How Does Weather Affect Your Turnaround Schedule? | Aspen Aerogels

By John Williams

January 31, 2017

Turnarounds and other maintenance events, both big and small, take lots of planning and preparation. It’s an orchestrated event filled with charts, schedules, people, and milestones. So what happens when Mother Nature decides to stir things up with inclement weather?

During a recent turnaround at a refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area, a contractor made an unusual, yet strategic decision due to rain.

Work on the turnaround continued to get pushed, and the contractor was under serious pressure to get their work finished so the unit could be restarted.

The contractor on this particular job was installing both calcium silicate (calsil) and Pyrogel® XTE aerogel blanket insulation. When a storm threatened to cause more delays, the contractor made the decision to finish jacketing the calsil, leaving the Pyrogel XTE largely unjacketed. The storm dropped 1.5 inches of rain in one day—a significant amount for this area.

However, the unit was successfully restarted and everything was stabilized—before the contractor had finished jacketing all the insulation.

How can that be, you ask?

Pyrogel XTE makes this possible due to its extreme hydrophobic and breathable properties. Pyrogel XTE repels liquid water, but should water actually get beneath the insulation, it also allows water vapor to escape. Piping and equipment stay drier for longer, even with rain falling on unprotected insulation.

Of course, it’s not recommended to leave Pyrogel unjacketed normally, but if you’re facing a similar situation, it’s good to know Pyrogel has you covered.

The strategic decision to finish jacketing the calsil and leaving Pyrogel XTE largely unjacketed meant the contractor finished up their work quickly in preparation for the storm. And in spite of the rain, and with some remaining work left to complete, the turnaround schedule was not negatively impacted, nor did the unit incur added expense and delay due to replacing wet calsil.

In addition to advantages in inclement weather, Pyrogel offers other unique, time-saving advantages in turnarounds. Learn more about them here