Insulation blankets help protect personnel by containing potentially dangerous temperatures inside the affected component so that the ambient environment remains stable and safe. Insulation blankets can also control temperatures during mechanical operations to keep temperature fluctuations from damaging the surrounding equipment. Although most insulation blankets are designed to prevent heat from transferring outside of a hot component, they can also be used to insulate cold areas or keep them from freezing.
Firwin’s insulation blankets are removable so workers can access the equipment beneath them for maintenance and repairs. But it’s critical to properly reinstall the blanket after servicing to ensure there aren’t any gaps in coverage. Even minor rifts can leak heat into the surrounding area, potentially decreasing the overall operational efficiency and creating a hazard to nearby workers.
As a premier provider of industrial insulation solutions for customers in a range of industries and applications, Firwin has the knowledge and expertise to insulate your equipment and make your workplace safer. In the passage below, our seasoned experts share tips on how to ensure your removable insulation blanket is installed correctly.
Get the Right Tools
To install an insulation blanket, you’ll need the following tools:
If the equipment is hot or continuously operating, workers must have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to defend against surface heat, ambient heat, steam, liquids, chemicals, and any other unsafe conditions that may arise. The installer should wear protective gloves while handling the cable lacing.
Stainless Steel Lacing Wire
Firwin’s removable industrial blankets typically use stainless steel lacing wire to wrap the blankets around the equipment and fasten the edges to the rivets on the blanket. The wire offers a reliable and durable bond that is temperature-resistant and long-lasting, even in extreme conditions. Other fastening methods are also available.
Pliers or Side Cutters
The installation technician will likely use a set of pliers or side cutters to twist and manipulate the lacing wire and fasten the blanket to the equipment. They may need to cut the wire to size once it has been laced.
Before you begin your installation, double-check that your equipment matches with the corresponding label on your blanket. Firwin’s insulation blankets come in a broad range of sizes, configurations, and designs that are specially engineered to provide optimal coverage for corresponding pieces of standard equipment. Placing the wrong blanket on a component will not offer the coverage you need and could result in unsafe gaps or overlap that reduces the efficacy of your insulation.
Have a Plan or Template
Blanket installation processes vary depending on the equipment configuration and facility. Before you begin, decide where each blanket will go and the order in which you plan to install them. Some blankets are designed to go above or below others, so you need to put a detailed installation plan in place to avoid errors or unnecessary delays.
If your system includes unions or elbows, note that both union and elbow blankets should be installed after the standard pipe insulation blankets have already been fastened.
Ensure Full Coverage
Here are some additional tips to ensure your insulation blankets are installed with optimal coverage:
Blanket flaps should overlay at the seams without creating any gaps or spaces. Even small gaps can allow heat transfer, thereby reducing the efficiency of your system.
Lace the wire around each rivet across the blanket’s seam in a crisscross pattern. Then trim and bend the excess wire to ensure that it stays in place and won’t catch on other pieces of fabric or equipment. Make sure to secure the wire on the union and elbow blankets to the rivets of the primary insulation blanket for optimal coverage and stability.
Choose Firwin for Superior Insulation Solutions
At Firwin, we are proud to offer an extensive range of removable and permanent insulation solutions for industrial equipment. Our state-of-the-art facilities allow us to custom-tailor solutions to meet the needs of any application. To learn more about our quality insulation products and services, or if you need help installing equipment, contact the experts at Firwin today!
At Firwin, we pride ourselves on our extensive engine insulation knowledge base. With over 30 years in the industry, we have amassed a comprehensive library of engine projects, with insulation specifications and requirements for every engine we have experienced.
Firwin’s engine library features templated insulation blanket designs, allowing for more efficient fabrication of products for these engines and facilitating an especially quick turnaround.
Why Engines Require Insulation
To ensure optimal engine operation and reduce heat in the surrounding area, engines and exhaust systems require appropriate insulation. Adequate insulation offers the following benefits:
Heat containment. Insulation keeps the high heat generated by an engine confined around the engine and exhaust system. By maintaining the heat in the engine and exhasut system, equipment can function at optimal capacity, thereby reducing emissions.
Personnel protection and safety. Engine insulation protects employees from exposure to the extreme heat on engine surfaces and within the working environment. The amount of heat generated by an engine can cause extreme harm to individuals, resulting in burns, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Insulation also reduces noise levels, thereby protecting the hearing of workers in the vicinity.
Component shielding. In addition to protecting employees from heat, an insulated engine also protects components and sensitive equipment around the engine from heat damage.
Benefits of Firwin’s Engine Library
Firwin’s extensive engine library represents the culmination of three decades of hands-on experience in finding insulation solutions for a wide array of engine and exhaust systems and components. This familiarity with the unique components of each system has a number of benefits:
Quick Quote Turnaround Times
Given our broad range of experience with numerous engine models, we have created an extensive catalog of template designs for a wide variety of engines and components. What this means to our customers is that when they come to us with an engine that needs insulation, more often than not we already have an existing blanket kit. This means less legwork for our customers (they do not need to go to the site and take engine and exhaust measurements) and a quick quote turnaround, as all the insulation blanket pricing is already in our system.
In addition, we consistently update our insulation templates as we acquire new information, so just because a make and model does not appear on our site does not necessarily mean we do not have an existing pattern for it.
Properly Designed Blankets
Being familiar with the intricacies of an engine, and having already gone through the process of designing and fitting blankets for an engine, the resulting product is a blanket that will precisely fit your particular engine and exhaust.
If we do not have a template for your particular engine model or component, not to worry. As a full-service custom fabricator of insulation solutions, Firwin’s capabilities include designing and building custom insulation solutions for any engine and exhaust component variation. We have measuring templates that make the job of measuring easy, and we show you exactly what dimensions we require.
Examples of Engine Models in the Library
Our comprehensive engine library includes templates for insulation solutions developed over the past 30 years, catering to all manner of engine styles and components. Our library contains, but is not limited to, templates for the following:
Caterpillar Engine Insulation
Cummins Engine Insulation
Dawoo Engine Insulation
Daimler Chrysler Engine Insulation
Detroit Diesel Engine Insulation
Deutz Engine Insulation
Ford Engine Insulation
GM Engine Insulation
John Deere Engine Insulation
Lombardini Engine Insulation
Mercedes Engine Insulation
Mitsubishi Engine Insulation
Nissan Engine Insulation
Volvo Engine Insulation
Yanmar Engine Insulation
As an example of our blanket kit templates, our CAT C-18 (ACERT) kit for Caterpillar engine model C-18 includes a manifold fore, manifold aft, two turbos, and a y collector.
For more information on the vast array of engine insulation options we provide, feel free to browse Firwin’s Engine Library yourself!
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When choosing the best insulation for your application, it is important to ensure that it closely fits the dimensions of the components it is meant to insulate to maximize coverage and insulate against heat loss.
It is equally critical to have a thorough understanding of the insulating material. The correct insulating material helps to ensure optimal equipment operation and protects personnel and sensitive equipment from dangerously hot surfaces and excessively hot air temperatures.
At Firwin Corporation, we specialize in finding the best insulation materials and designs for your specialized equipment and unique applications. Our comprehensive selection of insulation materials ensures that we will find the perfect insulation solution for your needs. One of Firwin’s most versatile insulating materials is Aerogel, a porous, solid material with a high percentage of air and a variety of unique properties.
What is Aerogel?
Aerogel is a class of low-density solid gels in which the liquid has been replaced with air or gas. The structural framework of Aerogel is typically composed of silica, so silica aerogel is often referred to as simply “Aerogel.” However, other structural materials have been used to create aerogels, including:
Regardless of the material, the preponderance of air in an Aerogel’s structure gives it a nearly transparent appearance. The high gas content of Aerogels also gives them a variety of unique properties, including extremely low density, very low thermal conductivity, and very high porosity.
In insulation applications, Aerogel easily outperforms traditional fillers such as wool and fiberglass. In fact, Aerogel offers the same quality insulation with 1/3 the thickness of other insulating materials. However, Aerogel is expensive to manufacture and is rigid and brittle in its basic form, so it requires some supporting material. In addition, Aerogel withstands temperatures up to 1100 °F (593 °C), but is not suitable for extremely high-temperature applications that operate above that level.
Aerogel Insulation Benefits
Silica Aerogel is particularly useful for insulating applications and is one of the most effective insulators available. Although it is more expensive than other insulating materials, Aerogel makes up for its cost by the benefits it offers. Some of these include:
Achieving greater temperature reduction with less insulation volume.
Thinner blankets mean easier installation and removal for maintenance and repairs, thereby reducing time and expenses.
When used as a thermal insulation material, Aerogel helps to enhance equipment energy efficiency, thereby reducing energy costs and emissions.
Aerogel is especially valued for its extremely low thermal conductivity, which can be as low as 0.015 W m-1 K-1.
Aerogel is extremely water repellent. Its hydrophobic nature allows Aerogel to protect insulating and operating components from moisture damage and corrosion.
Aerogel retains its shape in high-temperature settings and does not crack, clump, or sag like other insulating materials. It withstands vibration, impacts, and frequent traffic well, and can be reused after a thorough inspection.
Exceptional durability gives Aerogel a longer service life, which makes it an increasingly cost-effective option over time.
Aerogel Insulation Applications
Aerogel has been used as an insulating material for decades. Most notably, it has been used in NASA spacesuits for its exceptionally lightweight and durable nature. As manufacturing technology advances, Aerogel has become increasingly desirable in a broad range of insulating applications, including:
High-temp. With its ability to insulate higher temperatures with a thinner layer, Aerogel is particularly useful for high-temperature applications.
Limited space. Aerogel is ideal for compact environments where space is at a premium.
Lightweight. The lightweight nature of Aerogel makes it perfect for use with extremely delicate and fragile components.
Marine/high humidity. Aerogel’s hydrophobic characteristics make it useful in applications where moisture or water exposure can cause corrosion to underlying components.
Although Aerogel is typically more expensive than other insulating materials, its enhanced thermal insulating properties with thinner layers make it uniquely suited for confined spaces. In addition, its extremely lightweight characteristics make it ideal for use on light and breakable components that could be damaged by the weight of more traditional insulating materials.
Firwin Corporation is pleased to offer a broad range of top quality insulation solutions that can be tailored to meet the particular needs of nearly any application. Our insulation products are found in myriad applications and industries, from industrial and manufacturing equipment to engines and exhaust systems. Download our eBook “Removable Insulation Blanket Materials — A Guide from A to Z“ for more information on selecting the best insulation blankets and materials for your facility.
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The first thought that most people have when they think of insulation is the puffy pink fiberglass typically used in the construction industry to provide insulation inside walls and attics. In applications of this type, fiberglass insulation is rated by the manufacturer with an R-value according to the material’s resistance to conductive heat flow.
What Is R-Value?
The R-value is a measure of a material’s thermal resistance. It is defined as “the quantity determined by the temperature difference, at steady state, between two defined surfaces of a material of construction that induces a unit heat flow through a unit area.” This quantity of thermal resistance, the material’s R-value, is an indicator of a material’s ability to resist heat loss and serves as a standard measure of the insulation’s effectiveness.
The R-value of a particular insulation type is dependent on several factors. Thermal resistance is determined by the material used and its thickness and density. It is essential to understand R-values because it is a crucial piece of the puzzle when determining what type of insulation materials will work best for specific applications.
When R-Value Is Important
R-value is a relative number, which means that the more effective a type of insulation is, the higher the R-value rating. The R-value of insulation is measured by determining the material’s thermal resistance at a given temperature.
In the home and building industry, the insulation R-value is usually calculated at 75°F or 24°C. However, when it comes to insulating engines, exhaust systems, and other industrial applications, temperatures can vary greatly and get extremely high. In these types of conditions, R-values become less meaningful because the value fluctuates with temperature. The R-value of an insulator at 500°F will differ significantly from its R-value at 750°F.
Additional Variables That Impact R-Value
When considering the effectiveness of insulation material, R-value is just one of many variables that can affect insulation performance. You should also account for the insulation’s environment and how it will affect its performance.
Environmental conditions that could impact the R-value and performance of insulation material include:
Exposure to Elements Like Moisture
Insulation will sometimes absorb condensation or moisture in humid conditions, which can drastically reduce the material’s R-value.
Resistance to Compression
Increased insulation thickness typically increases the R-value proportionally. However, with loose-fill insulation, compression of the insulation under its own weight causes the R-value to not change proportionately with thickness.
For insulation to perform as required for the application, the material must be rated for the proper temperature.
Vibrations from machinery and mechanical equipment can weaken some types of insulation, making it crucial to choose the right type for your application.
Insulation Thickness & Density
The R-value of a material is dependent on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. When determining the R-value of insulation that consists of more than one layer, the values of each layer are added together.
We are commonly asked this question: Does insulation cause corrosion? Given the many expenses already involved in plant maintenance, it makes sense to carefully consider factors that might contribute to corrosion—including improperly maintained insulation.
Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is a well-documented problem in processing plants, occurring when moisture builds up underneath the surface of an insulating sleeve. Depending on the piping and insulation material types and the moisture source, substrates underneath insulation maybe vulnerable to multiple corrosion types, such as:
All of these processes have the potential to severely damage pipes or containers, leading to holes and leaks that can shut down segments of a facility—or, in the worst case scenario, the entire facility.
Unfortunately, no combination of metal and insulation is completely immune to CUI, so vigilant maintenance is critical to prevent these outcomes. Still, certain solutions can minimize the risk, including those that can be easily removed and replaced for routine assessment and repair. Firwin’s removable blanket insulation offers one example of a configuration that minimizes CUI risk without sacrificing the efficacy of the system.
The Problem: Causes and Consequences of CUI
Part of the difficulty in preventing CUI is that it can occur under so many conditions. Factors that may contribute to heightened risk, include:
A constant temperature above freezing but below boiling, which is the perfect environment for condensation to form.
Subpar insulation that contains corrosive compounds or that degrades quickly.
Insulation placed improperly near sources of water.
The biggest risk factor for CUI, however, is the presence of certain chemicals that react with the metal’s surface to erode its structure. This can take several forms, depending on the specific compounds present. For example:
Galvanic corrosion is common when the insulation becomes moist in the presence of either an electrolyte or a salt. When this happens, a current can flow between the soaked insulation and the metal surface, inducing serious surface damage.
The presence of strongly basic or acidic substances can also be problematic. When granular insulations absorb both water and an alkali or acid, the chemicals can remain on the insulated metal’s surface even as the water evaporates, leading to alkaline or acidic corrosion.
Chloride from industrial processes or natural sources is particularly harmful to stainless steel surfaces, especially when it becomes imbued in a wet insulating sleeve. Chemical corrosion can occur even when the processing equipment itself does not contain harsh chemicals—chloride, for instance, can come from rainwater, a common source of CUI.
While different factors are responsible for each of these categories of CUI, all corrosive damage may be worsened by rigid or permanent insulation. Ideally, technicians should be able to regularly remove insulation to inspect the underlying metal for signs of wear. Failure to do so allows chemical damage to compound until the vessel is irreparable.
Additionally, a permanently insulated fixture might accumulate corrosive damage more quickly as buildup can’t easily be cleaned during routine maintenance. These challenges are especially pronounced in process facilities that routinely handle high quantities of potentially corrosive chemicals, or in piping that experiences routine exposure to the elements.
The Solution to CUI
The primary solution to CUI is to replace rigid or permanent insulation with a removable solution. In doing so, it becomes much easier to monitor the state of process piping without causing additional damage to the surface.
The benefits of this investment are substantial. Removable insulation not only makes routine inspections and maintenance easier, but it also facilitates easier repair. Permanent insulation is difficult to replace without damaging the pipe, but removable covers can easily be taken off of individual segments of machinery or process piping when the exterior begins to breakdown. This advantage can add up to substantial savings over the lifetime of your equipment.
Firwin Insulation Solutions
All of Firwin’s removable insulation covers are engineered for easy access without sacrificing performance. Our covers cling closely to the piping or vessel for a snug fit that repels moisture. Lower quality removable blankets lack this excellent fit, which can sometimes hasten corrosion (rather than preventing it) by allowing additional avenues for moisture to enter.
We produce removable insulation solutions to fit various engine parts and piping systems, including diesel engines that generate enough heat to create a higher risk of CUI. Our solutions not only contain and manage this heat, but do so while mitigating the risk of corrosion.
To learn more about our completely customizable options for insulation and corrosion protection, get in touch with Firwin’s team today.
Good insulation doesn’t just add layers around heat sources. It must closely fit the dimensions of the components to minimize heat loss and increase ease of use.
But when it comes time to decide the makeup of your insulation blanket, do you know anything about the materials that go inside?
The team at Firwin Corporation has extensive knowledge about insulation materials and is able to carefully match your equipment with custom insulation covers and liners, made of materials best suited for your unique application. We provide a wide selection of insulation materials to customers, ensuring that you obtain an insulation solution that fits your equipment and your facility’s needs.
Factors to Consider
Choosing the right material for your insulation covers is essential—and not every material is suited for every application. Here are five different factors that would affect material selection:
1. Maximum Temperature Range
Perhaps one of the most important considerations in insulation materials is the temperature range. Insulation materials should meet or exceed the high end of your standard operating temperatures and should account for potential high-temperature extremes. Insufficient insulation can be costly and dangerous.
2. Protection from the Elements
Gauge your equipment’s exposure to elements such as water, debris, chemicals, and UV radiation. You need to choose materials for your insulation covers which can withstand these environmental factors without degrading. While some protective elements may be added to insulation materials, others may cause stiffness or impact ease of use. All our materials have their own set of properties, but some are better at handling extreme environments than others. Depending on your equipment’s exposure, one kind of material may be better suited as insulation than others.
3. Safety and Regulatory Requirements
It’s important to always check the manufacturer’s certifications for facility equipment, especially where related to safety. Some industries also have more exhaustive UL and safety standard requirements than others. Firwin guarantees that our insulation covers are made with high-quality materials and our company is ISO 9001-certified. Our team of engineers and technicians work hard to meet or exceed all safety and regulatory requirements. Some safety requirements like fire retardancy will impact which materials we choose for your insulation based on the material properties.
Space can quickly limit the type and amount of insulation you can add to a given system. You’ll want to look for thinner, flexible materials for use near tight system configurations and controls, but will have less restrictions on material type in more spacious areas.
5. Touch Temperature
While the maximum temperature factor details how much heat your insulation covers can safely handle, the “touch” temperature factor details the handling temperature on the outside of the cover. Some insulation materials will only reduce ambient heat in environments that just need lower—but not safe to touch—temperatures. Other insulation materials can thoroughly dampen heat in applications where the covers must be touched throughout the day.
While small or constrained environments may demand thinner material and/or slightly higher temperatures, a safe contact rating is still a priority for our manufacturing team. When you’re considering an adequate exterior temperature for your insulation material, it’s important to remember that fabric is safer at high temperatures than metal. Fabric doesn’t conduct heat as well as metal, so it must exceed 203° F (95°C) before becoming unsafe to touch (UL 2200).
Common Insulation Materials
So what insulation materials are available when designing an insulation? Some common materials/fabrics for commercial and industrial insulation covers include:
This top-tier material outperforms both wool and fiberglass. A 0.5-inch thick cover of Aerogel can perform just as well as a 1.5-inch thick cover of fiberglass, so facility managers often use this material in tight-fit environments. Aerogel is also very lightweight, which makes it ideal for use near fragile or light components. The material is expensive, however, and has a maximum temperature limit of 1100° F (593°C) .
Cellulose material solutions (CMS) wool is compact, mitigates oxygen transfer through the material, and features fire retardant properties along with its high insulation value. Other properties include:
A maximum temperature limit of 2192° F (1200° C)
Won’t contribute to corrosion
Resistance to decay, vermin, and mold
Fiberglass is one of the most common insulative materials used in the fabrication of insulation blankets. Just like CMS wool, it’s odorless, won’t corrode metal, can absorb sound, and resists rot or vermin damage. However, it has a lower maximum temperature limit of 1200° F (649°C). Fiberglass can also harm workers through constant exposure if they don’t have adequate safety equipment covering their eyes, skin, or breathing passages.
The broad category of mineral wool materials includes:
Glass wool (made from recycled glass)
Rock wool (made from basalt)
Slag wool (most common mineral wool, made from steel mill slag)
Mineral wool has good thermal resistance, doesn’t absorb moisture, and can muffle a reasonable amount of sound. Its maximum temperature threshold is 1200° F (649°C) .
Download Firwin’s Insulation Materials Guide
Firwin’s Insulation Materials
Firwin Corporation uses specialty materials to keep your facility’s equipment well insulated and safe for workers. Our high-performance materials include:
Firwin 2000+ Insulation
This material has excellent thermal resistance, as well as resistance to chemicals or contamination. It retains its insulative properties even after oil or water spills once the material has dried. Firwin 2000+ is a patented wool material made from long AES fibers. It features low biopersistence and high maximum temperature thresholds.
Rated Temperature 2192ºF (1200ºC)
Easy to install
Excellent thermal stability and insulation
High strength levels and good tear resistance
Low heat storage
Low irritant levels and increased softness
Low thermal conductivity
Minimal outgassing due to cleaning and organic matter removal during production
Solubility in body fluids
This material is commonly used for the following applications:
Annealing furnace linings
Expansion joint packing
Furnace kiln reformer and boiler lining
Furnace door lining and seals
Investment casting mold wrap
Removable insulation blankets
Board Insulation 15080 RHF™40
This stiffer material contains basalt rock and slag. It’s a non-combustible material with excellent fire and thermal resistance, water-repelling properties, and vapor permeability. It has a melting point of 2150° F (1177°C) . This mineral wool can be safely used in high-heat applications up to 1200° F (649°C).
Fabrication and lamination options available
Chemically inert and non-corrosive
Made from natural and recycled materials; free from CFC and HCFC
Low moisture absorption
Facility managers can use Board Insulation 15080 RHF™40 for multiple applications. Our team can manufacture the material to match different specifications without any loss in fire, thermal, and water resistance. One of the most common applications is pipe and tank wrapping thanks to the materials moisture resistance and insulating properties.
Rockwool Board Insulation 8LB
This non-combustible product is also composed of basalt rock and slag. It features strong water resistance while still maintaining vapor permeability. Its high melting point of 2150°F (1177°C) gives it excellent fire and thermal resistance.
Easy to install and use
Fabrication and lamination options available
Chemically inert and non-corrosive
Made from natural and recycled materials; free from CFC and HCFC
Low moisture absorption
This material resists physical damage and compression from impacts. It’s also a useful insulation solution for applications that require excellent thermal, fire, and moisture damage resistance.
Firwin Vermiculite Coated Fiberglass Fabric
This woven fiberglass material has a medium weight and good resistance to high temperatures. It also features a vermiculite compound coating that adds thermal resistance.
Can withstand continuous heat during long-term applications
May be subject to some physical degradation after extended exposure to high heat
Has a continuous temperature threshold of 1200° F (649°C) and an intermittent threshold of 1500° F (816°C)
Flame and high-heat barriers
A replacement for silica or ceramic fabrics
Firwin 1200 Insulation Mat
This glass fiber material is mechanically bonded from long, uniform fibers. The needling process creates a highly uniform material that doesn’t include binders. This material provides long-term insulation in the face of high temperatures up to 1200° F (649°C).
Easy to install due to drapability and flexibility
Does not contribute to metal corrosion, decay, or mold
Resistant to vermin-related damage
Muffles sound and vibration
Get More Insulation Material Information from Firwin
Firwin Corporation specializes in high-quality, customizable insulation covers and other insulation solutions. We create covers for a wide variety of industries and applications, including general industrial applications, diesel and gas engines, and exhaust systems.
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According to the guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy, any surfaces with temperatures above 120°F should always be insulated. This includes all parts of boilers, such as doors, steam drum covers, and piping. While frequently overlooked, boiler pipe insulation is essential; proper boiler insulation leads to energy conservation, employee safety, and increased efficiency in all types of operations.
The Benefits of Boiler Pipe Insulation
Significant heat loss can cause a number of issues, including loss of money and hazardous work environments. Installing heating pipe insulation is an excellent way to prevent these problems and take advantage of a wide variety of benefits.
Loss of heat means loss of energy, which leads to higher expenses. If boiler pipes are left exposed as they carry heated fluid, more energy is needed to keep the boiler functioning at the optimal level. Boiler pipe insulation will prevent the loss of thermal energy and maintain low energy costs.
When you lose significant amounts of heat, the system needs to work harder to reach high temperatures and keep fluids heated. By insulating boiler pipes, you ensure your boiler can heat up more easily and rapidly. This saves both time and money.
Insulated boiler pipes can raise hot water temperatures by 2° F to 4° F higher than uninsulated pipes. In the long term, this can lead to 3-4% energy savings every year. If you’re interested in learning exactly how much money you might be losing due to lack of insulation, there’s now a way for you to find out: the National Mechanical Insulation Committee has developed a calculator that lets you determine potential energy savings from both bare and insulated pipes, as well as flat surfaces.
Proper insulation creates a safer work environment for you and your employees. When boiler pipes are left uninsulated, they become extremely hot. Employees working near these structures are then at risk for serious burns and other injuries if they come into contact with the heated component. With proper insulation, you will protect your employees from injury and prevent costly lawsuits.
When deciding to install boiler pipe insulation, it is vital to consider the different types available. There are two main options from which to choose: removable or permanent. Here are some details about each one’s specific functions and benefits to help you pick the best option for your needs.
Removable insulation is incredibly flexible, making it ideal for situations where you frequently need to inspect or maintain your system. It is quick and easy to install and can be removed whenever you need access to your component. This makes it a convenient way to effectively reduce your heat and energy loss without committing to a permanent fixture.
Permanent insulation is common in situations where consistent access to the system is not needed. This type of insulation is durable and sturdy, permanently enclosing the component being insulated. It is ideal for small spaces that require long-term insulation but do not need to be frequently accessed.
There are a variety of factors that go into choosing the appropriate material for your insulation :
The maximum temperatures reached by the insulated component
Whether the component is indoors or outdoors
Potential exposure to the elements
Desired “touch temperature” of the component’s outer surface
Desired system heat retention
Necessity and frequency of insulation removal
Contact Firwin for Boiler Pipe Insulation
At Firwin, we manufacture a wide range of insulation products for every need, from boiler pipe insulation to industrial applications. Since 1982, we have been creating high quality products to ensure the safety and peace of mind of our clients.
To learn more about our boiler pipe insulation, contact us today to speak to our experts and discuss your specific project.
Temperature regulation poses a challenge for many industrial piping processes. Even in warmer climates, heat loss can prevent pipes from remaining at the optimal temperature for their operations and contents, which threatens productivity and product quality, respectively.
Heat tracing, also known as trace heating, offers a solution to controlling pipe temperatures. The system involves running an electric heating element along the length of a pipe, often coupled with insulation, to facilitate even heating. The combination of thermal insulation with an active heating element provides a finer level of temperature control for pipes and vessels that is critical to many industries.
Why Use Heat Tracing?
Heat tracing is a highly versatile method of maintaining pipe or vessel temperatures. For some applications, it is used to prevent freezing during the winter, which is a significant threat to productivity. Even in applications where freezing is not a primary concern, heat tracing is one of the more efficient ways to ensure that pipes and vessels remain at the proper operating or processing temperature.
How Does Insulation Complement Heat Tracing?
To maximize the benefits of heat tracing, many installations also incorporate insulation. The layer of insulation bundles the heat tracing element and pipes together, helping maintain the interior temperature, reduce thermal loss, and maximize energy efficiency.
Applications of Heat Tracing
Applications for heat tracing commonly center around the oil and gas industries. Production, processing, and storage equipment in these industries generally require the maintenance of specific operating temperatures for optimal performance and productivity. For example, high temperatures are necessary to bring oil or gas to the surface during extraction. Some of the other functions of heat tracing in the oil and gas industries include maintenance of set temperatures during refining and storing processes and winterizing processing facilities in colder climates.
Additional industries where heat tracing is employed, include:
In these industries, heat tracing represents a cost-effective and energy-efficient management solution for applications like:
Winterizing or freeze protecting pipes, tanks, and storage vessels
Maintaining the temperature of storage tanks and hot water distribution pipes
Integrating underfloor, roof, or gutter heating
Heating walkways, roads, and other passenger and vehicle access areas to minimize snow and ice buildup
Heat Tracing Solutions From Firwin
An effective heat tracing setup requires high-quality components, including insulation, which largely influences how efficiently the system maintains and manages heat. At Firwin, we provide a full range of high-performance insulation for use with heat tracing.
Our durable insulation blankets—also referred to as insulation covers or jackets—are our flagship product. Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and configurations, all of our blankets are crafted from multi-layered performance materials and feature secure fastening systems to ensure a snug fit. No matter what component you’re seeking to protect, we offer a standard or customized insulation solution that can reduce the amount of heat loss in your system, maximizing the efficiency of your heat tracing.
Our extensive inventory of insulation blankets includes:
Exposure to extreme temperatures and chemicals reduces the active service life of upstream equipment. Our tight-sealing valve covers fit over important junctions, keeping them safe from temperature fluctuations and other damaging environmental factors.
Uncovered flanges can lead to heat loss at multiple points of a piping system. To prevent this, our removable insulation blankets are custom-designed to fit over all types and sizes of flanges.
Vessel and Manway Covers
In addition to maximizing efficiency, maintaining safety is another key concern regarding pipe tracing. In certain situations, vessels and manways can become somewhat hot, which can pose a risk to operators, service technicians, and passers-by. To prevent burns, our vessel and manway covers both trap heat and prevent direct contact with hot surface metal.
Instrumental Panel Covers
Complex and sensitive instrumentation also requires protection. Our removable insulation blankets provide excellent heat retention to the equipment as needed while allowing for ease of removal and reapplication.
Contact Firwin for Heat Trace Insulation Solutions
Heat tracing allows for efficient and cost-effective thermal regulation. The addition of insulation further increases its advantages. At Firwin, we carry high-quality insulation solutions for a wide range of industrial applications.
Essential to a wide range of industrial applications, engines also introduce an element of risk into a work environment due to the intense levels of heat they can generate. Engine component insulation is designed to contain the heat produced by engines, protecting employees and sensitive equipment while optimizing engine performance.
Industrial engines generate heat which can:
Raise ambient temperatures within the working environment to uncomfortable levels
Cause injury or illness to employees, such as burns or heat exhaustion
Damage nearby sensitive equipment and components, such as cables
These risks are especially potent for newer engines and smaller working environments. Newer engines are designed to reduce carbon emissions by running at higher temperatures (typically meeting or exceeding 800°F or 425°C). In smaller, more confined environments (such as those found in the underground mining industry), employees are at a greater risk of receiving severe burns due to contact with exposed metal engine parts.
Engine Component Insulation Solutions
At Firwin, we manufacture a variety of insulation products suitable for protecting employees and equipment from excessive engine heat, including:
Removable Insulation Blankets
Our removable insulation blankets are engineered from three layers of material for highly effective heat insulation. The three layers typically consist of:
An inner layer of steel mesh
A middle layer of insulation medium
An outer layer of silicone-coated fiberglass
The design of the blanket—its thickness and insulation medium—can be altered for greater heat reduction. For particularly demanding applications, other customization options include the integration of sound or fluid barrier material.
The flagship MineWrap™ Mark II features a flame-resistant foil inner liner lined with a stainless steel mesh. This design seals the insulation from oil or hydraulic fluid, thus eliminating a potential fire hazard. For more demanding applications, the MineWrap™ Mark III blanket features a reinforced stainless steel foil exterior covered by a layer of stainless steel mesh with options for additional joint safety seals.
Being durable and virtually impenetrable to contaminants, MineWrap™ is the insulation blanket of choice for many mining operations and mining equipment manufacturers.
We apply the composite coating in a thin layer that both insulates the target material and protects it from combustion in the event of an engine leak or malfunction. Our Hard Coat product offers other advantages, such as:
Suitability for use in confined environments
Non-flammability and non-combustibility
Suitability for high-temperature environments
Burn protection for personnel
Reduction of ambient temperatures
Greater durability than removable blankets
For this type of insulation solution, we apply the coating to your disassembled components in our facility, then ship them back to you on a mutually agreed-upon timeline.
Stainless Steel Foil Insulation
Another permanent insulation option is metal foil insulation (MFI), which we pre-install over exhaust components, such as tubing, piping, and elbows. This insulation solution consists of insulation material encapsulated by an outer foil layer that is permanently welded to the engine component.
Our MFI is:
Durable (it is capable of withstanding steam washing and chemical exposure)
Leak-free (it serves as a barrier to any fluids that may seep into the insulation)
Customizable (it can be designed to fit different component shapes and application requirements)
With these considerations in mind, our MFI solutions also offer a tighter fit and more aesthetically-pleasing finish than insulation blankets. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) interested in this insulation solution can ship components directly to our factory where we custom fit and install the MFI before returning the parts.
Contact Firwin for Engine Component Insulation
With Firwin’s highly customizable range of engine component insulation solutions, you can prevent even the most powerful engines from harming your employees and equipment. Our industry-leading removable and permanent insulation solutions are designed to retain extreme heat and maximize engine performance.
For more information about our engine component insulation solutions and which would best suit your application, visit our comprehensive resource library or contact us to discuss your insulation needs.
Comments Off on Removable Insulation Covers for Industrial Valves – What to Look For
Valves are one of the most common parts to cover in the petrochemical, chemical, and oil and gas industries. Like process line piping, valves often need to be insulated to minimize heat loss for energy efficiency or to keep the contents of the materials flowing through the valve at a desired temperature. In addition, insulation blankets keep the valve parts from freezing up in cold temperature operations. However, unlike process line piping, which is often insulated with permanent insulation or cladding, valves generally must be kept accessible to maintenance personnel in case they need servicing or are required during an emergency situation. This makes valves ideal candidates for removable / reusable insulation covers.
Removable Valve Covers – What to Look For?
When dealing with removable insulation covers, one size does not fill all. Here are some variables that Firwin’s design team considers when designing removable insulation covers:
Proper fit: Valves can come in a variety of configurations—gate valves, flow valves, butterfly valves, etc.—with a large variety of makes, models, and sizes within each category. Each of these has their own unique geometry, and a custom designed insulation cover should precisely match the part for which it is intended. Valve orientation or presence of adjacent valves or piping can also affect the final blanket design. In cold weather climates, valves are also subject to glycol, water, steam, or electric heat tracing. Properly positioned cut-outs are essential for an insulation cover to fit properly and function as intended.
Insulation thickness: While removable insulation covers typically contain a 1” thick insulation material, this thickness can vary depending on the needs of the particular application. For very small valves or where clearances are an issue, a thinner 1/2” thick insulation is often called for. On the other hand, there are instances where a thicker insulation is needed due to high heat or for sound attenuation. In addition to requiring a thicker insulation, sound attenuation needs a multi‐layered construction, with an additional layer of sound dampening material. These multi‐layered covers can get as thick as 4”. Materials: Standard construction for removable insulation covers for industrial applications include silicone or Teflon™ coated fiberglass inner and outer liners, with a fiberglass insulation in between. But certain applications may call for alternative liners or insulation material. For instance, where temperatures higher than 500°F are present, silicone/Teflon inner liners will not suffice, and a higher temperature alternative, such as Firwin HT, is necessary.
Removable Insulation Covers From Firwin
Since 1982, Firwin has been a leading manufacturer of custom insulation products for piping, valves, engines, and an expansive range of other industrial purposes. Our main product lines include permanent Hard Coat™ composite insulation and removable insulation blankets. Since our inception, we have been offering safe and effective insulation solutions for a variety of industries.
Along with offering top quality insulation products, we are also committed to providing exceptional customer service through sales, installation, and product selection. To learn more about Firwin’s products or to get started on a project with our team, contact us today.