This article was written by Will Jones, insulation expert at Thermaxx Jackets.
There are slight differences between process piping insulation and insulation jackets for piping. When a removable, reusable insulation jacket is used on a pipe, whether that pipe is overhead on a steam main or located 3’ AFF (above finished floor), it is still a removable insulation jacket on a pipe.
However, when we think of removable insulation jackets for piping we do not picture the actual pipe being insulated with removable insulation jackets, but rather the isolation valves, flange sets, unions, flow meters & other components (as pictured above). These components need to be insulated for either personal safety or energy savings, or both. These components must be inspected or repaired periodically making the usage of permanent insulation a waste of money.
Process piping is different (as pictured above) in the sense that not only are the gate valves, globe valves, control valves, process flow control valves and any process related component insulated, but the piping in between these components is also insulated with removable insulation jackets.
Why insulate the piping as well? The piping is typically in shorter pieces and is often removed when replacing, inspecting or repairing process related components. Insulating the small pieces of pipe with removable insulation blankets (as pictured below) saves the facility tremendous amounts of money in reinsulation costs. The small pieces of removable insulation are simply reinstalled after the work is done.
Insulating process piping provides many benefits for the facility owner. Our removable insulation improves workplace safety and boosts energy savings. There is also a cost benefit when increasing the profitability of a product. If the process is steam heat related and the piping is uninsulated, lower quality steam is being delivered to perform the required function within the process.
Once insulated, the steam is now at a higher temperature and has less moisture entrained. As a result, the process takes less time. The same holds true for cooling process piping. By insulating the process piping and components, the cooling effect of the cooling medium is faster and more exact than putting uninsulated fluid into the process. Less process time results in increased profitability from that process.
Removable insulation jackets for process piping include the process equipment as well. If the piece of equipment is a steam or electrically heated kettle, the insulation will ensure that less energy is used to obtain the desired process temperature. Because we have reduced the time to reach process temperature, we have lessened the process time resulting in more product being produced in the same amount of time. Obviously, this increases the profitability by reducing costs!