When addressing uncovered, high-temperature components in a facility, an energy manager has plenty of variables to consider. If an energy manager thinks about reusable insulation, they almost always make cost their sole consideration. Oftentimes, the highest priority is to save the business money.
“First and foremost, they’ve got to consider payback, return on investment, on the blankets,” said Alexis Tremblay, director of services and projects for Preston Phipps Inc., a Canadian-owned provider of products and services for steam optimization and an exclusive distributor for Shannon Global Energy Solutions.
On top of cost-benefit, the energy manager also has to consider the life of the product they’re investing in, as well as the quality of installation.
“They have to make sure that what they are spending on is going to last and will be properly done,” said Tremblay.
Consequently, the decision on what insulation to purchase comes down to a battle of price versus quality. A manager concerned with spending little up front may consider rigid insulation blankets, as they can cost a fraction of a reusable insulation blanket. In specific applications, where regular maintenance of the component underneath is unnecessary, rigid, non-reusable insulation can be effective.
If a component needs frequent maintenance or inspection, however, a rigid insulation blanket will ultimately be a waste of money, says Tremblay. The rigid insulation will not only have to be removed, but also completely replaced as it cannot be reinstalled. For components like gate valves, steam traps, kettles, fryers, exhaust lines, plastics extruders and more the best solution is a thermal or acoustic reusable insulation blanket that is easy for maintenance staff to remove and reinstall for up to 15 years, often longer. A truly reusable insulation blanket is often a more expensive investment up front, so it is important to balance quality with a price that makes economic sense.
“You need to think of both. You have to make sure you’re not tempted to buy cheap, to the detriment of quality,” added Tremblay. “What you want to find is a good payback with good quality and a strong partner.”
A purchasing partner, like Preston Phipps, can ensure a customer not only receives a quality product but also a quality installation and assistance after installation. This sort of support helps a facility or energy manager get the maximum return on the thermal or acoustic blanket, and avoid headaches down the line; no energy manager wants an insulation investment undercut with a poorly designed, manufactured or installed blanket solution.
“With the Shannon product line, we offer quality blankets and strong installation support,” said Tremblay. “’This combination makes for a blanket solution that offers good paybacks and is long-lasting.”