Just as thermal insulation keeps in heat, acoustic insulation blankets keep in sound. They are critical in industries that use large, often extremely loud equipment, as OSHA regulations require noise to be under a certain decibel level to prevent hearing damage.
“Acoustic insulation blankets are used on chillers, fans, noisy control valves,” said Joe Lauria, vice president and chief operations officer for Shannon Global Energy Solutions.
Often, the primary goal of installing acoustic insulation blankets is to reduce the sound emanating from noisy components, with the goal of protecting the hearing of workers. However, new urban development nationwide has elucidated a new use for acoustic insulation blankets, protecting not just workers, but everyday people.
“They’re also used for gas transmission lines. Because of city and town ordinances, gas transmission lines need to be within a certain decibel rating at their boundaries,” said Lauria. “Because of urban drift, people have moved closer and closer to these transmission lines, so it is more critical than ever for them to keep the sound levels down.”
The construction of housing and offices where none existed previously has been forcing operators of these gas transmission lines to proactively insulate these components. While this can be done with hard fiberglass insulation, reusable acoustic insulation blankets can make for a more cost-effective and long-term solution.
A traditional hard insulation blanket, according to Lauria, would need to be replaced after being removed for maintenance. This significantly increases the amount of time the transmission line will be down, as it needs to be re-insulated to meet local sound ordinances.
“What our blankets do is enable ease of access for routine maintenance and making repairs, and to be able to put the blankets back on and get up and running right away,” said Lauria.
Without a reusable acoustic blanket, gas transmission lines could be down for additional time whenever operators perform maintenance, since contractors have to come out to assess and refit a hard insulation blanket. This can cost the transmission line owner and its clients time and money. Therefore, a reusable acoustic blanket that allows for easily accessible maintenance and replacement without extending down time is an excellent solution to a what’s becoming a recurring challenge.