Case Study: Converting Stone Wool to Refractory Ceramic Fiber Blanket Insulation
A supplier to the power generation industry is reaping the rewards of upgrading its high-temperature insulation.
Denmark-based Esscano Power A/S is a leading manufacturer and supplier to the global industrial damper market. When the company wanted to improve its diverter damper insulation from mineral wool (rock wool) material, the company examined all the available alternatives. It ultimately located numerous online references to high-temperature insulation wool from the Thermal Ceramics division of Morgan Advanced Materials.
After Morgan provided heat calculations demonstrating that its Superwool® Plus blanket material would reduce total insulation thickness, Esscano was ready to make the switch. The change has been extremely successful, reducing labor costs due to the speed of installation compared to mineral wool, along with yielding a number of additional savings from items such as fixings and associated metal work.
Seeking the Right Product
Looking for alternatives to its current mineral wool insulation, Esscano had been pursuing a variety of other refractory ceramic fiber (RCF) options when it contacted Morgan for information regarding its range of Superwool low bio-persistent insulating fiber products, an alternative to traditional refractory ceramic fiber insulation. (The Superwool range is exempt from carcinogen classification in Europe under Nota Q of Decision (EC) N°1272/2008.)
After receipt of the inquiry, Elaine Hughes, regional business development officer for Morgan Advanced Materials, was convinced that Esscano would be best served by switching over to Superwool Plus. She provided Esscano with the relevant product-specific features and benefits to explain why it was a superior product, and recommended Superwool Plus blanket in a 50-mm thickness and 128-kg density.
“Our Superwool Plus blanket ticked all the important technical boxes for the project,” said Hughes, referring to thermal conductivity, shrinkage and temperature capability, as well as an improved fixing pattern. Morgan provided all relevant technical details, including the published data, giving clear evidence of its ability to meet the customer’s performance needs. Examples of previous success stories were also provided.
Morgan representatives followed up with several meetings with the Esscano team in Denmark to reassure those who had reservations and questions about the product. They emphasized product availability, exceptional customer support, including specialist knowledge with export documentation, and improved product packaging. They also demonstrated reduced installation costs and showed how the product would be easier to handle while providing a more eye-pleasing result when installed.
Superwool Plus low bio-persistent insulating fiber products are 17% more energy efficient than traditional RCF and any other alkaline earth silicate (AES) insulations. It is ideal for furnace linings in the iron, steel and aluminum industries, as well as other applications requiring high-temperature processing. This enables users to increase manufacturing process efficiencies and make significant cost savings associated with energy usage.
The material provides excellent insulation in high-temperature environments with a classification temperature of 1,200°C (2,192°F). A breakthrough in Morgan’s advanced manufacturing control has allowed the product to be engineered to maximize the fiber content. As a result, it has up to 20% lower thermal conductivity than competitive insulations—and enhanced energy-saving properties with much improved handleability.
Superwool Plus delivers high performance with a higher fiber index and blanket thickness than alternative products, enabling customers to use less insulation and achieve weight and cost savings. For example, a thinner insulation blanket such as the Superwool Plus (96 kg/m3, 6 pcf) can be used to provide the same insulation as a typical blanket at 128 kg/m3 (8 pcf).
The Superwool Plus blanket has high tensile strength and good handling ability. In addition to the blanket form used in the Esscano application, Superwool Plus also comes as blanket modules, Pyro-Bloc® modules, paper and lubricated bulk, making it easier for handling. Felt, vacuum-formed products and board varieties are also available.
The Esscano installation was cost neutral because mineral wool’s lower material costs are largely offset by higher installation costs compared to those of Superwool Plus blanket. Along with lower installation costs due to the speed of installation, the blanket has improved handling, which also results in lower waste costs. Since it has a much higher temperature performance, Superwool Plus blanket offers greater security in case of any major temperature over-runs.
After being introduced to Superwool Plus, Esscano is confident in saying that it is the product of choice for this application. In addition, the success of the project has opened up more opportunities for the young and dynamic company.