Leaking, dripping pipes from condensation are perpetual problems in many manufacturing plants. At Devro-Teepak, things were no different. It produces manufactured sausage casings for the food industry from its plant in Columbia, S.C.

To prevent protein deterioration, some materials must be cooled with a chilled water system that operates at approximately 44∞F supply and 52∞F return temperatures.

During a South Carolina summer, temperatures regularly hit the 95∞ mark, with 90% relative humidity – combined with a chilled water system, the perfect situation for piping condensation.

“Despite the use of elastomeric pipe insulation, condensation on the chilled water pipes had been a problem since the plant was built in 1976,” said Bob McCloskey, a plant engineer.

In late 1998, approximately 75 feet of Knauf Perma Wick insulation was installed on two 6-in. chilled water lines. PermaWick was also installed on a shorter vertical section of chilled water piping. All PermaWick sections were covered with white PVC jacketing.

PermaWick pipe insulation is designed to continuously remove above-freezing water vapor that tries to condense on cold piping. Based on technology originally developed in Denmark by Professor Vagn Korsgaard and licensed to Knauf, PermaWick employs “wicking” action with a specially designed and integrated PermaWick cloth wick system.

The pipe insulation has a hydrophilic wicking cloth at its core and extending to the surface on its underside. As water vapor migrates through the insulation vapor retarder and condenses, it is captured by this super-absorbent cloth. The cloth then pulls the moisture to the underside of the system where it evaporates, leaving the pipe insulation dry and its thermal qualities intact.