exhaust component prototypes allows us to test fit our blankets in house, which is especially important when developing insulation blankets for new customer applications.

Innovation

Firwin takes pride in innovation and excellence. We encourage our people to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit and provide cutting-edge solutions for demanding applications across diverse industries. Our research and development teams focus on continually improving existing products and adding new ones to benefit our customers.

Working with Firwin Corporation

As a leader in insulation engineering, Firwin Corporation is dedicated to providing high-quality permanent and removable insulation products. For over 40 years, our R&D department has been at the forefront of groundbreaking insulation research. We create solutions for a diverse range of applications, including gas-powered and diesel engines, offroaders, and industrial steam lines and vents. Contact us to learn more about our research and development efforts or to start your custom insulation solution.