Refractory ferrules are specially modified ceramic heat transfer agents that are embedded into metallic casings. They are utilized to transfer heat from high temperature boilers to other refineries and chemical units. Refractory ferrules installed in a boiler help minimize heat losses from the furnace and contain the heat generated in the furnace. Refractory ferrules must have insulating properties to withstand extremely high boiler temperatures. Refractory ferrules used inside the boiler furnace should be made of inert materials. They should not contaminate the materials with which they are in contact during the operation. Refractory ferrules are primarily used in the chemical industry for heat transfer at extremely high temperature. Ceramic ferrules possess superior heat transferring properties at extremely high temperatures; therefore, they are employed in sulfur recovery units in petrochemical reformer units. Ceramic ferrules are mostly made of zirconium, alumina, and mullite. Recent technological advancement in composite material development has made it possible to use composites in the manufacture of refractory ferrules. These ferrules protect carbon steel tubes and welded joints of the boiler from extreme heat and chemical corrosion & degradation. In order to withstand these constraints, refractory ferrules should have high mechanical strength, chemical resistance, and thermal shock resistance at elevated temperatures. Failure of refractory ferrules in boiler applications can result in unplanned shutdown of the entire production unit.
Refractory ferrules are available in a wide range of designs and shapes according to different pipeline and operation requirements. Designing of industrial refractory ferrules depends on operating parameters, unit construction, and historical performance of the boiler. Other important factors that should be taken into account before installation of ferrules are operating temperature range, unit environment, operating pressure range, tubing and pipeline design, tubing material, and cost. Commonly used refractory ferrules include regular ring ceramic ferrules, double ring style ferrules, tapered style ceramic ferrules, solid head ceramic ferrules, hexagon ceramic ferrules, and round refractory ferrules. Most commonly used refractory ferrules in boiler operations are round ferrules embedded in a monolithic refractory setting. It is used to protect boiler tubing from extremely high temperature and pressure. Hexagonal refractory ferrules also employed in majority of boiler applications that require special operating conditions. These are highly flexible in applications among different tubing and pipeline designs and are compatible with the systems that use oxygen enrichment in the boiler. Hexagonal refractory ferrules possess lower pressure drop compared to round ferrules. This helps improve process efficiency by preserving heat losses.
Increase in chemical operations, growth in power infrastructure, high health & safety standards, and rise in demand for petrochemicals around the globe are major factors driving the refractive ferrules market. North America, followed by Europe, is the leading manufacturer of refractive ferrules. China is a prominent manufacturer of refractive ferrules in Asia Pacific, followed by India and Japan. Growth in petrochemical and power sectors in China is boosting the market for refractory ferrules in Asia Pacific owing to cheap labor and raw material cost, skilled manpower, and increase in export to countries in other regions. Government-supported policies and power generation programs in India are also boosting the refractive ferrules market in the country. Fluctuation in economy in Europe and Latin America and increase in prices of petrochemicals are the key restraints of the refractive ferrules market around the globe.
Key players operating in the global refractive ferrules market include Nelson Fastener Systems, Agrotek Services, Blasch Precision Ceramics, Cemline Corporation, FELDCO International, Gouda Refractories BV, LSP Industrial Ceramics, and Zampell Refractories.
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