It is clear to everyone that walls are insulated to store heat in the house and protect it from the cold. But not everyone knows that pipes, appliances or containers also need to be insulated. After all, this ensures that a hot water pipe does not lose unnecessary energy. In the three-year training course to become an industrial insulator, you will specialise in industrial insulation and learn how to insulate large systems in power stations, for example, using different insulating materials. As this is a step-by-step training, you will first need to complete the two-year training to become an insulation specialist.
What does a skilled insulation worker and industrial insulator do?
Selecting and processing materials : Whether it's fire protection, sound insulation or protection against the cold, insulation ensures, among other things, that refrigeration systems don't heat up or that fires don't spread as quickly. Insulation specialists and industrial insulators know exactly which insulation materials - such as mats, boards or felts - are suitable for which purpose. They also know all the properties, such as thermal conductivity, of the respective materials and how to store them correctly.
Production of jackets : Some insulation materials cannot simply be attached to the pipes, so a jacket is attached around the insulation. These sheaths for pipes or lines are for example made of sheet metal. Beforehand, measurements are taken to ensure that the sleeve will fit precisely afterwards, and then the finished sheet is cut to size or rounded - depending on the work order.
Read the drawings : The final shape of the sheet is specified in the technical drawings. As a specialist, you can not only read these drawings, but also make them yourself, for example by using drawing tools such as a compass. You are also familiar with manuals and instruction sheets.
Assembling objects : For example, if you have worked on heat, cold or sound insulation, you also have to fix it, for example on pipes, containers or ceilings. Since you have to remove the ceiling before you can fix it, as a specialist you also know about drywall construction. You then know the differences between ceiling finishes and can distinguish between gypsum and plasterboard, for example.
Use machines and equipment : Some sheets are created and punched to the nearest millimetre by computer-controlled equipment. The insulators operate these and other machines, such as cutting or drilling machines. Then the finished parts are installed on the construction site.
What is the difference between an industrial insulator and a skilled insulation worker?
The difference lies mainly in the length of training. Because Industrial Insulators are trained for a longer period of time, they have a wider range of skills and perform tasks that differ very little from those of skilled Insulation workers. Industrial insulators, for example, also make vapour barriers and fire protection closures and fittings. Vapour barriers prevent moisture from penetrating insulation and fire protection seals are used to close openings in fire-resistant walls, for example.
Where can I work as an insulation specialist and industrial insulator?
As an Insulator you work in a wide variety of industries. Mainly in companies and businesses where industrial installations have to be insulated. These companies often belong to the energy and environmental technology sector or the chemical industry. You may also find a job in a company that specialises in industrial insulation and offers this service.
You will usually work both in workshops, where you produce fittings for pipes, for example, and on construction sites, where you install them.
What are the working hours of an insulation fitter and an industrial insulator?
As a rule, you work weekdays in this profession. Depending on the company, shift work is also possible.
What kind of work clothes do skilled insulation workers and industrial insulators wear?
The work clothes worn in this profession are comfortable and are mainly intended to provide protection. As you often work with large and noisy machines, you wear protective clothing. This includes safety shoes, hearing protection, gloves and a safety helmet. What exactly you wear depends on the job. Generally, overalls and a T-shirt are part of the daily work attire.
What kind of person do I need to be to work in the insulation industry?
Craftsman : When you cut sheets or apply insulation, everything has to fit perfectly. You need manual dexterity to make your material work properly.
Technician : In this profession, nothing works without a machine. Drills, heat pumps or computer-controlled systems - as an apprentice, you will become familiar with a wide range of equipment, be able to operate it and identify faults.
Sporty : When lifting building materials or installing ceilings, physical effort is required. In general, handling equipment and machinery on the construction site requires a lot of strength.
How does the training for insulation specialist and industrial insulator work?
In this case, it is a step-by-step training: The first step is the training to become a qualified insulation worker, which lasts two years. This is also completed by the future industrial insulators, because the same content is taught in both professions during these two years. Afterwards, you have two options: Either you finish your training as an insulation specialist after the two years, or you take an intermediate exam and decide to continue for another year - the second stage of the training. This allows you to specialise in the trade of industrial insulator.
In general, the three-year training as an industrial insulator or the two-year training as an insulation specialist is twofold. During the practical phases the trainee attends the training company and during the theoretical phases the trainee attends the vocational school. This is often done in block courses. This means that you attend courses for several weeks at a time - several times a year. The rest of the time is spent at the training company.
What do you learn at the vocational school?
In the first and second year of training, you learn the same content as a future insulation specialist and industrial insulator. This includes, for example, the preparation of drawings, safety regulations at the workplace or the production of sound insulation.
The final examination for future insulation specialists takes place after two years of training. For future industrial insulators, on the other hand, it is the intermediate examination. Here you will be tested in the following subjects: technology, technical mathematics, technical drawing as well as economics and social sciences. Then you are a qualified insulation worker. As this was the intermediate exam for future industrial insulators, an additional year of training is added, and then the final exam is taken.
First year of training :
Sketching : Drawings are used to find out how to cut a sheet of metal, for example. In the first year of training, one learns to read sketches correctly and to make them.
Sheet metal processing : In this area of training you learn all about steel and non-ferrous metals, how they are processed, cut and rounded. In addition, you can produce parts from sheet metal at a later stage.
Second year of training :
Fixing substructures : Here you learn how supporting structures, e.g. rails or rings, are fixed so that the insulation cannot sag.
Differentiating between types of metal : What are the types of metal? And how do they differ? At the vocational school you learn to work with different types of metal and their properties.
Third year of training only for the Industrial Insulator training :
Making vapour barriers : Vapour barriers prevent warm air from a room from penetrating the thermal insulation of a wall. The vocational school teaches how to make them and how to evaluate their effectiveness.
Fittings : Fittings are, for example, container buttons or shaped plugs. At the vocational school, you learn how to prepare and assemble them.
What does an insulation specialist and industrial insulator learn in practice?
In the training company, you first learn about the working methods and organisation of the company and which type of insulation is in the foreground here. In addition, you will learn which protective clothing is worn for which job and what occupational health and safety is like in the company. Once you have found your way around without any problems, you measure the pipes under the guidance of the trainer and make sheet metal ducts out of them. Then the finished duct is placed on the pipe with the insulating wool.
At the latest in the second year of training, you work on machines such as round benches, folding benches or computer-controlled systems which produce finished shaped parts - e.g. raw sheet metal - to measure. These are then installed on the construction site. Over the years of training, you will learn more about the different insulation materials, how they are attached to walls, pipes, ceilings or ducts and the tools you need for this.