Category Archive: removable insulation jackets

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:

  • Chemical production and processing
  • Food processing
  • Mining
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Power generation
  • Storage
  • Water and waste processing

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:

Valve Covers

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.

valve insulation cover

Flange Covers

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.

manway insulation cover

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.

To learn more about our product offerings, contact us or request a quote today.

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

Other Solutions

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.