Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Insulation Materials
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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Engine Component Insulation
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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Insulation Blankets Improve On-Highway Vehicle Emissions and Safety
Manufacturers of on-highway diesel trucks are seeking new ways to reduce their products’ emissions in response to growing consumer interest in green technology. Additionally, new EPA standards increasingly tighten the amount of nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and diesel particulate matter allowed to escape diesel engines. As a result, new engines have featured redesigned configurations, selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems, and modifications that accommodate alternative fuel sources.
For many of these emission-reducing exhaust systems to work, engines must be kept at temperatures of 800°F (425°C) or greater. Temperatures of this magnitude ensure that particles circulate fast enough within the engine for catalytic filters to efficiently sift them out.
One of the most effective ways to maintain high engine temperatures is through the use of insulation blankets. These blankets fit over the engine and prevent heat radiation from escaping, particularly via the exhaust path.
To help vehicles get the most out of their insulation blankets, engineers in the trucking field should keep in mind:
Ensure that the SCR systems are properly insulated to enhance performance and burnoff. Without proper insulation, exhaust gases lose heat as they travel along various pipes and components of the engine and exhaust system.
Separate the engine from heat-sensitive cables and components using insulation blankets. Although maintaining a high engine temperature will optimize particle filtration, the extreme heat may damage other components within the vehicle. Removable insulation blankets especially benefit engine retrofitting projects, where the new engine would otherwise expose surrounding components to damaging temperatures.
Install insulation blankets over exhaust piping and catalytic filters. Doing so will ensure that the engine maintains high exhaust temperatures, which will optimize filter performance even in cold-weather environments.
Insulation blankets can be endlessly customized to fit each unique system in which they’re installed—size, shape, and other physical properties can be tailored to the conditions that blankets may face in their installed environments.
Top-Quality Insulation Materials from Firwin
As the effects of climate change become more pronounced, emission standards will only continue to tighten. Insulation blankets provide an efficient, cost-effective way to reduce the impact that diesel engines have on the environment.
Firwin is an ISO 9001–certified manufacturer of custom insulation solutions that can be attached to engines and exhaust components as either permanent or removable covers.
Please view our short video for a full overview of Firwin’s capabilities, and be sure to contact us today if you have any questions or would like to request a free quote for your next diesel engine manufacturing project.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Two Problems to Avoid When Sourcing Removable Insulation Blankets
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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Increasing Engine Efficiency with Insulation Blankets
Many of today’s modern engines have two chargers that help to improve engine efficiency, and for which insulation blankets have an important role to play—turbochargers and charge-air coolers.
To understand how insulation can help you get the best performance from your engine, you first need to know how turbochargers work. The function of a turbocharger is to increase the mass of air that enters the engine, which leads to a greater air/fuel mix and boosts the horsepower. This is achieved by an internal turbine and corresponding compressor. The turbine, which can spin at speeds over 200,000 rpm, drives a compressor, which increases the amount of air entering an engine’s cylinders. Because the turbocharger’s turbine is powered by the engine’s own exhaust and because of the rapid rpms, turbochargers run at extremely hot temperatures.
The extreme heat generated by turbochargers can stress sensitive engine parts in the piston and cylinder area, and have a detrimental effect on surrounding engine components and employee safety.
Unlike turbochargers, charge air coolers run cold. Charge air coolers work to cool the compressed air that leaves the compressor before the air enters the engine. The increased density of the colder air means that more air can fit into the engine, for greater power. Charge air coolers thus improve the efficiency of the turbocharger and engine by allowing a greater mass of air to enter the engine at one time.
Insulation blankets are used in conjunction with both turbochargers and charge air coolers. For turbochargers, the blankets keep the heat from escaping the turbochargers and from entering the surrounding engine components. For charge air coolers, insulation blankets are found on the hot piping that leads from the turbocharger to the cooler, in order to protect personnel who might be in the area.
To learn more about how Firwin’s insulation blankets can improve the efficiency of your engine, please visit our website or contact us today!
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Visit our new site!
In case you haven’t noticed already, Firwin has a newly designed website for customers in the petrochemical, chemical, and oil & gas industries. The new site, www.firwinthermowrap.com, sports an updated look and feel, while keeping the navigation and content similar to our main site. In redesigning this online platform of our capabilities, products, and applications, we closely considered our customer’s needs. We’ve catered to audiences that are both familiar and unfamiliar with our company by streamlining the navigation, adding useful images, and highlighting our most popular products.
The first things that’ll catch your eye are the content buckets on the home page. The content buckets compartmentalize chunks of information that are specific to a certain topic. Experienced users, for example, will be able to access information about our products quickly by scanning the links under the list of Products & Services. Others that are newer to Firwin can read about our past successes by clicking on our various case studies. The new site prominently places a lot of important information for customers both new and old right on the home page.
We’ve also added quite a number of high resolution photos to the site, in a photo gallery. These pictures not only serve to educate new customers about our Thermowrap product line, but also may inspire experienced professionals with new solutions to equipment issues. You can view our Thermowrap products at work in a variety of different applications. One notable image in our photo gallery shows our product installed around a gate valve with glycol tracing, a complex piece of equipment with many bends and components. The images in our gallery may help you visualize how your next insulation project might look upon completion.
Overall, we’re focusing this new site on our Thermowrap product line of removable insulation covers. We hope that the site serves our customers in the petrochemical, oil & gas industries well and is a useful resource for anyone looking for insulation covers. If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a look at our new site today!
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on 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.
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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on 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.
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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on A Look at Firwin’s Product Information Guide
At Firwin, we always want to make sure that you get the most out of our removable insulation blankets. When you purchase any of Firwin’s removable insulation covers for the first time, we not only provide you with a high quality product, but also a world-class product information guide. The 24-page guide covers a wide variety of topics including:
An overview of removable insulation blankets
Detailed installation instructions including common errors to avoid
A closer look at harder to identify parts like segmented elbows, flanges, and cones
Alternative fastening methods
How to care for new blankets
How to keep the highest level of safety during usage
The guide includes diagrams and photos, allowing those who are new to our insulation blankets to properly install them.
While we provide top quality covers, we also want to provide top quality service. Is there anything missing from the guide? If so, let us know!
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Tips on Caring for your Removable Insulation Blankets
At Firwin, we take pride in the performance and longevity of our removable insulation blankets. We manufacture all of our products to withstand the toughest and most challenging environments, be it hundreds of feet underground or on the roughest seas. In order to make sure our insulation jackets maintain peak performance, it helps to follow a few easy care tips.
Firwin’s fastening systems are extremely strong, but it is important to avoid excess force when installing your insulation blankets.
It isn’t always easy, but for the best service, keep your blankets as clean as possible.
Promptly remove or clean off all chemicals that cause deterioration of aluminum or silicone coatings.
Avoid oil saturation; this will render your blanket’s “non-combustible” characteristics ineffective. You will then need to replace the covers.
Treat blankets like all parts of the engine and inspect them regularly.
Last but not least, always take care not to cut or damage the outer protective cover fabrics. It helps to limit the usage of sharp instruments around all insulation blankets.
If you follow all of these steps, you can automatically increase the lifespan of your removable insulation blankets. If you have more blanket care questions, please contact one of our insulation blanket experts today!