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Plant gets corrosion-free insulation

An exposed Scottish wastewater treatment plant needed extra protection, explains Anthony Barnett of Armacell UK

Fortrose WWT plant pumps, valves and pipework fitted with metal cladding and Armaflex insulationFortrose WWT plant pumps, valves and pipework fitted with metal cladding and Armaflex insulation

The Scottish Highlands are no stranger to cold weather but the winters of 2010 and 2011 were severe even for this part of the world, with temperatures regularly reaching -15ºC.

The town of Fortrose located on the Moray Firth, about 10km north-east of Inverness, was certainly no exception as the small coastal burgh is exposed to all the elements the cold North Sea has to throw at it.

So when Inverness-based mechanical and electrical engineering company Commissioning Solutions Scotland (CSS) was appointed to replace failed process pumps for the local wastewater treatment facility, careful consideration had to be given to the insulation material used to protect the equipment and process flows from freezing.

For this challenging and exposed environment, David Hawthorn of CSS, working with thermal insulation contractors McDonald & Co, specified German manufacturer Armacell’s Class O Armaflex nitrile rubber insulation material. Available through the company’s Lancashire supply centre, Armaflex offered a number of benefits for this application over the conventional glass-fibre insulation material, which had previously been used.

Glass-fibre or mineral wool insulation is reliant on an easily-punctured, external foil vapour barrier to prevent moisture ingress. If this barrier is compromised, the result is wet insulation that causes corrosion-under-insulation (CUI) and loss of thermal performance, especially in tough conditions such as those encountered at Fortrose.

As a closed-cell foam material, Armaflex provides an integral vapour barrier against water ingress and condensation, with no additional water vapour barrier required. The material has a moisture resistance factor of >7,000µ, so even if the material becomes damaged in some places, it will still provide protection against condensation and water ingress as the closed cell structure is built-up throughout the material’s thickness.

Owner of McDonald & Co thermal insulation contractors, Frank Cameron, has been an advocate of Armaflex insulation for many years and even during the exceptionally cold winters has never had any failures of equipment with the nitrile rubber material.

Cameron said: “On the large number of water facilities projects I have worked on, Armaflex has offered the most reliable performance in cold weather.”

Topic: Asset Management
Tags: Scotland , insulation , wastewater , pumps , wastewater treatment

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