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FoodTech Report

Volume 6 Issue 2

Insulation technology optimizes protection,
controls costs

By Alberto Costa, Business Planner for JBT FoodTech

Ceramic cover
Ceramic Cover has high heat efficiency, a longer life expectancy and is less cumbersome to apply than traditional insulation methods.


Insulation is an essential component of sterilizing equipment to reduce heat loss and maximize efficiency. But, traditionally, the tedious process of installing or replacing insulation on retorts and sterilizers could cost more in lost production time than in materials.

Increased transportation costs, energy consumption concerns and regulatory compliance investments have food processors making sure every penny spent provides value. As a result, facilities are turning to cost-effective solutions, such as ceramic coating insulation technology. Ceramic coating insulation technology has been on the market since the 1980s, but is growing in popularity because it has high heat efficiency, a longer life expectancy and is less cumbersome to apply.

“For many years, replacing the insulation in a retort or sterilizer has been a very long and labor-intensive process” says Bill Bayliss, aftermarket manager of JBT FoodTech in Madera, Calif., U.S.A.. “This older technology requires calcium silicate blocks or fiberglass wool to be strapped into place, followed by a layer of external cladding material.”

The Ceramic Cover line of coating insulations from JBT FoodTech saves processors time and money with its simple spray application. Available from JBT FoodTech since 2007, Ceramic Cover can be applied to new equipment, but has typically been utilized as an alternative to re-insulation. The system applies a latex-based ceramic coating with insulation and reflective properties, but it also has a low thermal conductivity, much like traditional fiberglass wool. In addition, the coating acts as a reflective barrier against ultraviolet rays, visible light and infrared rays to further protect against heat loss.

Cost-effective solution

The insulation material can be applied by JBT FoodTech trained technicians to continuous rotary sterilizers, hydrostatic installations, retorts, storage tanks, heat exchangers and pipe work. Unlike traditional insulation methods, the coating also can be applied on difficult-to-insulate areas, such as doors, removable end plates, valve bodies and troughs, ensuring more complete insulation. A recent case study for a Rotary Sterilizer application identified a one year payback. This situation involved the coating being applied to a 58-inch(1.44m) diameter cooker and cooler shell that were 48 feet (14.63m) in length running an average throughput of 360 cans per minute. Actual savings depend on the customers specific parameters.

Ceramic coatings require an equipment downtime of two or three days, which is about the same amount of time the traditional insulation process needs. However, Ceramic coatings have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, compared to the 10 year life expectancy of fiberglass wool or calcium silicate blocks.

Easy application and repair

Made from a mixture of latex-based resin and one or more ceramic compounds, the coating is sprayed onto an exterior surface. It can be applied hot (150 to 200°F/65 to 93°C) and will withstand surface temperatures up to 350°F (177°C). A typical application requires between one and six coats, each a half millimeter (20 mils) thick.

A typical application of ceramic coating insulation requires between one and six coats, each a half millimeter (20 mils) thick, and retains the original appearance of the equipment to which it is applied.
A typical application of ceramic coating insulation requires between one and six coats, each a half millimeter (20 mils) thick, and retains the original appearance of the equipment to which it is applied.

Because JBT FoodTech’s Ceramic Cover can be applied hot, installation procedures are easily managed. Unlike fiberglass wool, ceramic coatings are waterproof and eliminate the typical corrosion that can occur between the outer skin of the equipment shell and the fiberglass insulation. Furthermore, the ceramic coating material does not leak damaging chlorides onto the substrate that can cause stress corrosion cracking like calcium silicate or fiberglass insulation materials. Ceramic coatings also facilitate simple visual inspection, are resistant to most acids and have sound-dampening qualities. They are also less likely to get damaged by maintenance or transportation.

Ceramic Cover is safer than other insulation options because it does not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is in compliance with regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Another safety advantage is that ceramic coatings enhance employee protection by reducing the burn potential arising from contact with bare metal surfaces.

The many benefits of ceramic coatings — including the ability to coat a larger surface area than traditional insulation methods — optimize investments in time and money. Ceramic coatings in a spray application are so simple and effective that processors may never go back to the calcium silicate blocks or fiberglass wool insulation of the past.

To learn more about insulating ceramic coatings, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site or contact a JBT FoodTech specialist.

©2008 JBT FoodTech. All rights reserved

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