Category Archive: insulation blankets

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

Velcro Fasteners – What You Need to Know

velcro fastenerAmong the fastening systems we offer for our removable insulation blankets is Velcro. An excellent and easy to use fastener, Velcro is often used in applications which require a simple and quick fastening method. Velcro fastening does, however, come with some limitations, which users need to be aware of in order for it to function as intended.

Background – How It Works

Velcro is actually the trade name for what is generically known as ‘Hook and Loop’ fastening. The hook‐and‐loop fastener was conceived in 1941 by Swiss engineer George de Mestral who lived in Commugny, Switzerland. The idea came to him one day after returning from a hunting trip with his dog in the Alps. He took a close look at the burrs (seeds) of burdock that kept sticking to his clothes and his dog’s fur. He examined them under a microscope, and noted their hundreds of “hooks” that caught on anything with a loop, such as clothing, animal fur, or hair. He saw the possibility of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion if he could figure out how to duplicate the hooks and loops. It took de Mestral around 10 years to perfect the process, and Velcro was born.

Velcro Fastening on Removable Insulation Blankets

Velcro fastening systems are supplied on rolls of paired woven tapes. The materials used in making these woven tapes are typically one or more of nylon, polyester, and Nomex (a flame‐resistant meta‐aramid material developed in the early 1960s by DuPont). Each paired tape has a loop tape, with loops made from the same fiber as the woven tape, and a hook tape. The hook tape, regardless of what material the woven tape is made from, typically has nylon or polyester hooks. For example, when ordering a Nomex Velcro, even though the base tape and loops are made with Nomex, the hooks will still be made with Nylon or Polyester.

Velcro can either be used as the prime fastening system where the Velcro keeps the blanket closed, or it can be used as a secondary or complementary fastener, as in the case of ‘D rings’, where the ‘D rings’ fasten the blanket and the Velcro is only used to secure the ‘D ring’ strap in place.

Why Velcro Fastening Sometime Becomes Ineffective

Velcro tapes are temperature rated when ‘closed’ (i.e. when hook and loop are fastened). In fact clothing manufacturers always require the Velcro tape to be closed before ironing/pressing garments ‐ and which is why you should also fasten any Velcro garments before putting them in the washer / dryer! So a Nomex base Velcro with nylon or polyester hooks will have a slightly higher temperature rating (350°F / 177°C) than a  polyester‐based Velcro (280°F /   138°C), as the Nomex provides some additional heat protection for the nylon / Straps with Velcro &”D” Ring Fastening System polyester hooks when the tape is in the closed state. For temperatures beyond 350°F / 177°C, stainless steel hooks are available. Depending on the base tape used, stainless steel hooked Velcro tape can be used in applications as high as 450°F / 232°C for Nomex‐based tape, to as high as 800° F / 426° C  for Velcro tapes constructed completely from 300 series stainless steel. The higher one goes on the temperature scale, the more expensive the Velcro tape becomes, especially the stainless steel versions. Because of this price premium, Velcro fastening is  most commonly  found on removable insulation blankets used in temperature ranges which can support nylon or polyester hooks.

As mentioned, both Nylon and Polyester have a temperature tolerance up to 280°F / 138°C , beyond which they tend to break down or melt if brought into contact with a heated surface. In practice, manufacturers like to err on the side of caution, and typically call for a temperature limit of 200°F / 93°C.  This means that as long as the outside temperature of the insulation blanket (the ‘cold face’) is below this temperature limit, Nylon and Polyester Velcro should function properly. For example, for a pipe of 3” or 4” diameter, with a room temperature ambient, a typical 1” thick insulation blanket would allow for an internal temperature of up to 800° F / 426° C before the outside face temperature went beyond 200°F / 93°C.

The ‘weak point’ on a Velcro fastener is typically the hooks since they are so fine. Once the hooks are damaged from contact with high temperatures the fastening tape becomes ineffective. This is the most common reason for breakdown of Velcro tapes. Even the accidental brushing of the hook tape against a hot surface is sufficient to damage the hooks. Another common cause of Velcro tape breakdown is when the loops and hooks get clogged up with dust of grime.

Are Velcro Fastened Removable Insulation Blankets Right For You?

As mentioned above, the main benefit of Velcro fastening is the ease in which an insulation blanket can be installed and removed. However, there are situations where Velcro may not be the recommended fastening method. “For low temperature applications, Velcro can be an excellent fastening method”, notes Brett Herman, Firwin’s Vice President of Sales and Customer Service. “This is especially true if the customer requires a fastening method that is easy to install and / or remove.”

“However, there are some drawbacks that customers need to be aware of. Firstly, most Velcro come with polyester or nylon hooks, and if these are exposed to heat approaching 280°F, the hooks can become damaged and the Velcro fastener will no longer be effective. While stainless steel Velcro hooks are an option, they are quite expensive, and even they are limited to 800° F / 426° C  – so if the application is very high temperature, these hooks also pose the risk of getting damaged through accidental contact.”

snap fastener“Secondly, when compared to the ‘standard method’ of fastening blankets via stainless steel lacing wire and rivets, Velcro has an added cost component, mainly from the increased labor needed to produce a Velcro blanket. So for customers looking for a ‘lowest cost’ solution, and for whom ease of installation and removal is not so crucial, an alternative fastening method would be better suited”, added Brett.

Proper Care of Velcro Fastened Removable Insulation Blankets

The recommended use of Velcro when used on insulation blankets, for hot Removable Insulation Blanket with lacing wire & rivet fastening Other blanket fastening methods: Snaps, Straps, Springs equipment and heater bands, is to install and remove blankets when the machine or surface is cold.

Firwin blankets are designed to ensure that Velcro fastenings with nylon / polyester hooks are mounted on the cold side of the blanket insulated from the hot surface by a suitable insulation layer. To be safe, we like to add a buffer to the temperature limit, and call for a temperature below 200⁰F [93 ⁰C] to make sure that the hooks will not be damaged. Care should be taken at all times not to allow the hook side of the blanket to brush up against such a hot surface.

As well, blankets should not be kept in grimy areas, or any place where dirt or molten plastics can get into the Velcro.

Other Articles:  Insulation Blankets Taking Charge   ∙    Covers for Industrial Valves

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!

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.

4. Space

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:

Aerogel

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) .

CMS Wool

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)
  • Odorless
  • Won’t contribute to corrosion
  • Sound absorbent
  • Resistance to decay, vermin, and mold

Fiberglass

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.

Mineral Wool

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.

Properties
  • Rated Temperature 2192ºF (1200ºC)
  • Absorbs sound
  • 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
Applications

This material is commonly used for the following applications:

  • Acoustical service
  • Annealing furnace linings
  • Cryogenic insulation
  • Expansion joint packing
  • Fire protection
  • Furnace kiln reformer and boiler lining
  • Furnace door lining and seals
  • Furnace repair
  • Investment casting mold wrap
  • Laboratory ovens
  • Removable insulation blankets
  • Stress-relieving 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).

Properties
  • Fabrication and lamination options available
  • Chemically inert and non-corrosive
  • Non-combustible
  • Lightweight
  • Made from natural and recycled materials; free from CFC and HCFC
  • Low moisture absorption
Applications

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.

Properties

  • Easy to install and use
  • Fabrication and lamination options available
  • Chemically inert and non-corrosive
  • Non-combustible
  • Lightweight
  • Made from natural and recycled materials; free from CFC and HCFC
  • Low moisture absorption
Applications

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.

Properties

  • 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)
Applications
  • 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).

Properties

  • 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
  • Odorless

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.

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.

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.

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.

vehicle insulation

Maximize Highway Vehicles’ Insulation Blankets Performance

To help vehicles get the most out of their insulation blankets, engineers in the trucking field should keep in mind:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

Learn More

For more information, download our eBook on “Choosing the Right Insulation Supplier.” This step-by-step, comprehensive guide is designed to help you when choosing your next insulation supplier.

 

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.

firwin charger

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!

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.

Firwin Homepage

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!