For maintenance workers to install an insulation blanket that’s truly reusable, they need to look for certain attributes that allow them to remove the blanket from a valve or steam trap and easily replace it in the same position after performing repairs or service on a component. However, many traditional blanket designs don’t have the attributes that make them truly reusable.
“If a worker can’t remove and put back the insulation blanket quickly and easily, the likelihood of it reinstalling it goes way down,” said Joe Lauria, COO of Shannon Global Energy Solutions.
Often, workers discard insulation blankets or toss them in a pile, never to touch again. What attributes does a quality insulation blanket need to make it truly reusable? Some elements that ensure a worker can and will reinstall an insulation blanket stem from the blanket design process.
Computer-aided drafting (CAD) software plays a role in creating easy-to-use reusable blankets. Designers working with CAD can ensure an insulation blanket fits snugly on each individual component. When designers create a proper fit, maintenance workers see the shape of the blanket and how it hugs the contours of the component, which makes reinstallation easier and efficient.
“Part of what makes our insulation blankets reusable is that we use CAD to achieve a quality design that adheres to established specifications and minimizes any material or elements that are unnecessary, for example the number of fasteners on our blankets,” said Lauria.
By making the type and number of fasteners integral to a reusable insulation blanket’s design, Shannon removes the guesswork in figuring out how each insulation blanket fits on a component. Shannon also simplifies blanket reinstallation by using labeling, or durable ID tags, on its blankets to guide reinstallation.
“We label our blankets with tags featuring sequential serial numbers, so a facility worker knows in which order to put on the blankets when reinstalling them,” added Lauria. “We also provide assembly drawings with our blankets.”
Along with making reinstallation easier, Shannon designs its insulation blankets with portability in mind. Because workers may need to move insulation blankets considerable distances when working on components and machines, weight is a critical factor in assuring reusability. Shannon designs its blankets to be lightweight to ensure no part of the blanket is a barrier to reinstallation.
All insulation is removable. But to buy truly reusable insulation, a facility owner should look for well-fitted, clearly labeled, and lightweight insulation blankets manufactured with quality material. Anything less will eventually be removed and forgotten.