Article

MacroModules for Industrial Insulation

MacroModules: an ideal insulator for your industrial processes. Discover how to reduce costs and maximize productivity.

By Brian Bradley
Business Manager Engineered Systems

10/6/2023

4 Minutes

Burner furnace constructed with macromodules
10/6/2023

4 Minutes

What are MacroModules, and how are they manufactured?

These components comprise large panels assembled with high-performance ceramic fiber blankets. The blankets are folded to form the panel structure, and attached to an expanded metal frame that provides structural support.

The panels can measure several square meters and weigh up to 8000 kg or more. MacroModules are preassembled and then transported to the customer's location.

The main difference from traditional modules is that MacroModules arrive ready for installation without requiring further on-site assembly, reducing project execution times.

Furnace wall made with MacroModules

Applications in industry

Steel industry

The steel industry is one of the primary consumers of ceramic fiber MacroModules, due to the need to line the interior of blast furnaces used to produce steel and iron with refractory materials.

MacroModules allow damaged or worn lining sections, such as furnace doors, covers, or side walls, to be quickly replaced, thus minimizing downtime and maintaining productivity with minimal interruptions.

Many steel mills stock spare MacroModules for the most wear-prone sections, allowing specific modules to be replaced when damage is detected rather than repairing the entire liner.

It is estimated that the use of MacroModules in the steel industry has reduced downtime by up to 70%, generating significant increases in productivity.

Foundry

In the metal industry, MacroModules are used for the internal lining of smelting furnaces and other system parts exposed to molten metal.

Other common uses include applications in distribution channels, hoppers, heat treatment furnaces, and slag covers. In all these cases, MacroModules facilitate maintenance and reduce production downtime.

Glass Industry

In the glass industry, ceramic fiber MacroModules insulate high-temperature furnaces, operating at temperatures up to 2910°F (1600°C).

MacroModules offer a crucial advantage: they allow deteriorated insulation sections to be replaced without shutting down for long periods, which avoids costly production losses and saves energy by eliminating the need to cool and reheat the entire unit.

Oil, Gas, and Energy Industries

MacroModules are used in a variety of ways, including the side walls and removable internal structures of boilers, post-combustion systems, and the thermal protection of gas turbines in combined cycle units. 

These processes often involve temperatures above 1830°F (1000°C), making MacroModules an ideal solution in terms of durability and heat resistance.

Composition and properties

NUTEC´S MacroModules uses the same types of fibers found in traditional blankets and modules:

  • Low Biopersistent Fiber (LBP) rated to 2200°F (1200°C).
  • Refractory Ceramic Fiber (RCF) based and rated to 2300°F (1260°C).
  • Refractory Ceramic Fiber (RCF) based with enhanced chemistry for applications up to 2600°F (1425°C). They are more expensive than the 2300 fiber but offer superior performance and durability.
  • Polycrystalline Wool (PCW) for use in applications up to 3000°F (1650°C). These fibers are ultra-resistant to extreme temperatures offering maximum durability. While they are more expensive than other fiber compositions, they are the best choice for applications requiring extreme performance and reliability.

The support structure where the fibers are mounted is usually expanded or perforated metal, which provides strength at a lower weight than a solid steel plate. The metal also allows the macromodule to be easily anchored to the structure of the equipment.

Curved structure macromodule

Cost-benefit analysis

The initial cost of MacroModules is higher than traditional modules, but the long-term savings are significant.

  • Labor: MacroModules arrive preassembled, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming on-site installation.
  • Downtime: MacroModules are highly durable and easy to repair, minimizing downtime and disruptions to production.
  • Efficiency: MacroModules provide superior insulation and thermal protection, which can lead to significant energy savings and increased productivity.
  • Materials: MacroModules are manufactured in large quantities, resulting in economies of scale that reduce material costs.
  • Lifespan: MacroModules are designed to last decades, even in the most demanding environments.

Conclusion

Ceramic fiber MacroModules are a superior solution for refractory insulation in high-temperature applications across a wide range of industries.

Preassembled and ready for quick installation, MacroModules dramatically reduce labor costs, downtime, and operational inefficiencies, generating significant returns on investment.

As today's industrial processes demand more, we expect to see a sharp increase in the adoption of this cutting-edge technology, which offers the ideal combination of thermal protection, quick installation, maximum durability, and ease of maintenance.

About NUTEC

Leaders in thermal insulation solutions with more than 45 years of experience. NUTEC transforms the thermal insulation industry through cutting-edge engineering.

Want to know more?

At NUTEC, we are committed to providing you with valuable content that helps you make informed decisions for your business. Thank you for taking the time to read this entry and we hope it provided you with insights that you can apply to your operations.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about our products, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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