Insulating Castable Refractories

Industrial furnaces and kilns rely on high temperature insulation materials to optimise production yield and minimise energy costs, which can rise rapidly if excessive heat escapes from the point of operation.

Insulating castable refractory materials are key to this energy-saving process due to their inherent low heat conductivity as well as advantages derived from ease of placement and structural strength. However, with so many local, national and global manufacturers delivering to market a myriad of material technologies and products, accurate specification is a highly challenging task.
Indo Bata Api Utama provides insulating firebricks and castable refractories under the Naifo brand name.

Customer requirements for ever higher performance products, and installer needs for easy to apply materials, drive the leading refractory manufacturers worldwide to continue to invest heavily in the research and development of next-generation industrial insulation image materials. The aim is to bring to market castable products which combine optimum insulation performance with other important attributes, such as strength, operator safety and ease of installation.

Specifying insulating castable refractory systems has become a real challenge, with those containing alternative, high-performance core monolithic ingredients, such as crushed insulating fire bricks, now an increasingly popular specification staple for complex high-temperature applications. That said, the use of conventional raw materials such as perlite, an amorphous volcanic glass, and vermiculite, a hydrous phyllosilicate mineral, remains prevalent in many sectors. Despite crushed insulating fire bricks containing insulating castable mixes outperforming conventional material choices in both application precision and product performance, habitual specification behaviour is preventing customers in certain industries from moving in favour of better alternatives. As with any change in specification, education is key to enable decision-makers to select a product which is best suited to each individual application in accordance with environmental factors, application considerations, desired outcome and, of course, cost.

With advances in materials technology set to continue, and product variety expected to increase even further, specification best practice will become continually more challenging to apply. With that in mind, it is vital for specifiers to obtain and uphold a detailed understanding of the key products, their technical capabilities, application processes and how each one can facilitate or hinder key drivers including installation, lifetime cost and energy efficiency.

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