Thermamax’s new enclosed metallic insulation for compensators and corrugated tubes allows continuous temperature management over the entire exhaust tract while ensuring flexibility and easy access.

Thermamax has introduced a new, fully enclosed metallic insulation system for compensators located within the exhaust tract of internal combustion engines. The company said that the applications for these insulating systems are extensive and by no means restricted to individual special applications.

This new product represents an important step forward in the thermal insulation of the engine’s exhaust tract. “From a thermal point of view, compensators, corrugated tubes and bellows are often the last weak point within the exhaust tract,” said Peter Cappellucci, head of Thermamax’s department of research and development. “They compensate differing axial and lateral movements of coupled components in exhaust systems and can be found on almost every engine.

“The role of these components in the finely adjusted temperature design of the exhaust tract is of some importance, but the insulation systems for compensators currently on the market can lag behind user requirements,” added Cappellucci.

According to Cappellucci, some current insulation systems show weaknessinsulation es with their imperviousness and safety, as well as in durability. Over time, the insulation blankets used can chafe on the compensators and if the systems are not fully sealed, the insulating material may trickle out or disintegrate as a result of penetrating substances. In addition, he added that metal-mesh reinforced blankets or protective films used to enhance abrasion resistance can damage the compensator. Because of this, “a durable insulation effect is not guaranteed and user dissatisfaction is practically inevitable,” said Cappellucci.

Thus far, an economical and technically feasible solution — at least for series production — could not reconcile with the requirements regarding the lateral and axial flexibility of the compensator with an integrated insulation system whose aim it is to keep the heat in the exhaust tract. But Cappellucci said the fully enclosed metallic compensator insulation integrated into the overall system, Thermamax Hochtemperaturdämmungen GmbH now offers an overall solution that ensures the easy access, flexibility and durability of the thermal insulation.

“The new technology, for which a patent has been filed, offers optimum weaknessinsulation values, high imperviousness, full flexibility and, since we are dealing with a closed system, the combination of more safety and a much longer service life,” said Cappellucci.

“It is, above all, the durability of this first fully enclosed metallic system which makes the product so interesting from an economic point of view. Furthermore, thanks to the integration of the metallic compensator insulation into the overall exhaust system, the response characteristics and the efficiency of exhaust gas aftertreatment systems are clearly enhanced, which — considering the evermore-stringent emission laws — is technically indispensable,” he added.

At the same time, the handling of the entire process is much simpler and the life-cycle cost for the whole exhaust tract is considerably reduced, according to Thermamax. “Whoever expects the added value that this solution offers to translate into a distinct increase in the cost per unit is mistaken,” said Cappellucci. “The price for the integrated metallic compensator insulation is not significantly more expensive than the price of existing systems. It is certainly worthwhile.”

In contrast to the conventional technologies used for the insulation of compensators and corrugated tubes, Thermamax is pursuing a different concept. The company looks at the exhaust pipes and compensators not as separate components, but as an interrelated system, taking into account the peripheral environment and the specific location of each of the components.

Thus, according to Thermamax, continuous temperature management over the entire exhaust tract is possible without impairing the required functionality of the compensator in any way.

Cappellucci said that the newly developed insulating systems can be used for practically all compensator and bellow variants known on the market and enable unrestricted free lateral and axial movements. “Our lab and field tests have revealed that the insulating effect on the compensator is as high as on other directly insulated components of the exhaust tract, he said. Our customers are thrilled. A functional insulating system is possible for almost any application.”

According to Thermamax, the technical challenge for these new-generation compensator insulation systems was to combine the benefits of Thermamax direct insulation products (tmax integral insulation) such as insulating properties, durability and imperviousness with the technical requirements of the compensators and bellows with respect to flexibility.

Thermamax analyzed the marine sector, where enclosed metallic insulating systems are an absolute must because of the SOLAS regulations. The company said that many marine engines are still equipped with insulating blankets that can wear out relatively quickly and get soaked with inflammable substances, thus posing a considerable fire hazard. Due to this risk potential, the classification societies will, in the meantime, no longer accept these conventional insulating systems and will require fully enclosed systems.

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