Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Why Work With a One-Stop-Shop Insulation Blanket Supplier?
Insulation blankets serve a number of important functions in various industries and industrial applications. For example, they can be used to protect workers from hot system parts, increase energy efficiency in equipment, shield heat-sensitive components, and/or lower ambient temperatures.
Once you’ve determined you need insulation blankets for your facility, you need to decide from whom you will source them. However, making this decision can be challenging. A quick Google search reveals that there are numerous insulation blanket suppliers, all of whom offer different product and service capabilities. Ideally, the one you choose should meet all of your product and service needs under a single roof, which is why industry professionals often choose to work with a one-stop-shop insulation blanket supplier. In addition to providing you with the products and services you’re looking for, they can benefit your company in many ways.
The following blog post provides an overview of the reasons why you should work with a one-stop-shop insulation blanket supplier.
Broader Experience and Expertise
One-stop-shop suppliers generally have designers, engineers, and other experts on staff. The cumulative knowledge and skills from these experts allow the supplier to ensure each stage of the insulation blanket manufacturing process proceeds with the highest level of accuracy, precision, and quality possible. Additionally, custom products can be designed, prototyped, and testing with greater ease and speed.
Better Product Performance
Since measurement, design, and fabrication of the insulation blanket occurs under one roof, there is less potential for miscommunication. As a result, you can rest assured that your insulation blanket will be manufactured to your specifications and standards. Additionally, you can make adjustments to the product much easier and faster, if needed.
Some one-stop-shop insulation blanket suppliers have an in-house library of blanket patterns for OEM parts, which allows them to produce appropriate insulation products without needing to take measurements of your exact equipment. As a result, you save time and money without sacrificing product fit or performance.
Greater Quality Assurance
Keeping the design, fabrication, and testing of your insulation blankets under one roof allows you to maintain greater oversight at each stage of the manufacturing process. As a result, you can better ensure the quality standard remains consistent from one manufacturing stage to the next. Additionally, you can guarantee the supplier produces the products to your exact specifications.
Improved Process Simplicity and Efficiency
By having one manufacturer in charge of the design, fabrication, and testing of your insulation blankets, you can improve the simplicity and efficiency of the manufacturing process. Instead of communicating and coordinating with multiple vendors, you can manage your order through a single point of contact.
Enhanced Control Over Your Product and Project
Working with a one-stop-shop supplier allows you to have a much greater level of control over your product. If you want to make any changes to your product and order, you only need to communicate with one organization, making it much easier and faster to tailor your insulation blankets to your exact needs.
Increased Manufacturing Capacity
Whether you require prototyping or full-scale manufacturing, your insulation blanket supplier should be able to accommodate your production demands. One-stop-shop suppliers often have the equipment necessary to produce prototypes and large quantities of custom-tailored products.
Simplify Your Project With Firwin
At Firwin, we are a one-stop-shop insulation blanket supplier. We handle every stage of the manufacturing process, from initial design to production to shipping. By partnering with us, our customers benefit from broader experience and expertise, better product performance, greater quality assurance capabilities, improved process simplicity and efficiency, enhanced product and project control, and increased manufacturing flexibility.
To learn more about our insulation blanket capabilities or partner with us for your insulation needs, contact us or request a quote today.
Fire pumps are perhaps the most critical component of any building’s fire protection system. It’s essential that your facility has safe, reliable equipment that meets all applicable safety standards. UL’s safety standards are some of the most important for ensuring your fire protection equipment is enough to keep the building safe.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a third-party testing and listing agency that certifies equipment as safe in various applications. It also lists companies as certified manufacturers under UL’s rigorous requirements. UL is tasked with testing fire pumps and engines to evaluate their reliability, durability, and more. Specifically, UL evaluates the equipment with requirements in these four areas:
It’s essential that your facility has fire protection equipment that is UL-certified. Not only does this keep your facility compliant with other requirements, such as OSHA’s safety standards, but it’s also a strong indication of the overall quality of the components used in your system. Equipment that can satisfy UL’s requirements is much more likely to perform as expected in an emergency.
Fire Pump Exhaust Insulation
Like other engine-powered equipment, fire pumps engines can produce a tremendous amount of heat. This can be extremely dangerous to workers or customers in the surrounding areas who might accidentally touch the exposed surfaces.
Surface contact isn’t the only danger of high heat levels, however. The equipment can pour a lot of heat into the surrounding air. If temperatures in the ambient space around the equipment get too high, it may impact the ability of employees to do their jobs without expensive personal protective gear or other safety equipment. Constant high temperatures can also damage surrounding equipment and cause additional indirect harm to building infrastructure.
Insulation covers offer a simple and affordable solution to heat-related issues. Most fire pump and engine-powered systems need to have insulation covers or blankets as part of their total safety process.
These covers fit snugly over the surface of each exhaust pipe and heat-generating component to lock the heat inside. The outside of the insulation blankets then becomes safer to the touch, and the ambient temperature of the space lowers. The covers also help ensure better safety and operation of the fire pump.
The insulation blankets themselves also need to meet safety standards to ensure reliable performance. That’s where Firwin comes in.
Firwin’s Fire Pump Insulation Expertise
Firwin is a leading manufacturer of insulation blankets and covers for a wide range of industrial and commercial systems. Our company is a UL 2200-listed manufacturer, and we have been creating UL-compliant insulation products for nearly 40 years. Fire pump insulation projects are one of our specialties, and our team can create a custom series of insulation blankets that fit your fire pump’s exhaust pipes exactly to guarantee the highest level of safety.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Happy Manufacturing Day From the Firwin Team
Manufacturing plays a huge role in the economy and is the pillar of many small communities. To honor this impact, we recognize Manufacturing Day, which is celebrated every year on the first Friday in October. This year, it falls on October 2. It’s an opportunity for manufacturers across the country to honor and highlight their employees and the work they do while bringing attention to the manufacturing sector and the career possibilities for future skilled workers. Firwin Corp is proud to celebrate with our fellow manufacturers.
Firwin, Leading Manufacturer and Family Business Since 1982
Before being acquired by Paul and Miriam Herman in 1989, Firwin got its name from founders Dave Fireman and Paul Winn in 1982. This small family business has become a leader in the fabrication of removable insulation blankets and permanent Hard Coat insulation solutions.
From the beginning, Firwin led with a simple question: How can we help you? This dedication to serving our clients is still a cornerstone of the business as the next generation of the Herman family takes over key roles within the company.
Commitment to Manufacturing Excellence and Innovation
The best companies are able to serve their clients over the course of decades because they are committed to growth and improvement. We’ve made large investments in research and development, so we can create the best products using the most efficient technology. At Firwin, we strive to stay on top of industry trends and best practices, so we’re always ready with the insulation solutions you need, when you need them.
Looking to the Future
As we celebrate Manufacturing Day this year, we can’t help but reflect upon our long history as we look to the future. The same values that brought us this far will carry us forward: innovative ideas, manufacturing excellence, and stellar customer care. We’re excited to see what’s next for our team and the manufacturing industry.
Manufacturing Day connects manufacturers with the community and with each other. It’s a reminder that we’re all in this together, and that we all have a responsibility to inspire the next generation to manufacturing excellence. To that end, we’d like to encourage parents, teachers, and students to learn more about what we do by attending a virtual event or contacting a local manufacturer. This sector is home to a variety of exciting jobs that match diverse interests, from design to engineering to customer care. You can explore virtual events available this year on Creators Wanted’s page.
As we celebrate the wide range of manufacturing contributions in every industry, we also acknowledge the challenges we face together. We look to solutions that serve our communities and pave the way for the next generation of manufacturers. Contact the experts at Firwin to learn more about Manufacturing Day and custom insulation solutions.
Posted by Sidney Tannenbaum on | Comments Off on During COVID-19, Firwin is Continuing Regular Operations
March 31, 2020
Dear Firwin Customers and Suppliers,
Please note that Firwin is continuing regular operations as an essential service provider based on the Government of Ontario directive that “Manufacturing Businesses that support and facilitate the two-way movement of essential goods within integrated North America are considered to be essential services”. We continue to maintain all of our regular operations subject to any governmental restrictions and labor availability.
Please note that during this challenging period our standard delivery time is extended to 3-4 weeks and some orders may be delayed from time to time. Please notify Firwin about critical, time-sensitive orders so that we can try our best to accommodate them.
Firwin is taking all necessary precautions to safeguard our employees under the current COVID-19 conditions. Included in this effort is cancelling any visits to our facility from customers or vendors. Firwin is also curtailing any site visits for measuring and installation. If this poses a challenge, please contact us by phone (877-347-9467) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to make alternative arrangements.
At this challenging time for all of us, we would like to extend our thanks to our suppliers for their continued support and efforts. We also want to thank our customers for their continued business and understanding.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Sound Attenuation Solutions
Diesel-powered equipment offers some tremendous advantages, but it does come with one consistently difficult challenge: Noise. The ambient noise levels caused by diesel equipment can be deafening, which can pose a substantial safety risk to operators and personnel. Decreasing this risk requires a careful sound attenuation strategy.
While insulation blankets may help to dampen sound, they are often far more effective when combined with specialized sound attenuation material like barriers, panels, or curtains. Firwin’s experts draw on decades of experience in sound management to engineer a solution customized to meet the needs of your facility.
Background: What is Sound?
Understanding sound attenuation technologies requires a bit of background on what sound actually is. At its simplest, sound is a vibration that the ear can interpret based on changes in atmospheric pressure. The level of perceived sound pressure depends not only on what causes this initial vibration but also on the acoustic traits of the surroundings. Some rooms will naturally amplify sound waves while others are specifically designed to absorb and minimize the disturbance before it reaches the ear.
Sound can be quantified in Decibels (dBs), which is especially useful when discussing personnel safety. The human ear can only tolerate certain noise levels without sustaining damage, up to and including permanent hearing loss. OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.95 dictates the upper limit of tolerable noise as being 85 dBs.
Sound can also be classified by frequency levels, which are interpreted to the ear as different pitches. These vibration frequencies are measured in Hertz (Hz). Isolating and addressing a noise problem requires careful attention to both frequency and volume.
To do this, analysts will break down all present frequencies into eight or nine octave bands. They will then analyze the resulting octave band frequency report in combination with a report of dB ratings in the same room. This provides a full picture of the acoustic situation in the room, allowing an engineer to develop a solution that addresses the specific problem in context of any physical constraints.
Sound Attenuation Materials
Insulation solutions typically combine several materials, each intended to either absorb or block sound. Providing physical barriers in this way can prevent sound leakage and decrease the overall level of sound in a room.
Different materials are better suited to noises of different frequencies. For instance, fiberglass and mineral wool are known to be very effective against high-frequency sounds. Lower frequency sounds are more complicated because they consist of longer wavelengths that are harder to absorb. In these cases, thicker materials and barriers must be used to absorb as much of the wavelength as possible.
Safety is another key consideration for material selection. Sound attenuation is typically necessary in hazardous industrial environments, meaning that any solution must be able to withstand intense heat and other harsh environmental factors. At Firwin, we construct our blankets using only non-combustible materials that conform to MIL and UL fire standards, ensuring that all our products can hold up to extreme temperatures.
Firwin takes pride in offering custom solutions for every client we work with, selecting the most appropriate materials and structures to match the layout and operating conditions of every facility.
For engine rooms, we typically choose to insulate the walls with tightly packed fibrous glass, mineral wool, or open-cell foam panels, providing effective absorption of high-frequency noise. In other situations, we might opt for a composite such as Firwin BTMM14C. Composites are advantageous when there is a fuller octave spectrum of noise pollution present.
We’ll also consider whether your equipment requires regular maintenance or inspection. If so, we might include removable sound blankets as a part of your solution, making it easy to remove and replace as needed.
We understand that sound attenuation can be complicated, so we’ve created a whitepaper that simplifies material selection for facilities working with diesel equipment. This resource breaks down the most common absorption materials, including comparison charts and tables. It also presents transmission loss and STC information for our composite absorber/barriers used in engine rooms and containers.
To learn more about Firwin’s sound attenuation solutions, download our whitepaper, “Sound Attenuation – Diesel Powered Equipment.” Feel free to contact us with any specific questions.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Insulation & Underground Mining: How to Increase Mining Equipment Safety with the Right Insulation
Underground mining operations may differ around the world, but they pose similar risks to worker health and safety. Different techniques are used to extract metals, gems, coal, and other materials, but the hazards are similar for most of these applications. According to the United States Department of Labor, Mining Health, and Safety Administration (MHSA), 70% of mining accidents in the U.S. involve using heavy machinery and other equipment at worksites.
Mining Safety Challenges and Worker Risks
According to the MHSA, the following are among the top causes contributing to accidents in 2012:
A lack of safety training
Poor hazard communication
Insufficient lockout/tagout precautions
Faulty electrical wiring
Improper machine guards
Hydraulic oil spills igniting on hot engine surfaces
Oil seeping into insulation covers, which poses a potential fire hazard
Operators burned in confined mine tunnels
Insulation failing to meet machine-guarding requirements
How Insulation Meets These Challenges
At Firwin, we offer insulation solutions that help to address the safety challenges posed by mining applications. These include:
Our MineWrap™ removable insulation blanket, which features an inner lining fabricated from stainless steel, prevents oil from being absorbed into the insulation. MineWrap’s™ exterior can be reinforced with a stainless steel mesh cover to make the blanket more resistant to punctures and the rugged underground mining environment.
Firwin’s Hard Coat™ composite insulation, a permanent insulation solution applied directly to the component that is being insulated. This is in contrast to MineWrap™, which is wrapped and fastened around the engine or exhaust components and can be removed and reinstalled.
Whether mining operations choose permanent or removable insulation solutions, insulation from Firwin ensures that the insulation material will be completely enclosed and shielded from exterior elements. This mitigates the dangers posed by equipment oil and fluid leaks that could otherwise seep into the insulation and pose fire hazards.
In addition, proper insulation reduces the ambient heat of diesel-powered equipment, and shields workers from burns. Using proper insulation also helps catalysts burn exhaust pollutants more effectively by maintaining the optimal high exhaust temperature as the exhaust travels along the piping.
Mining Vehicle – Minewrap Mark III and Firwin HC Insulation
Improved Mining Safety with Firwin
Underground mining operations inherently pose health and safety risks to the workers in the mine. Among the biggest causes of mining accidents are electrical wiring, machine-guarding, and oil seeping into insulation covers. Proper insulation is critical to safe operation, especially when used for machine-guarding.
Insulating exposed hot exhaust components is important in underground mines, but will only be effective if users select the correct insulation system. Failing to do so may add new safety concerns in the mine. Firwin’s MineWrap Removable Blankets and Hard Coat Composite Insulation are specifically designed to effectively insulate exhaust components used in mining operations in a way that addresses many of the safety hazards common among underground mining operations.
Firwin is a leading manufacturer of custom insulation products for exhaust systems, combustion engines, and an expansive range of other industrial purposes. Our main product lines include removable insulation blankets and permanent Hard Coat™ composite insulation. We are an experienced company that has been providing safe and effective insulation solutions to a wide range of industries since 1982.
In addition to providing high-quality insulation products, we are committed to offering superior customer service through product selection, sales, installation, and beyond. If you’d like more information on Firwin’s products for the mining industry, download our whitepaper. If you still have questions or would like to get more information about our services, feel free to contact us today.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Fasteners 101
Firwin’s removable insulation blankets are generally fastened with stainless steel lacing wire, which we supply with most of our insulation orders. Occasionally, a customer requires an alternate fastening system. Sometimes, the customer’s application may require quick installation or frequent installation and removal of the insulation blankets.
To suit the needs of these customers, we also carry several types of fasteners. Our versatile range of insulation blankets can also be fastened with straps, snaps, springs, and Velcro. These options provide alternative fastening systems and more accessible ways of opening and closing insulation blankets.
Every fastening method has benefits and idiosyncrasies, making it is important to consider which one is right for your application. While choosing a fastener type for your insulation blanket, you should ask yourself the following questions.
How often will the insulation blanket be accessed?
Are there any environmental factors, such as temperature, potential water exposure, or corrosive elements, that need to be accounted for?
What will the installation process look like?
How much give do you require from your insulation blankets?
Is this a self-install or will you use a professional contractor?
With answers to those questions, you can go about choosing the fastener that is right for your specific application.
Applications and Benefits of Each Fastener Type
As outlined below, each fastener type is suited for specific applications:
Stainless Steel Lacing Wire
Our most common insulation blanket fastener is stainless steel lacing wire. Stainless steel lacing wire provides an extra secure fit and durability.
Benefits provided by stainless steel lacing wire include:
It can be bent or tied into any configuration necessary.
Stainless steel is highly corrosion resistant.
It is highly durable, and so you will not need to maintain or repair it.
Our silicone or Teflon straps can be used to fasten insulation blankets for a speedy installation. The benefits of straps include:
Can be pulled taught for snug fit
Straps are strong, weather-resistant, non-abrasive, and low-stretch
Straps can be fitted into a variety of locations.
Easier and more intuitive than lacing wire
Firwin created our own proprietary spring system for attaching insulation blankets. Unimpressed with other spring fastener solutions, we worked with a local manufacturer to develop a spring fastener that was simple to use with a long service life. Some of the benefits of springs include:
Springs are corrosion resistant, making them ideal for applications with corrosive environmental factors.
They can be taken on and off easily for temporary applications or uses that require frequent removal and reinstallation.
Springs maintain their integrity over time; they do not degrade.
Springs can operate at high temperatures.
We also offer snap closures to our insulation blankets, a cost-effective alternative. The benefits of snaps include:
Excellent shear strength.
Can be released quickly and easily when pulled at from an angle, making them great for quick-removal applications.
Snaps may not be an appropriate fastening solution for blanket setups that have complex geometries, or in applications that require give when fastening the blankets.
Velcro offers an ideal solution for fastening blankets quickly and easily. The applications vary widely for Velcro, as it can be used on its own or as a supporting fastener in conjunction with other fasteners.
Velcro is made of a variety of materials, such as stainless steels, nylon, and polyester Which type of Velcro should be used will depend entirely on the application. As the tiny Velcro hooks are vulnerable to damage, it’s critical to ensure that the Velcro material can handle environmental factors of the operation. For example, high temperature applications may require more expensive Nomex or stainless-steel Velcro.
The benefits of Velcro as a fastener for insulation blankets include:
Easy installation and removal
Good for low temperature applications
Affordable (though certain Velcro types such as Nomex or stainless steel come at a premium)
Fasteners from Firwin
There are many different fastening methods available; the most appropriate method for a given application depends on a number of variables – cost, temperature, frequency of removal, speed of installation, and others. At Firwin, we work together with our customers to arrive at the best fastening method for their particular situation.
To learn more about the types of fasteners that Firwin offers, or with questions about fasteners for your specific application, please contact us today.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Finding the Right Insulation Material
Insulation blankets (also known as insulation covers or insulation jackets) come in a variety of material options, some of which are better suited to certain tasks and environments than others. You need to ensure that your chosen material can meet the demands of your specific application as efficiently as possible.
Our quick guide to the most common insulation materials can ensure that you have the information you need to make an informed decision regarding the right insulation solution for your particular situation, while saving you time and money down the line.
General Insulation Materials
Doesn’t cause corrosion in metals
Temperature limit of 1200°F (649°C) leaves it poorly suited to higher temperature applications
Temperature limit of 2192°F (1200°C)
Slightly more expensive than fiberglass
Low moisture absorption
Excellent thermal resistance
Shares the same temperature limits as fiberglass
Top-of-the-line insulation material
Aluminized Fiberglass or Mirrored Fiberglass
Maintains structural integrity at temperatures up to 1000°F (538°C)
Aluminum coating breaks down at 450°F (230°C)
Heavy Duty Silicone
Ideal for challenging outdoor applications where resistance to wear and tear is necessary
Stainless Steel Laminate Fiberglass
Perfect for applications that require high resistance to oil, chemical, and fire
Stainless Steel Mesh 304
Temperature range up to 1200°F (649°C)
Stainless Steel Mesh 309,316
High temperature range of 1800°F (982°C)
Stainless Steel Mesh Foil with Mesh Cover
Same as 309 but offers fluid barrier
Stainless Steel Mesh Inconel
Top-of-the-line liner with high temperature range of 2300°F (1260°C)
Outer Cover & Inner Liner
Silicone Impregnated Fiberglass
Standard outer cover for most applications
Can serve as inner liner at temperatures greater than 500°F
PTFE Coated Fiberglass
Effective alternative to silicone in paint, food, and chemical applications thanks to broad chemical resistance
Low cost alternative to silicone and PTFE
Non-coated fabric used as outer cover and inner liner when temperatures exceed 500°F (260°C)
Multi-use, non-coated fabric
Great in temperatures greater than 1300°F (982°C)
Stainless Steel Lacing Wire with Rivets
Withstands high heat (1200°F/649°C)
More cost-effective than other options
Silicone Straps with Buckles/Rings
Can be quickly installed and removed
Has a lower temperature limit (500°F/260°C)
Kevlar Straps with Buckles/Rings
Greater durability and higher temperature limit (700°F/371°C) than silicone
Stainless Steel Mesh Straps with Buckles/Rings
Rugged top-of-the-line system with a high temperature limit (1200°F/649°C)
Easily assembled and removed
High temperature limit (1200°F/649°C)
Very similar to springs
Poorly suited to curved surfaces and low volume applications
Easily applied and removed
Very low temperature limit of 200°F/93°C
Similar to standard Velcro, but has a slightly higher heat threshold (280°F/138°C)
Stainless Steel Velcro hooks with Nomex Velcro Fasteners
ess sensitive to dirty environments than other Velcro products
It can be a challenge to find the right insulation blanket, cover, or jacket. Fortunately, the experts at Firwin are ready to help you choose the correct insulation material or combination for your application. Read our free eBook to learn about everything you should look for in your insulation blanket supplier.
Our business was built on our commitment to provide our customers with the best insulation solution for their particular situation, and it’s from this strong foundation that we’ve emerged as a leading insulation solutions provider for companies across a diverse range of industries.
Insulation solutions for a variety of industries — Firwin creates reliable, practical products for many different industries, from power generation and mining to military and marine.
Diverse insulation applications — Our products are used for various applications, such as exhaust piping covers, silencer insulation, engine insulation, turbines, industrial solutions, and vehicle insulation.
Stocked insulation and safety products — Insulation material, tapes, sleeves, hose wraps, spray shields, and sound attenuation solutions are among our most popular stocked products.
Firwin adheres to the highest standards of design and manufacturing, and we invest in the best technology available today. Here’s a breakdown of our key technical capabilities and resources:
Team of skilled engineers
Design processes using software programs including AutoCAD and SolidWorks
We understand the unique needs of growing OEMs. When Firwin creates a custom insulation solution for a client, we ensure:
Designs are scalable for shifting manufacturing capacities
Detailed pricing matrices and catalog lists are kept on hand by our responsive sales team
Product support is at your fingertips
For a better illustration of how Firwin helps our customers, a couple of case studies are outlined below.
Ship Lagging Overhaul: A Marine Application
Problem — A fleet of drill ships was experiencing torn exhaust lagging, or insulation. The customer wanted Firwin to construct removable insulation blankets that would meet specific size and thickness specifications set by the customer. Rather than just produce blankets to a specific spec without knowledge of the components they were meant to cover, Firwin encouraged the customer to share more of their product details and allow Firwin’s engineers to determine the most appropriate blanket design that would best meet the customer’s needs; the customer agreed.
Solution — Firwin’s design team prepared two options for the customer, both elegant solutions that would cover both the exhaust flex and upper/lower flanges while meeting the customer’s specifications: 1) a single blanket that would cover the flex and the flanges (similar to the client’s original solution), and 2) a three-blanket solution, in which separate blankets would be made for the flex and flanges. The customer chose the three-blanket solution, as it would provide more flexibility and greater ease of use.
Heat Flow Analysis and Containment: A Non-OEM Application
Problem — A company needed to insulate a silencer located in their in-house testing room as they were concerned about its high heat generation within the limited space. To assess how much insulation would be required to properly protect the equipment, Firwin conducted a heat flow analysis.
Solution — Using new flow simulation software, a dramatic improvement over past technology, the Firwin team was able to use accurate data validation to inform the client’s insulation decision. Firwin’s heat flow analysis indicated that only the top of the silencer needed to be insulated to achieve the desired heat containment. The client moved forward with insulating the recommended portion of the equipment and successfully reduced the silencer’s heat generation, without needlessly spending money on blankets for the entire silencer body.
Find the Custom Solution You’ve Been Looking For
Beginning as a small family business, Firwin has grown to become an industry leader in custom insulation products for wide-ranging industrial applications across the world.
Posted by Firwin on | Comments Off on Gimme Some Space – How Much Clearance is Necessary for an Insulation Blanket?
Insulation Blankets – Thicknesses and Clearances
It is important that there is enough room around any component being insulated to allow enough space not only for the insulation blanket, but also for sufficient air space between the insulation blanket and any nearby surfaces. A lack of air space between the outer surface of an insulation blanket and another object can cause a heat build up on the blanket’s outer surface and possible deterioration of the blanket material.
With the typical blanket thickness of one inch, the question arises as to what to do with applications that require removable insulation, but have low clearances around all or part of the components to be covered?
“Insulating areas with low clearances can be an issue, but it often depends on the particulars of an application and what the client is
wishing to achieve”, said Brett Herman, Firwin’s VP of Sales & Engineering. “For instance, sometimes just thinning out the insulation in areas of low clearance will still give the client sufficient insulation performance for the needs of his particular application. If, on the other hand, we are dealing with a relatively high temperature application, and the client has a particular temperature reduction goal that he wishes to achieve – this could be for personnel protection, or to ensure that nearby heat sensitive components are shielded from overheating – Whatever the reason, a lack of clearance means we are limited in the thickness of insulation that we can apply, which in turn can limit the amount of heat reduction that results”.
Solutions for Low Clearance Issues
So what solutions are available for situations where clearances restrictions would seem to limit the use of insulation blankets? “In situations where the client needs to achieve a certain temperature reduction, and there is insufficient room for the thickness that would be needed with standard fiberglass insulation, we have other solutions that we can offer to help the client achieve his goals”, said Brett.
“The first possibility we would look at is upgrading to a higher temperature insulation, such as MW1800 or FW2000+. These insulations have a higher temperature rating than our standard fiberglass FW1200, and sometimes when all that is needed is a small increase in insulation performance at a given thickness, these insulations will do the trick, with the price premium being relatively small “, notes Brett.
“If however, these do not suffice, the next step is to look at a high performance insulation such as Aerogel. It does carry a price premium, but it is one of the most effective insulators on the market, and will allow a client to achieve larger temperature reductions with a thin layer of insulation”.
High Performance Insulators
Insulation blankets are made up of 3 parts: The outer cover, also known as the `cold face`, the middle layer of insulation material, and the inner cover, or `hot face`. For most applications, the `standard` insulation blanket makeup of a silicone outer cover, 1 inch thick fiberglass, and a mesh inner liner, works fine. But certain applications demand alternative materials, be it because of very high temperatures, the environment where the insulation blankets will be operating, or in the case here, because of a combination of space constraints and desired insulation performance.
“Space constraints alone do not necessarily demand the use of an alternative insulator such as Aerogel”, said Brett. “It is possible that the customer`s needs can be met with a thin layer of fiberglass or superwool. An insulator like Aerogel is brought into the picture when the project needs insulation performance that typically could only be achieved with thicker insulation than the space allows.”
The chart below gives an indication of what kind of insulation effectiveness can be achieved even with a very thin layer of Aerogel insulation, compared to other insulations at standard 1″ thickness. As can be seen, even a thin 10 mm (approximately .4 inches) layer of Aerogel gives an insulation effectiveness near that of a 1″ thick fiberglass blanket.