Category Archive: insulation covers

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!

Removable Insulation Covers for Industrial Valves – What to Look For

Valves are one of the most common parts to cover in the petrochemical, chemical, and oil and gas industries. Like process line piping, valves often need to be insulated to minimize heat loss for energy efficiency or to keep the contents of the materials flowing through the valve at a desired temperature. In addition, insulation blankets keep the valve parts from freezing up in cold temperature operations. However, unlike process line piping, which is often insulated with permanent insulation or cladding, valves generally must be kept accessible to maintenance personnel in case they need servicing or are required during an emergency situation. This makes valves ideal candidates for removable / reusable insulation covers.

Removable Valve Covers – What to Look For?

When dealing with removable insulation covers, one size does not fill all. Here are some variables that Firwin’s design team considers when designing removable insulation covers:

Proper fit: Valves can come in a variety of configurations—gate valves, flow valves, butterfly valves, etc.—with a large variety of makes, models, and sizes within each category. Each of these has their own unique geometry, and a custom designed insulation cover should precisely match the part for which it is intended. Valve orientation or presence of adjacent valves or piping can also affect the final blanket design. In cold weather climates, valves are also subject to glycol, water, steam, or electric heat tracing. Properly positioned cut-outs are essential for an insulation cover to fit properly and function as intended.


Insulation thickness: While removable insulation covers typically contain a 1” thick insulation material, this thickness can vary depending on the needs of the particular application. For very small valves or where clearances are an issue, a thinner 1/2” thick insulation is often called for. On the other hand, there are instances where a thicker insulation is needed due to high heat or for sound attenuation. In addition to requiring a thicker insulation, sound attenuation needs a multi‐layered construction, with an additional layer of sound dampening material. These multi‐layered covers can get as thick as 4”.

Materials: Standard construction for removable insulation covers for industrial applications include silicone or Teflon™ coated fiberglass inner and outer liners, with a fiberglass insulation in between. But certain applications may call for alternative liners or insulation material. For instance, where temperatures higher than 500°F are present, silicone/Teflon inner liners will not suffice, and a higher temperature alternative, such as Firwin HT, is necessary.

 

Removable Insulation Covers From Firwin

Since 1982, Firwin has been a leading manufacturer of custom insulation products for piping, valves, engines, and an expansive range of other industrial purposes. Our main product lines include permanent Hard Coat™ composite insulation and removable insulation blankets. Since our inception, we have been offering safe and effective insulation solutions for a variety of industries.

Along with offering top quality insulation products, we are also committed to providing exceptional customer service through sales, installation, and product selection. To learn more about Firwin’s products or to get started on a project with our team, contact us today.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

  1. Firwin’s fastening systems are extremely strong, but it is important to avoid excess force when installing your insulation blankets.
  2. It isn’t always easy, but for the best service, keep your blankets as clean as possible.
  3. Promptly remove or clean off all chemicals that cause deterioration of aluminum or silicone coatings.
  4. Avoid oil saturation; this will render your blanket’s “non-combustible” characteristics ineffective. You will then need to replace the covers.
  5. Treat blankets like all parts of the engine and inspect them regularly.
  6. 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!

Choosing the Right Material for Your Insulation Blankets – Part 4: Fastening Systems

For the final installment of our Choosing the Right Material for Your Insulation Blankets series, we are going to look at fastening systems. As we have seen, arriving at the right combination of materials for your insulation blankets takes a lot of time and expertise. The same holds true for the fastening system used to hold your insulation covers in place. Just like with outer covers, inner liners, and the insulation itself, fastening systems come in a variety of materials to fit your specific needs.

  • Stainless Steel Lacing Wire with Rivets – This rugged system stands up to high heat (1200°F/649°C) and is the most economical option available.
  • Silicone Straps with Buckles/Rings – Does not offer as high a temperature limit (500°F/260°C), but does allow for quicker installation and removal.
  • Kevlar Straps with Buckles/Rings – Kevlar has a higher temperature limit (700°F/371°C) and is more rugged than silicone. This in turn makes it a more pricey option.
  • Stainless Steel Mesh Straps with Buckles/Rings – This top of the line system is rugged and has both a high temperature limit (1200°F/649°C) and price.
  • Springs – These springs offer easy assembly and removal with a high temperature limit (1200°F/649°C). They are perfect for quick blanket assembly and disassembly.
  • Snaps – Much like springs, except we do not recommended them for curved surfaces and low volume applications.
  • Velcro (polyester) – As one might expect, Velcro goes on and off quite easily. Its big drawback is a very low temperature limit of 200°F/93°C.
  • Nomex Velcro – Much like standard Velcro except with a slightly higher heat threshold of 280°F/138°C.
  • Stainless Steel Velcro hooks with Nomex Velcro Fasteners – A somewhat expensive, high temperature Velcro (450°F/232°C) that is less sensitive to dirty environments then other Velcro products. There you have it—From the basics to material choices to the fastening systems, we have outlined all of the steps in choosing the right insulation blanket for your application.

Choosing the Right Insulation Blanket Supplier