Industrial kilns and furnaces rely on high temperature insulation materials to optimise production yield and reduce energy costs, which can increase rapidly if excessive heat escapes from the operation point.
Due to their inherent low heat conductivity and other benefits derived from structural strength and ease of placement, insulating castable refractory materials are key for this energy-saving process. However, accurate specification is an extremely challenging task for many local, national, and global manufacturers who supply a wide range of material technologies and products.
Lance Caspersen, from Morgan Advanced Materials, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of Insulating Firebricks (IFBs) and lightweight castable refractories under the K® IFB and Kaolite® insulating castable brand names, examines the main factors for specifying castable refractory insulation systems and offers suggestion for achieving the best value solutions that optimise outputs, reduce energy consumption, and meet the requirements of both the end user and installer.
The installers’ requirements for easy-to-apply materials and the customers’ needs for higher performance products drive the world’s leading refractory manufacturers to continuously and significantly invest in the research and development of advanced industrial insulation materials.
The goal is to bring insulating castable products to the market. These castable products combine optimal insulation performance with other important attributes, like strength, ease of installation, and operator safety.
Insulating castable refractory systems that contain alternative, high-performance core monolithic ingredients, like crushed IFBs, are now an increasingly popular specification staple for complex high-temperature applications, and specifying these systems has become a real challenge.
That said, the application of coventional raw materials such as vermiculite, a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral, and perlite, an amorphous volcanic glass, remains prevalent in many sectors. Although crushed IFBs, which contain insulating castable mixes, outperform traditional material choices in terms of product performance and application precision, habitual specification behavior continues to prevent customers in certain industries from selecting better alternatives.
As with any modification in specification, education is key to allow decision-makers to choose the best suitable product for each individual application according to environmental factors, desired outcome and cost, and application considerations.
As advancements in materials technology are set to continue, and product variety is likely to increase even further, applying the best specification practice will become more and more challenging. Keeping this factor in mind, it is important for specifiers to obtain and uphold a thorough knowledge of the key products, their technical capabilities and application methods, and how each product can hinder or facilitate main drivers, including installation, energy efficiency, and lifetime cost.
For further information contact Morgan Advanced Materials Thermal Ceramics South Africa on TEL: 011 296 0000 or visit www.morgantechnicalceramics.com/P57-P59