Morgan Advanced Materials’ technical prowess and inventiveness were put to the test when Nugteren Transport BV, a Dutch-based company involved in the transfer of large loads and units, made contact with staff in the company’s Netherlands office.
Nugteren Transport BV needed to design a safe and effective method of transportation for hot steel ingots that ensured the ingots would lose minimal heat during transit and tasked Morgan with finding a solution.
Previously, during transportation, the steel ingots cooled from a temperature of around 800°C to approximately 50°C, and then were re-heated at the customer’s site – a process which consumed a significant amount of time and energy.
Under the new system, the steel ingots would be loaded at a typical temperature of 600°C and expected to arrive at the customer having cooled by no more than 50°C over a five-hour period – negating the need for an expensive and time-consuming re-heating process. This meant finding an effective insulation solution for the vehicle trailers in which the ingots would be carried.
Moors Ovenbouw BV of Diessen were engaged to undertake the project. The first step was to insulate the floor of the trailer, making it safe, while maintaining sufficient strength to handle the loading of heavy ingots to a total weight of 25 metric tons. The floor also needed to provide an airtight joint between the trailer and the insulated hood placed over the load.
The floor was constructed using a base layer of Superwool® Plus Blok from Morgan Advanced Materials. A low biopersistent fibre product designed for high-temperature insulation applications, Superwool® Plus Blok was chosen for a number of reasons: its light weight of 320 kg/m³; its combination of strength and flexibility; its ability to cope with the 25 ton steel load without cracking or deforming; and most importantly, its 30% improved insulation value when compared with calcium silicate board – minimising heat loss and therefore saving energy.
The Superwool® Plus Blok was covered with a layer of sand and the frame edge was made of Morgan’s JM26 Insulating Firebricks which gave the structure sufficient strength to handle the initial load of the hood before making an airtight seal.
The hood was constructed from a steel casing which can be demounted for loading and unloading. A 100mm thickness of stack-mounted Superwool® Plus 128kg/m3 was used in the lining of the hood. The stack mounting optimised the strength of the lining – a key consideration given that while the vehicle would be travelling at speeds of up to 80 kph (50 mph), with the associated vibration and forces created by stopping, starting and turning.
Superwool® Plus delivers energy-saving benefits by maximising the number of fibres available in the insulation layer, thereby reducing thermal conductivity. As a result, it minimises the total energy lost while having a more compact footprint than many other insulation materials.
Initial tests delivered impressive results. While the system was designed to maintain a temperature fall of no more than 50°C over a five-hour period, Nugteren Transport BV reported that the temperature fall over that time was actually less than 25°C.
Even when the ingots were left in the vehicle over a full weekend, products loaded on a Friday still reached the customer on the following Monday at a temperature of 375°C. Furthermore, over the duration of the test, the external temperature of the hood did not exceed 70°C, the maximum temperature allowed by the RDW (Dutch Department of Transport).
Bennie Lekkerkerk, Business Manager for Morgan Advanced Materials in Benelux, commented: "Superwool® Plus offers a clear advantage over other materials through its distinct chemical formulation. By optimising the number of fibres in the insulation layer, we can deliver an effective energy-saving solution that offers significant benefits. Optimising the fibre index allows us to reduce the thickness of insulation used and also gives great benefit in strength and vibration resistance of the fibre.
"Nugteren Transport BV has seen at first hand the benefits of using Superwool® Plus fibre. As well as delivering substantial energy-saving results, the highly engineered material is environmentally friendly, with EU waste regulations classifying the material as unhazardous."