Valve insulation jackets for industrial insulation
We have recently completed a project in the UK which almost entirely consisted of valve insulation jackets. There were almost 1,500 valves on the whole plant. Some of our removable valve insulation covers consisted of a few elements and layers. It resulted in over 2,000 pieces all together. In order to manage such an order we had to carry out as several activities with great attention to quality. Most of the work included planning, as-built survey, site measurements, design for valve insulation wraps, manufacturing and logistics and transport.
The project we worked was a large power plant with two boilers. Why there were so many removable insulation covers on such a project? Simply, because of the several benefits of using insulation mattresses.
The main contractor and plant operator wanted to use removable insulation blankets for valves due to ease of maintenance and. Our customer decided to work with us based on the previous experiences and our expertise. All the above mentioned steps require an experienced and reliable valve insulation jackets supplier.
Project planning and preparation for removable insulation covers plays vital role in effective manufacturing
We began our project for manufacturing of valve insulation wraps with the tender documents. It required that we analysed specification, drawings and bill of quantities. Out team had to prepare preliminary design and prices for various types of valves and various types of removable insulation bags. By checking the thermal insulation specification we were able to determine what sort of materials we were to use. Furthermore, we knew what was the range of equipment operating temperatures. There were numerous valves working at temperature above 400℃ (approx. 750°F). In such case high temperature insulation removable covers were necessary.
What is more, there were also valves operating at low temperatures ranging from 40℃ to 150℃ (approx. from 105°F to 302°F). Different temperature ranges required different design for valve insulation jackets. We manufactured removable insulation covers were manufactured from different textile materials with specific filling insulation material. Valve insulation for high temperatures also required different types of threads.
Our customer asked us for data sheets of all materials that we planned to use for valve insulation. These documents had to go through the approval process with the project engineers. After the go ahead from the customer we were ready to go into the preliminary design.
Site Survey for removable valve insulation wraps
There are various types of valves, for example, ball valves, butterfly valves, gate valves or globe valves. To get complete overview please have a look at the valve types from Hard Hat Engineer website. Each type has several manufacturers and plenty of sizes. That is why it’s extremely difficult to manufacture standard removable insulation jackets that would fit onto all these valve types. At the same time it is a great advantage of valve jackets. If they are manufactured correctly these can fit tightly around valve body and protect them against heat loss.
A lot of work is done during the design phase of industrial plant. Almost every single item is designed in 3D and can be measured in some sort of CAD or BIM software. Nevertheless, as built situation at construction site can differ greatly from the original design. Especially when it comes to insulation of mechanical equipment – pipe insulation, valve insulation, etc. Usually, insulation works are one of the last in construction sequence. Very often it is up to the insulation contractor to make changes in insulation design. These change needed to consider that insulation design works with already installed equipment.
From our experience it meant that pipes, valves or flanges are installed in close proximity to other equipment. Sometimes it was also building steel structure which was clashing with insulation. Such installation leaves less space for insulation of valves and other items. That is why site survey is a good solution in this case.
Site survey documentation for early design of valve jackets is important in designing and manufacturing removable covers
We visited the construction site several times to make sure we surveyed and took measurements for all valve insulation jackets. At the beginning it was like a jungle full of valves, pipes, ducts and other equipment. Thanks to good cooperation with the customer who helped us in navigating in that plant we managed to make sure each valve was checked. Also we knew specific situation for each removable insulation covers. During our inspections we made draft notes with sketches for valve insulation jackets and a list of all items.
The list included not only KKS numbers to identify specific removable valve insulation jacket. It also included insulation thickness, valve and pipe diameter, details about any cut-outs, location and additional id number. The same id number was marked on the valve itself. Later it was also engraved in metal tags fixed to the removable insulation covers. Thanks to this identification it was easier for the site installation team to locate and fix removable insulation mattresses in the right spot.
The site survey and the list not only consisted of valves. It also contained details about insulation for flanges, insulation for compensators and insulation for manholes.
After daily survey we sent the list to the design team. It allowed them to start early with proper drawings, estimation of surfaces and preparation of bill of quantities. With the combined details we were able to procure necessary insulation fabrics and insulation materials. Due to tight spaces between insulated valves and other items it was necessary to use insulation materials of low thickness and low thermal conductivity. Some of the materials we used were for example e-glass fibre mats or ceramic insulation mats.
Design of valve insulation jackets
With all the information in hand like original design drawings, insulation specification, site survey and measurements, site photos valve jackets sketches, designers were able to start with drawings. Our team used CAD/CAM software to plan and space out numerous parts and to minimise the amount of waste and off-cuts. Designing of removable pads for small ball valves was quite challenging. It was necessary to provide insulation from high temperatures but at the same time large thickness made it difficult for the manufacturing. Some items required several layers of removable jackets. Designers introduced overlap and high temperature insulation fabric to minimise heat transfer.
Another matter which we considered during the design stage was the type of material in the outer and inner layer. These two sometimes differed due to specific requirements. For example internal fabric which was directly in contact had to be resistant to high temperatures. Whereas, external fabric did not need to comply with this, however, it had silicone or PTFE coating for abrasion or splash protection.
When designing removable insulation mattresses for access hatches or manholes we took into consideration the safety aspects as well. Larger and heavy items we divided into smaller parts. This way we ensured that site installation team and future maintenance team could lift and handle removable insulation pads manually.
Each valve insulation cover had its unique id number which matched the number the drawings. Designers delivered the drawings to the manufacturing hall on regular basis either after they drew certain type of valve jackets or when they completed specific area.
Manufacturing process of removable insulation jackets for valves
Production of valve insulation covers took place at several workstations. It started with cutting the raw material from the roll. Factory supervisor ensured that the dimensions were correct and according to the drawings. After this check the insulation cover fabric went to sewing team. They used industrial grade sewing machines and specialist threads to join pieces of fabric together. Our factory personnel opened these parts and later filled them in with insulation material cut to size of the fabric elements. Once the production team stuffed removable jacket with an insulant, the insulation mattresses went back to the earlier work section. Sewing team closed the last seams. Factory supervisor checked each completed removable jacket for damage and quality. After this inspection production team packed the insulation mattresses on pallets or into the boxes. Our supervisor compiled the packing list and labelled the pallets accordingly.
Logistics of 1500 valve insulation jackets became a project on its own
Our customer requested that we should split our deliveries into smaller transports. Transport charges created also additional logistic effort but the frequent delivery system had several benefits which were more valuable than the cost. Our customer was happy to employ this frequent delivery system because they minimised site storage requirements. And also to progress with site installation and to hand over selected areas to the plant owners. Site team preferred smaller deliveries as it was easier for them to check deliveries and packing list and to install removable jackets. Regular transports were also beneficial to us as. We did not have to store the vast amount of valve insulation jackets in our factory. Good communication between the construction site and the factory resulted in smooth co-operation.
Did we learn anything from that project?
Every project is different and despite being removable insulation jackets supplier for over 20 years we learn continuously with each new job. This project was no different. We gained valuable knowledge and experience by working closely with the customers construction team on site. We made several mistakes during project duration, however, we were also able to quickly rectify them. These mistakes mostly included errors during writing and rewriting lists. Some id numbers got confused with drawings and some were mixed during packing. Nevertheless, we managed to identify these errors in time. We rectified them in such a way that customer was able to install the removable insulation mattresses in correct locations.
There were also several insulation covers which did not fit properly on site. This issue resulted from the changes which happened on site between our site survey and delivery of finished product. Other contractors installed additional nozzles, instruments or pipes which others either closely to the valves or directly on the valves. During the site surveys we took hundreds of photos. However, after several weeks or months it’s difficult to remember all the details. Therefore, with the next project we will implement daily reporting app to track which works were done and to keep the records from construction site.
In conclusion, managing such a large project was another challenge for us. However, it was also a valuable lesson of how we should work and communicate internally and with the customer. Valve insulation requires experienced removable insulation jackets supplier. And with our knowledge we were able to manufacture and to deliver insulation products of high quality.
Are you interested in valve insulation jackets or any other of our removable insulation covers? Get in touch with us through the form below.