Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on 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.
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
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. 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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Velcro Fasteners – What You Need to Know
Among 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.”
“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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on 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:
If the equipment is hot or continuously operating, workers must have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to defend against surface heat, ambient heat, steam, liquids, chemicals, and any other unsafe conditions that may arise. The installer should wear protective gloves while handling the cable lacing.
Stainless Steel Lacing Wire
Firwin’s removable industrial blankets typically use stainless steel lacing wire to wrap the blankets around the equipment and fasten the edges to the rivets on the blanket. The wire offers a reliable and durable bond that is temperature-resistant and long-lasting, even in extreme conditions. Other fastening methods are also available.
Pliers or Side Cutters
The installation technician will likely use a set of pliers or side cutters to twist and manipulate the lacing wire and fasten the blanket to the equipment. They may need to cut the wire to size once it has been laced.
Before you begin your installation, double-check that your equipment matches with the corresponding label on your blanket. Firwin’s insulation blankets come in a broad range of sizes, configurations, and designs that are specially engineered to provide optimal coverage for corresponding pieces of standard equipment. Placing the wrong blanket on a component will not offer the coverage you need and could result in unsafe gaps or overlap that reduces the efficacy of your insulation.
Have a Plan or Template
Blanket installation processes vary depending on the equipment configuration and facility. Before you begin, decide where each blanket will go and the order in which you plan to install them. Some blankets are designed to go above or below others, so you need to put a detailed installation plan in place to avoid errors or unnecessary delays.
If your system includes unions or elbows, note that both union and elbow blankets should be installed after the standard pipe insulation blankets have already been fastened.
Ensure Full Coverage
Here are some additional tips to ensure your insulation blankets are installed with optimal coverage:
Blanket flaps should overlay at the seams without creating any gaps or spaces. Even small gaps can allow heat transfer, thereby reducing the efficiency of your system.
Lace the wire around each rivet across the blanket’s seam in a crisscross pattern. Then trim and bend the excess wire to ensure that it stays in place and won’t catch on other pieces of fabric or equipment. Make sure to secure the wire on the union and elbow blankets to the rivets of the primary insulation blanket for optimal coverage and stability.
Choose Firwin for Superior Insulation Solutions
At Firwin, we are proud to offer an extensive range of removable and permanent insulation solutions for industrial equipment. Our state-of-the-art facilities allow us to custom-tailor solutions to meet the needs of any application. To learn more about our quality insulation products and services, or if you need help installing equipment, contact the experts at Firwin today!
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on 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.
Why Engines Require Insulation
To ensure optimal engine operation and reduce heat in the surrounding area, engines and exhaust systems require appropriate insulation. Adequate insulation offers the following benefits:
Heat containment. Insulation keeps the high heat generated by an engine confined around the engine and exhaust system. By maintaining the heat in the engine and exhasut system, equipment can function at optimal capacity, thereby reducing emissions.
Personnel protection and safety. Engine insulation protects employees from exposure to the extreme heat on engine surfaces and within the working environment. The amount of heat generated by an engine can cause extreme harm to individuals, resulting in burns, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Insulation also reduces noise levels, thereby protecting the hearing of workers in the vicinity.
Component shielding. In addition to protecting employees from heat, an insulated engine also protects components and sensitive equipment around the engine from heat damage.
Benefits of Firwin’s Engine Library
Firwin’s extensive engine library represents the culmination of three decades of hands-on experience in finding insulation solutions for a wide array of engine and exhaust systems and components. This familiarity with the unique components of each system has a number of benefits:
Quick Quote Turnaround Times
Given our broad range of experience with numerous engine models, we have created an extensive catalog of template designs for a wide variety of engines and components. What this means to our customers is that when they come to us with an engine that needs insulation, more often than not we already have an existing blanket kit. This means less legwork for our customers (they do not need to go to the site and take engine and exhaust measurements) and a quick quote turnaround, as all the insulation blanket pricing is already in our system.
In addition, we consistently update our insulation templates as we acquire new information, so just because a make and model does not appear on our site does not necessarily mean we do not have an existing pattern for it.
Properly Designed Blankets
Being familiar with the intricacies of an engine, and having already gone through the process of designing and fitting blankets for an engine, the resulting product is a blanket that will precisely fit your particular engine and exhaust.
If we do not have a template for your particular engine model or component, not to worry. As a full-service custom fabricator of insulation solutions, Firwin’s capabilities include designing and building custom insulation solutions for any engine and exhaust component variation. We have measuring templates that make the job of measuring easy, and we show you exactly what dimensions we require.
Examples of Engine Models in the Library
Our comprehensive engine library includes templates for insulation solutions developed over the past 30 years, catering to all manner of engine styles and components. Our library contains, but is not limited to, templates for the following:
Caterpillar Engine Insulation
Cummins Engine Insulation
Dawoo Engine Insulation
Daimler Chrysler Engine Insulation
Detroit Diesel Engine Insulation
Deutz Engine Insulation
Ford Engine Insulation
GM Engine Insulation
John Deere Engine Insulation
Lombardini Engine Insulation
Mercedes Engine Insulation
Mitsubishi Engine Insulation
Nissan Engine Insulation
Volvo Engine Insulation
Yanmar Engine Insulation
As an example of our blanket kit templates, our CAT C-18 (ACERT) kit for Caterpillar engine model C-18 includes a manifold fore, manifold aft, two turbos, and a y collector.
For more information on the vast array of engine insulation options we provide, feel free to browse Firwin’s Engine Library yourself!
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on R-Value of Insulation: Explore Our eBook
The first thought that most people have when they think of insulation is the puffy pink fiberglass typically used in the construction industry to provide insulation inside walls and attics. In applications of this type, fiberglass insulation is rated by the manufacturer with an R-value according to the material’s resistance to conductive heat flow.
What Is R-Value?
The R-value is a measure of a material’s thermal resistance. It is defined as “the quantity determined by the temperature difference, at steady state, between two defined surfaces of a material of construction that induces a unit heat flow through a unit area.” This quantity of thermal resistance, the material’s R-value, is an indicator of a material’s ability to resist heat loss and serves as a standard measure of the insulation’s effectiveness.
The R-value of a particular insulation type is dependent on several factors. Thermal resistance is determined by the material used and its thickness and density. It is essential to understand R-values because it is a crucial piece of the puzzle when determining what type of insulation materials will work best for specific applications.
When R-Value Is Important
R-value is a relative number, which means that the more effective a type of insulation is, the higher the R-value rating. The R-value of insulation is measured by determining the material’s thermal resistance at a given temperature.
In the home and building industry, the insulation R-value is usually calculated at 75°F or 24°C. However, when it comes to insulating engines, exhaust systems, and other industrial applications, temperatures can vary greatly and get extremely high. In these types of conditions, R-values become less meaningful because the value fluctuates with temperature. The R-value of an insulator at 500°F will differ significantly from its R-value at 750°F.
Additional Variables That Impact R-Value
When considering the effectiveness of insulation material, R-value is just one of many variables that can affect insulation performance. You should also account for the insulation’s environment and how it will affect its performance.
Environmental conditions that could impact the R-value and performance of insulation material include:
Exposure to Elements Like Moisture
Insulation will sometimes absorb condensation or moisture in humid conditions, which can drastically reduce the material’s R-value.
Resistance to Compression
Increased insulation thickness typically increases the R-value proportionally. However, with loose-fill insulation, compression of the insulation under its own weight causes the R-value to not change proportionately with thickness.
For insulation to perform as required for the application, the material must be rated for the proper temperature.
Vibrations from machinery and mechanical equipment can weaken some types of insulation, making it crucial to choose the right type for your application.
Insulation Thickness & Density
The R-value of a material is dependent on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. When determining the R-value of insulation that consists of more than one layer, the values of each layer are added together.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Does Insulation Cause Corrosion?
We are commonly asked this question: Does insulation cause corrosion? Given the many expenses already involved in plant maintenance, it makes sense to carefully consider factors that might contribute to corrosion—including improperly maintained insulation.
Corrosion under insulation (CUI) is a well-documented problem in processing plants, occurring when moisture builds up underneath the surface of an insulating sleeve. Depending on the piping and insulation material types and the moisture source, substrates underneath insulation maybe vulnerable to multiple corrosion types, such as:
All of these processes have the potential to severely damage pipes or containers, leading to holes and leaks that can shut down segments of a facility—or, in the worst case scenario, the entire facility.
Unfortunately, no combination of metal and insulation is completely immune to CUI, so vigilant maintenance is critical to prevent these outcomes. Still, certain solutions can minimize the risk, including those that can be easily removed and replaced for routine assessment and repair. Firwin’s removable blanket insulation offers one example of a configuration that minimizes CUI risk without sacrificing the efficacy of the system.
The Problem: Causes and Consequences of CUI
Part of the difficulty in preventing CUI is that it can occur under so many conditions. Factors that may contribute to heightened risk, include:
A constant temperature above freezing but below boiling, which is the perfect environment for condensation to form.
Subpar insulation that contains corrosive compounds or that degrades quickly.
Insulation placed improperly near sources of water.
The biggest risk factor for CUI, however, is the presence of certain chemicals that react with the metal’s surface to erode its structure. This can take several forms, depending on the specific compounds present. For example:
Galvanic corrosion is common when the insulation becomes moist in the presence of either an electrolyte or a salt. When this happens, a current can flow between the soaked insulation and the metal surface, inducing serious surface damage.
The presence of strongly basic or acidic substances can also be problematic. When granular insulations absorb both water and an alkali or acid, the chemicals can remain on the insulated metal’s surface even as the water evaporates, leading to alkaline or acidic corrosion.
Chloride from industrial processes or natural sources is particularly harmful to stainless steel surfaces, especially when it becomes imbued in a wet insulating sleeve. Chemical corrosion can occur even when the processing equipment itself does not contain harsh chemicals—chloride, for instance, can come from rainwater, a common source of CUI.
While different factors are responsible for each of these categories of CUI, all corrosive damage may be worsened by rigid or permanent insulation. Ideally, technicians should be able to regularly remove insulation to inspect the underlying metal for signs of wear. Failure to do so allows chemical damage to compound until the vessel is irreparable.
Additionally, a permanently insulated fixture might accumulate corrosive damage more quickly as buildup can’t easily be cleaned during routine maintenance. These challenges are especially pronounced in process facilities that routinely handle high quantities of potentially corrosive chemicals, or in piping that experiences routine exposure to the elements.
The Solution to CUI
The primary solution to CUI is to replace rigid or permanent insulation with a removable solution. In doing so, it becomes much easier to monitor the state of process piping without causing additional damage to the surface.
The benefits of this investment are substantial. Removable insulation not only makes routine inspections and maintenance easier, but it also facilitates easier repair. Permanent insulation is difficult to replace without damaging the pipe, but removable covers can easily be taken off of individual segments of machinery or process piping when the exterior begins to breakdown. This advantage can add up to substantial savings over the lifetime of your equipment.
Firwin Insulation Solutions
All of Firwin’s removable insulation covers are engineered for easy access without sacrificing performance. Our covers cling closely to the piping or vessel for a snug fit that repels moisture. Lower quality removable blankets lack this excellent fit, which can sometimes hasten corrosion (rather than preventing it) by allowing additional avenues for moisture to enter.
We produce removable insulation solutions to fit various engine parts and piping systems, including diesel engines that generate enough heat to create a higher risk of CUI. Our solutions not only contain and manage this heat, but do so while mitigating the risk of corrosion.
To learn more about our completely customizable options for insulation and corrosion protection, get in touch with Firwin’s team today.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on What to Know About Boiler Insulation
According to the guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Energy, any surfaces with temperatures above 120°F should always be insulated. This includes all parts of boilers, such as doors, steam drum covers, and piping. While frequently overlooked, boiler pipe insulation is essential; proper boiler insulation leads to energy conservation, employee safety, and increased efficiency in all types of operations.
The Benefits of Boiler Pipe Insulation
Significant heat loss can cause a number of issues, including loss of money and hazardous work environments. Installing heating pipe insulation is an excellent way to prevent these problems and take advantage of a wide variety of benefits.
Loss of heat means loss of energy, which leads to higher expenses. If boiler pipes are left exposed as they carry heated fluid, more energy is needed to keep the boiler functioning at the optimal level. Boiler pipe insulation will prevent the loss of thermal energy and maintain low energy costs.
When you lose significant amounts of heat, the system needs to work harder to reach high temperatures and keep fluids heated. By insulating boiler pipes, you ensure your boiler can heat up more easily and rapidly. This saves both time and money.
Insulated boiler pipes can raise hot water temperatures by 2° F to 4° F higher than uninsulated pipes. In the long term, this can lead to 3-4% energy savings every year. If you’re interested in learning exactly how much money you might be losing due to lack of insulation, there’s now a way for you to find out: the National Mechanical Insulation Committee has developed a calculator that lets you determine potential energy savings from both bare and insulated pipes, as well as flat surfaces.
Proper insulation creates a safer work environment for you and your employees. When boiler pipes are left uninsulated, they become extremely hot. Employees working near these structures are then at risk for serious burns and other injuries if they come into contact with the heated component. With proper insulation, you will protect your employees from injury and prevent costly lawsuits.
When deciding to install boiler pipe insulation, it is vital to consider the different types available. There are two main options from which to choose: removable or permanent. Here are some details about each one’s specific functions and benefits to help you pick the best option for your needs.
Removable insulation is incredibly flexible, making it ideal for situations where you frequently need to inspect or maintain your system. It is quick and easy to install and can be removed whenever you need access to your component. This makes it a convenient way to effectively reduce your heat and energy loss without committing to a permanent fixture.
Permanent insulation is common in situations where consistent access to the system is not needed. This type of insulation is durable and sturdy, permanently enclosing the component being insulated. It is ideal for small spaces that require long-term insulation but do not need to be frequently accessed.
There are a variety of factors that go into choosing the appropriate material for your insulation :
The maximum temperatures reached by the insulated component
Whether the component is indoors or outdoors
Potential exposure to the elements
Desired “touch temperature” of the component’s outer surface
Desired system heat retention
Necessity and frequency of insulation removal
Contact Firwin for Boiler Pipe Insulation
At Firwin, we manufacture a wide range of insulation products for every need, from boiler pipe insulation to industrial applications. Since 1982, we have been creating high quality products to ensure the safety and peace of mind of our clients.
To learn more about our boiler pipe insulation, contact us today to speak to our experts and discuss your specific project.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Guide to Heat Tracing
Temperature regulation poses a challenge for many industrial piping processes. Even in warmer climates, heat loss can prevent pipes from remaining at the optimal temperature for their operations and contents, which threatens productivity and product quality, respectively.
Heat tracing, also known as trace heating, offers a solution to controlling pipe temperatures. The system involves running an electric heating element along the length of a pipe, often coupled with insulation, to facilitate even heating. The combination of thermal insulation with an active heating element provides a finer level of temperature control for pipes and vessels that is critical to many industries.
Why Use Heat Tracing?
Heat tracing is a highly versatile method of maintaining pipe or vessel temperatures. For some applications, it is used to prevent freezing during the winter, which is a significant threat to productivity. Even in applications where freezing is not a primary concern, heat tracing is one of the more efficient ways to ensure that pipes and vessels remain at the proper operating or processing temperature.
How Does Insulation Complement Heat Tracing?
To maximize the benefits of heat tracing, many installations also incorporate insulation. The layer of insulation bundles the heat tracing element and pipes together, helping maintain the interior temperature, reduce thermal loss, and maximize energy efficiency.
Applications of Heat Tracing
Applications for heat tracing commonly center around the oil and gas industries. Production, processing, and storage equipment in these industries generally require the maintenance of specific operating temperatures for optimal performance and productivity. For example, high temperatures are necessary to bring oil or gas to the surface during extraction. Some of the other functions of heat tracing in the oil and gas industries include maintenance of set temperatures during refining and storing processes and winterizing processing facilities in colder climates.
Additional industries where heat tracing is employed, include:
In these industries, heat tracing represents a cost-effective and energy-efficient management solution for applications like:
Winterizing or freeze protecting pipes, tanks, and storage vessels
Maintaining the temperature of storage tanks and hot water distribution pipes
Integrating underfloor, roof, or gutter heating
Heating walkways, roads, and other passenger and vehicle access areas to minimize snow and ice buildup
Heat Tracing Solutions From Firwin
An effective heat tracing setup requires high-quality components, including insulation, which largely influences how efficiently the system maintains and manages heat. At Firwin, we provide a full range of high-performance insulation for use with heat tracing.
Our durable insulation blankets—also referred to as insulation covers or jackets—are our flagship product. Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and configurations, all of our blankets are crafted from multi-layered performance materials and feature secure fastening systems to ensure a snug fit. No matter what component you’re seeking to protect, we offer a standard or customized insulation solution that can reduce the amount of heat loss in your system, maximizing the efficiency of your heat tracing.
Our extensive inventory of insulation blankets includes:
Exposure to extreme temperatures and chemicals reduces the active service life of upstream equipment. Our tight-sealing valve covers fit over important junctions, keeping them safe from temperature fluctuations and other damaging environmental factors.
Uncovered flanges can lead to heat loss at multiple points of a piping system. To prevent this, our removable insulation blankets are custom-designed to fit over all types and sizes of flanges.
Vessel and Manway Covers
In addition to maximizing efficiency, maintaining safety is another key concern regarding pipe tracing. In certain situations, vessels and manways can become somewhat hot, which can pose a risk to operators, service technicians, and passers-by. To prevent burns, our vessel and manway covers both trap heat and prevent direct contact with hot surface metal.
Instrumental Panel Covers
Complex and sensitive instrumentation also requires protection. Our removable insulation blankets provide excellent heat retention to the equipment as needed while allowing for ease of removal and reapplication.
Contact Firwin for Heat Trace Insulation Solutions
Heat tracing allows for efficient and cost-effective thermal regulation. The addition of insulation further increases its advantages. At Firwin, we carry high-quality insulation solutions for a wide range of industrial applications.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Introduction to 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
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
Our 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.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Can removable insulation blankets keep pipe contents from freezing ?
Removable insulation blankets are great at managing heat. Be it by lowering the ambient heat in an engine room, protecting workers from hot surfaces, or shielding pipe contents from cold external temperatures, removable insulation covers are often the solution of choice where heat must be managed, but permanent insulation is not feasible.
Gate Valve with Glycol Tracing,, wrapped with Removable Insulation Blanket
But there is one thing that removable insulation blankets cannot do – they cannot add heat. “We often get asked, particularly in cold weather applications, if our blankets can keep pipe contents or components from freezing”, said Brett Herman, Firwin`s VP of Sales & Engineering. “The answer is that while we can contain heat and delay heat loss by sheltering pipe components from cold external temperatures, our insulation blankets can`t add any heat that isn`t already there.”
Where insulation blankets can help, however, is where companies have some sort of heat tracing on their piping, and they want to minimize the amount of heat lost to the environment, and thus maximize the efficiency of their heat tracing.
Heat Tracing Challenges
“Companies, particularly in the oil and gas industry, and often in other industries such as mining, chemical, and food processing, use heat tracing to keep pipe or container contents from freezing. In cold temperatures, this heat tracing, if left un-insulated, becomes much less effective. Firwin has done a number of applications in this area, covering the component and the heat tracing, increasing efficiency and lowering the heat that escapes to the environment”, added Brett.
Like other removable insulation blanket applications, a properly designed blanket is key to ensuring that the heat tracing is properly insulated. “There are various type of heat tracing in the marketplace today – steam, glycol, hot oil, and electric”, said Rael Herman, Firwin’s VP of Production & New Product Development.
“In some instances, the entire component in covered by a ‘bolt-on heat jacket, changing the entire geometry of the part”. What they all have in common is the need to be wrapped tightly, so as to minimize the amount of heat that is lost to the environment. The challenge, when it comes to insulation blankets, is to design a blanket that will account for the sometime difficult geometries and penetration access points that often come hand in hand with heat tracing”, said Rael.
Firwin Blanket custom designed to fit glycol penetrations
What about situations where the customer is not familiar with heat tracing, or where heat tracing is not a viable option ? “We have done applications where we have incorporated a heat source into the insulation cover (see previous article on “pizza blankets“)”, notes Brett. “Regardless of who supplies the heat tracing, what’s important is ensuring that the the insulation blankets are designed in such a way as to tightly cover the components in question, while allowing for penetration points that typically accompany tracing of valves and similar components”.
For more information on removable insulation blankets and heat tracing, please contact Firwin.