In the business of custom mechanical insulation, the right fit is critical. Even with the use of the least conductive, most space-age synthetic fibers, insulation covers only work as well as they fit. Loose insulation blankets simply do not work as efficiently as a perfectly tight jacket. Yet, if an insulation jacket fabricator errs by constructing a jacket that is too tight, the client may not be able to use the jacket and the job may be scrapped. The ability to design and craft removable insulation that fits precisely is an important competitive advantage that separates the best mechanical insulation fabricators from the amateurs.
Let’s examine the three biggest reasons an insulation jacket might not fit.
3. Poor Design
A tailor could meticulously measure a groom for a tuxedo, and produce a jacket accurate in every dimension that still looks ridiculous if the buttons are 6 inches off the mark. Likewise, an insulation jacket with poorly designed closures will not fit right. Another design aspect critical to fit is making the proper allowance for the internal material in design of the exterior jacketing. The design of seams also affects jacketing fit. An insulation fabricator’s design capabilities will have a major impact on fit.
2. Imprecise production
Precision is a given in mass manufacturing. Six sigma and total quality management principals have become so entrenched in modern operational practices that deviation from production specs is very rare in the mass production of goods. However, perfectly precise adherence to design specifications is simply less frequent in custom manufacturing. Without large runs, there is less ability to rely on process automation, statistical process control, and experience curves. Thus, the perfect fit of custom insulation products is often compromised during production. Excellent operational practices are required for custom insulation manufacturers to overcome these issues.
1. Inaccurate Measurements
Failure to take perfectly precise measurements of the components to be insulated is the leading cause of poorly fitting jackets. Measuring components for insulation can get complicated and invites a multitude of issues.
First, the technician must measure the right things. Not every curve and bolt may need measured (this could be unfeasibly time-consuming), but every facet that will determine jacket dimensions and seam placement does need measured. This generally requires a technician with an understanding of jacketing design. If the technician fails to measure a needed dimension, re-measurement can be time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. However, most technicians are under some pressure to ensure a speedy measurement process.
In addition, the human eye is only so precise. Human measurement generally involves some level of estimation and rounding to the nearest unit of measurement.
Measuring hot components can be challenging. The technician may need to avoid direct contact or use cumbersome protective gear. Alternatively, the technician could shut off equipment, but this often inconvenient and sometimes costly. These challenges increase the likelihood of human error.
Indeed, most shortcomings for measuring components for mechanical insulation are due to human error.
Technology is being developed to help solve this dilemma. 3-D scanning technology eliminates the need for human measurements. Thermaxx Jackets has recently developed the use of advanced portable scanning technology that measures every facet and aspect of components down to extremely small units of measurement. TailorMaxx Scanning technology enables us to spend more time designing the perfect jacket to fit measurements that are always accurate. The result? A more perfect fitting insulation jacket.