In the refining industry, people are always on the lookout for the next big cost-saving practice or safety product that will make their refinery safer and more efficient. Many new items come along with promising benefits, but many times they fall short or are too expensive to implement. The one element that has withstood the test of time and is an all-around workhorse is industrial insulation.
To insulate means to cover, line or separate with a material that prevents or reduces the passage, transfer or leakage of heat, electricity or sound. Storage tanks, process pipe lines and vessels are all items that can benefit from the addition of insulation. This can be accomplished using many materials. Some in the industry would know them by the names Trymer, fiberglass, mineral wool and foamglass, which are the most typical materials used. Each one has its own benefits and qualities that make it suitable to certain areas of the refinery. Whether it is a cold or hot system, there is an insulation type that will work for it.
Industrial insulation can be implemented in many ways throughout the refineries to help save money. Its cost-saving capabilities stretch from lowering energy costs by conserving energy in hot and cold areas to lowering maintenance costs on tanks and piping. Not only does it save money, but, more importantly, it is also an additional safety measure most people do not take into account. This alone is an immeasurable amount if it keeps personnel safe during their work day.
As mentioned before, insulation can help reduce costs in and around the refinery. It does so by conserving energy by reducing heat loss or gain. A properly designed and installed insulation system immediately reduces the need for energy, which is a costly expense for every product made. If a tank or pipeline is poorly insulated, the plant would have to spend more money on trying to keep the product at its required temperature.
Another feature most people do not realize helps save money is the maintenance aspect of insulation. When you install an insulation system to a particular area, you are adding an extra layer of protection to the pipe or tank. Over time, this will lower the maintenance costs to the paint and integrity of the pipe/tank. This is especially helpful in the salty air down on the Gulf Coast.
Finally and most importantly, insulation provides a safety facet that is a cost saving that cannot be measured. Safety is the most important matter we should all be focused on. Insulation provides safety from hot lines that could cause burns and also provides a softer edge should a worker bump into a valve or overhead line. It also provides a visual cue the line or tank is in use and can be a potential hazard.
Not only does it physically protect personnel, but it can also be used as a sound dampener. Some units and turbines are extremely loud. A blanketed insulation system can greatly reduce the noise and keep the working environment safe by enabling all parties to communicate in the area.
Insulation also protects from exposures to fire or corrosive atmospheres. When used in combination with other materials, fiberglass and rock and slag wool insulation help provide fire protection in fire stop systems. These can be installed where people are working as an extra protection in a hazardous area.
Insulation is an old product that has been around for a long time. It often is overlooked and forgotten about during the construction phase, but its benefits speak for themselves. It has been around a long time, and we foresee it being around as long as refineries need to be kept at certain temperatures and keep people safe.
Please ensure your facility checks out the benefits of insulation, and if you have any further questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact Straight Line Industrial Insulation for your heat trace system needs.