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Engineer Talk

Using Insulation Blankets Makes Cents

by Dexter Diepholz

Insulation blankets

Tutco–Farnam is pleased to announce that we are offering of high-temperature insulation blankets. These insulation blankets are specifically tailored for use with the Tutco–Farnam Flow Torch® family of heaters. A specific insulation blanket is available for Flow Torch® with an outside diameter of 4in, 6in, & 8in.

Simple Installation
The insulation blankets are easily installed in seconds. The insulation blanket is simply wrapped around the outside diameter of the Flow Torch®, and held in place by cinching up the integral straps and D-rings.

High-Temperature Materials
These are high-quality insulation blankets that use high-temperature materials throughout. The inside face that contacts the Flow Torch surface consists of a high-temperature textile called Vextra, which is rated for continuous use at up to 1000°F. The interior of the 1” thick blanket is filled with a needled non-woven fiberglass mat rated for continuous temperatures of 1000°F (excursions up to 1200°F ) as well. The outside surface of the blanket is fiberglass cloth coated with a specially formulated flame-retardant silicone rubber. This coating gives the blanket improved resistance to abrasion, tears, and punctures, yet it is very soft and flexible. All the materials used in these blankets have good chemical resistance and are non-combustible or flame retardant.

Improve Safety
Using an insulation blanket reduces the burn hazard of any Flow torch installation quickly and easily. For example, if a Flow Torch is producing 500°F exhaust temperatures, it would be safe to estimate the outer surface of the Flow Torch heater is 500°F at the exhaust end. With the insulation blanket installed, the maximum outside surface temperature of the insulation blanket is only 110°F, completely removing the chance of an accidental burn hazard. The table below gives a more thorough listing of insulation temperatures expected for a range of heater operating temperatures.

data table showing surface temperature reductions with insulation blanketReduce the Cost of Operation
The use of an insulation blanket can easily pay for itself in just a few months of use. For example, let’s consider an FT800 heater that is taking 160F inlet air (typical of regenerative blower discharge), and heating it up to 400F. We will assume the maximum surface temperature of the FT800 at the exhaust end is 600F. The maximum surface temperature of the FT800 will always be higher than the exhaust air temperature due to the higher temperature of the internal resistance coils. The surface temperature of the FT800 will vary from 160F to 600F along the length. The total heat lost out the sides of the heater due to convection and radiation is calculated to be 1334W. With the insulation blanket installed, the heat loss out the sides of the heater is reduced to 110W. The calculation below shows the savings realized.

Electric Rate = $0.065/kW*hr http://www.duke-energy.com/rates/north-carolina.asp

Without Insulation
Cost of Lost Heat = (1.334 kW)*( $0.065/kW*hr) = $0.087/hr

If heater operated 24/7 for a year, Cost of Lost Heat = (365 dy/yr)(24 hr/dy)($0.087/hr) = $762.12

With Insulation
Cost of Lost Heat = (0.110 kW)*( $0.065/kW*hr) = $0.00715/hr

If heater operated 24/7 for a year, Cost of Lost Heat = (365 dy/yr)(24 hr/dy)($0.00715/hr) = $62.63

Cost Savings = $762.12 - $62.63 = $699.49 Using an insulation blanket makes cents!

As seen above, the use of an insulation blanket certainly makes sense for a variety of reasons. The reduced surface temperatures prevent the degradation of surrounding machinery components due to excessively high temperatures. In addition, the safety benefits and cost of operation make a compelling case to use an insulation blanket for every Flow Torch® installation.

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