Case Study

Case study: Thermoforming System Upgrade for Insulation Provider

A leading manufacturer of thermal insulation, with state-of-the-art facilities in the UK and Ireland, needed a more productive system for their thermoforming processes. Supplying the construction industry with a comprehensive range of insulation materials, the need for quality and efficiency led Xtratherm to choose Ceramicx for a more reliable and effective custom-built system.

Thermoforming process

Since launching in 1986, Ireland-based company Xtratherm has led the way in developing and manufacturing high performance insulation products and systems. With their products helping the construction industry to build better insulated and low-energy buildings, they’ve grown to become the leading suppliers of specialist insulation products for floors, walls, and roofs.

As a key part of their on-site manufacture, Xtratherm are reliant on a thermoforming process to achieve a preformed finish on certain products. Specific cavity wall insulation blocks come engineered as preformed corner panels, or are designed to feature preformed slots to prevent board creep during installation, or specially designed flutes to deflect moisture, all giving protection from wind and rain.

As a major part of their manufacturing for these products, Xtratherm has a heavy reliance on their in-house thermoforming process. With ongoing quality and maintenance issues with their current set-up leading to costly delays and downtime, they approached Ceramicx to propose and custom-build a replacement system.

Ceramicx for reliability and efficiency

As continued suppliers for many of Xtratherm’s spare and replacement infrared heating elements, the foundations of a successful partnership with Ceramicx were already in place. Working directly with their experienced team, we were able to identify the key problem areas in their current system and generate drawings and full specifications to create a new thermoforming system.

After further research and development, final functional system specs and production design drawings were submitted for approval. With full optimisation across the client’s efficiency and process specifications, the plans met the high standard required for Xtratherm’s production output.

No strangers to Ceramicx infrared technology, Xtratherm’s choice of x 132 industry-standard Ceramicx square flat, hollow ceramic elements, arranged in 22 x 6 heater arrays, was key to their new set-up. Producing a shorter heat up time, SFEH elements are more energy-efficient and produce a diffused radiant output.

To enhance this output, each array used Ceramicx polished aluminium clad steel reflectors for maximum radiant heat efficiency.

Total power 52.8kW
External dimensions 3,330mm x 900mm
Element type SFEH 400W / 230V Black x 132 (22 x 6 heater array)
Frame SS304
Reflectors Ceramicx polished aluminium clad steel reflectors
Back cover Perforated aluminium in x 4 pieces (1.5mm thick)
Electrical connection Via 10m flexible metallic conduit with additional 500mm leads

While retaining the production capacity and set-up similarities they required, the new and bespoke thermoforming system now gives Xtratherm the quality, reliability, and efficiency they need. Crucially, the prospect of both ongoing maintenance and downtime has been drastically reduced, allowing for continued and increased production.

Components Used

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