Process Piping Insulation vs. Pipe Insulation Jacketing

This article was written by Will Jones, insulation expert at Thermaxx Jackets.

If you work in an industrial facility and need insulation, you may wonder whether process piping insulation or insulation jackets are a better choice. Both perform the same general functions, but it's essential to understand the difference between them so you can find the right products.

Insulation Jackets on Various Steam Pipe Components, Not process piping

What Is Process Piping?

Process piping is found in industrial and chemical facilities and factories. These systems move chemical liquids and gases from one location to another using complex valves, pipes, and other components. Regular plumbing piping is not suitable for transporting these materials safely. The parts are made specifically for the liquids and gases they need to move.

This type of piping system can be found in various factories and manufacturing facilities, including:

  • Chemical processing
  • Food and beverage
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Semiconductor
  • Industrial facilities
  • Pet food processing
  • Wastewater treatment

In short, process pipes are any that are not for the building's mechanical, cooling, heating, and water systems. They are the pipes used in the process of adding one component to a final product. Most processes require chemicals and other materials to be kept at certain temperatures, so using insulation is often crucial.

Process Piping Fully Insulated by Thermaxx Jackets

Process Piping Insulation and Insulation Jackets: Similarities and Differences

Pipe insulation jackets are designed specifically for use on the piping components of your equipment. They are easy to remove and reusable. When we think of insulation jackets for piping, we don't just picture the actual pipe being insulated with insulation jackets, but also the isolation valves, pressure hoses, flange sets, unions, tubing, flow meters, and other components (as pictured above). 

Insulating all of these components rather than the pipes alone is called process piping insulation. Most process piping insulation is used for personal safety or energy savings, or both. Process piping is different (as pictured above) in the sense that not only are the gate valves, globe valves, control valves, process flow control valves, and any process-related component insulated but the piping in between these components is also insulated with insulation jackets.

These components must be inspected or repaired periodically, making the usage of permanent insulation a waste of money. That's where process piping insulation you can easily remove comes into play.

Insulation jackets vary depending on your specific needs. They can be designed as:

  • Weather barriers
  • Appearance jackets
  • Vapor repellants
  • Mechanical impact coverings
  • Hygienic jackets
  • Burn prevention mechanisms
  • Internal condensation prevention
  • Consistent temperature maintenance
  • Temperature uniformity

Both process piping insulation and insulation jackets protect against cold temperatures and damage.

Plate and Frame Heat Exchanger and Process Piping Insulated by Thermaxx jackets

Applications for Process Piping Insulation and Insulation Jackets for Pipes

Common applications that require process piping insulation or insulation jackets include:

  • Sanitary process piping
  • Chemical processing
  • Chillers and boilers
  • Fuel transfer piping
  • Gas refineries

Many industries will benefit from using custom insulation, such as:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Food and beverage
  • Textiles
  • Biotech
  • Semiconductor
  • General manufacturing

Process Piping Insulation and Insulation Jacket Materials

At Thermaxx, we create custom-fit insulation jackets for any component. We design and manufacture all our products right here in the United States.

We understand that insulation jackets must be suitable for indoor and outdoor applications. That's why we make all our insulation jackets from PTFE coated fiberglass cloth, which is weather resistant and can withstand the sun and acid rain. This material also makes our insulation jackets resistant to solvents, alkalis, oils, and acids. These jackets will not mold or disintegrate. We can also utilize pure PTFE cloth, which is designated as food grade and also can be utilized for clean room applications. All Thermaxx jackets come with an industry leading 5-year guarantee

Thermaxx jackets feature insulation materials selected to meet your facility's specific requirements. We also utilize a range of insulation products that can make our jackets hydrophobic, when desired. The use of velcro and double D-ring straps also make our jackets easy to put back in place when removed for servicing.

process piping, electric kettle insulated by thermaxx jackets

Benefits of Piping Insulation

Why insulate the piping as well? The piping is typically in shorter pieces and is often removed when replacing, inspecting or repairing process related components. Insulating the small pieces of pipe with removable insulation blankets (as pictured below) saves the facility tremendous amounts of money in reinsulation costs. The small pieces of removable insulation are simply reinstalled after the work is done.

Insulating process piping provides many benefits for the facility owner. Our removable insulation improves workplace safety and boosts energy savings. There is also a cost benefit when increasing the profitability of a product. If the process is steam heat related and the piping is uninsulated, lower quality steam is being delivered to perform the required function within the process. 

Once insulated, the steam is now at a higher temperature and has less moisture entrained. As a result, the process takes less time. The same holds true for cooling process piping. By insulating the process piping and components, the cooling effect of the cooling medium is faster and more exact than putting uninsulated fluid into the process. Less process time results in increased profitability from that process.

Pipe insulation jackets for process piping include the process equipment as well. If the piece of equipment is a steam or electrically heated kettle, the insulation will ensure that less energy is used to obtain the desired process temperature. Because we have reduced the time to reach process temperature, we have lessened the process time resulting in more product being produced in the same amount of time. Obviously, this increases the profitability by reducing costs!

Condensate from Kettles

Contact Thermaxx to Learn More About Process Piping Insulation and Insulation Jackets

At Thermaxx, we design and manufacture custom-fit insulation jackets for numerous types of pipes and related components, including process piping. Our team will work to your precise specifications, ensuring you get a high-quality product you can trust. For more information on process piping insulation, view our products or contact us!