Category Archive: custom insulation blankets

Heat Shields: Materials, Types, and Industrial Applications

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.

Industrial Furnace Insulation Blankets

Insulation is an extremely important consideration for the safe and efficient use of industrial furnaces. Without it, the extreme heat dissipates into the surrounding area, significantly increasing the risk of burns and other injuries. An insulation blanket is a simple, effective, and affordable solution to this problem, and its wide range of benefits are matched by its versatility. Insulation blankets can be made of various types of material, and modern insulation blankets are designed with three layers that provide a combination of different functions to increase protection and efficiency in several ways.

The Importance of Furnace Insulation

The extremely high operating temperatures of industrial furnaces necessitate furnace insulation. Doing so improves its efficiency and boosts safety in the surrounding area. Operators of industrial furnaces in particular need every safety measure possible in place to reduce the risk of burns, and insulation blankets are an effective, reliable, and simple solution.

An insulation blanket covers the outside of a furnace and ductwork, is easily removable, and long-lasting. It can be customized to fit a variety of furnaces and related equipment and constructed with other considerations in mind depending on the nature of the work environment.

Furnace Insulation Materials

There are three main components of a reliable and high-quality insulation blanket:

  • Protective cover: Also known as the “cold face,” a protective cover shields the insulation from the outer environment and keeps the inner insulation material from escaping. The best protective cover is necessary for the longevity of the blanket and can be made with other considerations in mind (weather-proofing, tear resistance, etc.).
  • Insulation media: The actual insulation is typically achieved by a 1″ thick sheet of fiberglass, but it can vary in thickness from as thin as .5″ to 4″. The thickness of the insulation medium depends on the level of heat reduction required and the size limitations of the area in which the furnace equipment is located.
  • Inner liner: Also known as the “hot face,” the inner liner acts as a barrier between the insulation material and the furnace and keeps the blanket in place. It’s most commonly made of steel mesh, but different fabrics or metal foil can also be used.

The exact composition of an insulation blanket depends on its intended application, the level of heat, proximity to other equipment, and other end-use considerations. They are easily wrapped around the part using lacing wire, which is usually preferred for its versatility. Other options for securing the insulation blanket include:

  • Snaps
  • Straps
  • Springs
  • Velcro

These options have additional benefits such as ease of removal, elasticity, and the ability to fit the blanket around components in adaptive ways.

Benefits of Temperature Insulation

High-temperature furnace insulation vastly improves the efficiency and safety of furnaces. Beyond a furnace’s basic functioning, insulation is one of the most important factors for ensuring that it operates as intended. It not only creates a safer environment while keeping energy costs lower, but it also keeps the furnace running longer because it reduces unnecessary stress on the equipment.

As the chamber heats up, the heat can escape through uninsulated areas on the outer surfaces of the furnace. This renders the furnace’s exterior needlessly hot and dangerous and increases the energy needed for the interior of the furnace to reach the set temperature. Insulation blankets drastically reduce this danger and wasted energy, allowing the furnace to function at lower levels to achieve the desired heating capabilities.

Insulation Blankets from Firwin

Although very simple in principle, the most effective and safe insulation blankets are the result of impeccable design and manufacturing. Firwin takes into account many factors most other insulation blanket manufacturers may overlook, such as:

  • UV light and weather protection for outdoor uses
  • Ability to withstand chemicals and other substances
  • Levels of flame retardance
  • Durability in harsh environments
  • Sound absorption
  • Desired exterior or “touch” temperature
  • Heat retention and exhaust points
  • High degrees of customization

For these reasons and more, Firwin’s industrial furnace insulation wraps are among the most maintenance-free product on the market for furnace insulation needs. Contact us today with any questions, custom orders, or to request a quote.

Removable Insulation Blankets ‘Take Charge’

In many of today’s diesel and gas engines, you’ll find two ‘chargers’ that are designed to increase engine efficiency. One runs hot, the other cold, and both use removable insulation blankets. The two ‘chargers’ that we are referring to are turbochargers and charge air coolers.

Turbochargers

The purpose of a turbocharger (commonly referred to as turbo) is to increase the mass of air entering the engine to create more power. Turbochargers make this possible by using an engine’s exhaust gas flow to power a turbine with drives a compressor, which in turn increases the air flow into the engine’s cylinders. The more air present in the engine’s cylinders, the greater the air / fuel mix, and the the greater the resulting horsepower.

Since they use the engine’s own exhaust gas to drive the turbine located inside the turbo’s housing, turbochargers run hot. Combine this with the fact that the internal turbine can spin at speeds in excess of 200,000 rpm, and you have the potential for even more heat. And heat is what you want, as the greater the heat and resultant pressure of the exhaust, the faster the turbine will spin, and the more air gets pushed to the engine’s cylinders by the compressor.

This heat does have ramifications, however, for safety and engine performance. An exposed hot turbocharger can pose a danger to personnel, as well as adversely affecting heat sensitive components that are nearby. As well, increased heat can increase stress on the piston, piston rings, cylinder liner, and cylinder head of the engine.

While the air that leaves the compressor section of the turbo is not as hot as the exhaust, (as the compressor is drawing in ambient air and not exhaust air), the act of compression does causes the temperature of the air to increase (for a typical diesel engine, to around the 200°C / 400°F mark). Since hot air is not as dense as cooler air, less air can be pushed into the engine cylinders, which in turns limits the effectiveness of the turbocharger. This is where Charge Air Coolers come into play.

Charge Air Coolers

The job of the ‘Charge Air Cooler’ also known as an ‘intercooler’ or ‘aftercooler’ is to take the compressed  air and cool it down before it enters the engine. The resultant cooler air is more dense, and thus more air can be packed into the engine cylinders than could have been achieved with the hot air coming out of the turbo compressor.

Removable Insulation Blankets ‐ How They Help

Firwin Turbocharger Cover

Firwin Turbocharger Cover

For turbochargers, a properly designed removable insulation blanket fitted on top of the turbo ‘hot side’, helps to keep the hot side of the turbo hot, and the cool side cool. This allows the turbo to function more efficiently. Nearby components that might be affected by the extremely hot ambient temperatures generated by an exposed turbocharger are also protected. Finally, there is the aspect of personnel safety – a turbocharger with a removable insulation blanket will protect people from accidentally burning themselves on an otherwise hot engine component.

CAT C27 / C32 Charge Air System with insulation blankets

CAT C27 / C32 Charge Air System with insulation blankets. Note the large cooler system (large black fan) in the background.

For charge air coolers, removable insulation blankets are primarily found on the piping that leads from the turbo/compressor into the cooler/radiator. The cooler might be a bit of a distance from the turbo, and the piping, which can be in excess of 400°F for diesel applications (gas would be higher) can pose a hazard to personnel if not properly insulated. Covering these pipes with removable insulation blankets brings the outside touch temperature down to safe levels.

For more information on how Firwin can help you with your engine insulation needs, please visit our website , or call us at 1 877 347 9467.

Other Articles: ThermoWrap™ Valve Covers  ∙  Velcro Fasteners

Blanket Installation Tips

Blanket Installation Tips

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:

Safety Gear

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.

Installation Guide

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:

Overlap Edges

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.

Crisscross Wiring

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!

Engine Library

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.

Fire Boat - CAT Engine Exhaust Covers

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.

Firwin Customization

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
  • EMD 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!

Introduction to Engine Component Insulation

engine component insulation

Engines play a vital role in a wide range of industrial applications. However, they also introduce a variety of hazards and risks to the work environment if the proper precautions are not implemented. For example, they can generate a significant amount of heat, which can negatively impact nearby equipment performance and integrity, and employee health and safety in the absence of a proper insulation solution. Insulation is key to protecting nearby employees and equipment while optimizing engine performance.

The Importance of Engine Component Insulation

If an engine does not have proper insulation, the heat it produces during use can lead to a significant rise in temperatures. Elevated temperatures can cause a number of problems for equipment and employees, such as:

  • Increased employee discomfort. The heat generated by engines can raise ambient temperatures within the work environment to uncomfortable levels, which makes it difficult—if not impossible—for workers to complete their tasks safely. Insulation keeps heat contained within the engine or exhaust so it will not influence conditions in the surrounding area.
  • Higher risk of employee injury/illness. Increased temperatures inside and outside the engine can also lead to employee injury or illness; for example, hot exterior surfaces can cause severe burns, while hot ambient temperatures can trigger heat exhaustion. Engine insulation protects employees from exposure to overly hot surfaces and temperatures.
  • Greater chance of equipment damage. High engine temperatures can cause overheating in some systems. Additionally, they put any nearby thermally sensitive components (e.g., hoses and wires) at a higher risk of suffering thermal damage. Insulation shields components and equipment around the engine from potentially damaging heat.
  • Decreased equipment performance. The performance of an engine is significantly affected by its ability to achieve and maintain proper internal temperatures. While high heat is detrimental to nearby components, systems, and people, it is critical to efficient operation. Insulation enables an engine to keep the heat it generates contained inside of it and its exhaust system so it can operate at optimal capacity. As a result, it helps reduce energy usage and emission levels.

Engine Component Insulation Solutions at Firwin

Firwin is an industry-leading supplier of insulation solutions. After nearly 40 years in the industry, we’ve garnered the knowledge and skills needed to create insulation products for a range of industrial applications. Our engine component insulation offerings include:

Removable Insulation Blankets

Our flagship product, removable insulation blankets are typically composed of the following 3 layers: an inner steel mesh layer, a middle insulation medium layer, and an outer silicone-coated fiberglass layer. Fastened in place with stainless steel lacing wire, they are perfect for engine components that require regular maintenance since they can be easily removed and replaced as needed. Additionally, they can be customized for fit and application-specific characteristics, such as alternative materials and fastening systems.

MineWrap™ Removable Blankets

Our MineWrap insulation blankets are engineered to meet the specific needs of the underground mining industry. The flagship MineWrap Mark II has a flame-resistant foil inner liner lined with stainless steel mesh, which protects it from oil and hydraulic fluid intrusion and, consequently, eliminates the risk of fire. The MineWrap Mark III has a reinforced stainless steel foil exterior covered by a layer of stainless steel mesh, which makes it better suited for more demanding mining applications.

Permanent Hard Coat Composite Insulation

Permanent Composite Hard Coat Insulation
Our hard coat composite insulation coatings are an ideal insulation option for components that do not need regular repair and maintenance. After the composite coating is thinly applied to the target material, it forms a permanent high temperature insulation layer,  that also protects the insulation material from combustion in the event of an engine leak or malfunction. It is rated for temperatures up to 900° F.

Stainless Steel Foil Insulation

metal foil insulationOur metal foil insulation (MFI) is another permanent insulation option for exhaust components (e.g., tubes, piping, and elbows). The insulation material is encapsulated by an outer foil layer that is permanently welded to the engine component, which results in a durable, leak-free, and highly customizable solution.

Contact Firwin for Engine Component Insulation Needs

Firwin’s highly customizable range of engine component insulation solutions makes it easy to prevent even the most powerful engines from harming your employees and equipment. Whether you need a removable or permanent product, we can help you protect your people, products, and processes. To learn more about our engine component insulation solutions and how they can benefit you, contact us today.

Stop the Deep Freeze with Firwin

Wintertime, especially north of the border, means one thing: cold weather. Every year at this time, many of our industrial customers want to know if Firwin offers an insulation product that can keep piping and components from freezing. If you’ve ever owned a house, you know that frozen pipes can lead to disaster; now, just imagine if you are in charge of millions of dollars of industrial equipment under the same conditions.

At Firwin, we recognized that many of our customers operating in colder climates needed to find a way to both retain and create heat to keep their equipment safe and effective.  After a number of tests and prototypes, our R&D department came up with the perfect solution, the ‘pizza blanket’. Modeled after the insulated satchels pizza delivery people use to keep your food warm during transit, our pizza blanket introduces heat through a series of electric coils in order to prevent equipment from freezing up in harsh conditions. Of course, our pizza blankets are more than just heating pads; they also have all the properties of standard removable insulation blankets, including the ability to retain and contain heat. The combination of heating elements and insulation blankets means that our customers who operate in the harshest cold-weather conditions can be sure their facilities will constantly run at peak performance. firwin pizza

So, if you’re facing a long cold winter and you need to know that your equipment won’t freeze up, contact Firwin today and let us tell you more about our innovative and cost-saving pizza blankets.

What to do about a square peg in a round hole?

Odd shapes and sizes are always something that design engineers encounter when creating everything from pipe fittings to fasteners. With insulation blankets, varying geometries and protrusions from engine and exhaust components and process piping are regularly encountered in the design phase.  At this point, when the surface to be covered isn’t smooth, how does that blanket fit?

Here is where our custom blanket services fit in. When it comes to the design portion of the production phase, our design engineers evaluate the surface and piping, and can create a blanket to accommodate any protrusions or cut outs.

custom insualtion blankets

How do we go about this with our customers? There are a few different options of reviewing and obtaining this kind of information. First and foremost, if the insulation blanket is needed in an emergency situation, with no lead time to make a custom cover, we can send a blanket and the customers can make the cut outs themselves according to the placement of the brackets. If that is not the situation, then our design engineers look at the end application. If the jacket will be covering a silencer, then they will supply the customer with a support brackets drawing they can fill out. If it’s a different component—such as for the oil and gas industry—we will then ask for CAD drawings or specific dimensions from the customer. Despite the application, it’s always pertinent for our design engineers to have drawings of the equipment that will be blanketed.

The most important aspect of the blanket design is that, according to our article, our “design team ensures that any cut-outs or openings are designed in such a way as to allow sufficient room for the protruding item, while minimizing any heat loss due to the lack of insulation.”

Whether you’re worried about complex geometries or protruding components on your equipment, don’t fear—our design engineers can create an insulation blanket for every application.