Regulate cold with electrical heat tracing this winter

Electrical heat tracing (EHT) can assist plant and process managers to alleviate stubborn viscosity-sensitive products and processes, especially during the winter months with its energy challenges. By Dirk Venter at eltherm SA

EHT001To prevent freeze damage, EHT can be installed on
these pipes, preventing them from freezing.

In a time where energy conservation has become paramount, the imminent winter months bring its own set of efficiency challenges. South African organisations face escalating energy usage and expenditure — during colder months — all in an effort to run operations within prescribed temperature perimeters.

Fortunately, technology innovation has led to some effective solutions that enable manufacturers to keep products at an optimal temperature, lowering viscosity and ensuring that it is easier to transport products around the plant during the colder months.

One such solution is EHT. EHT lowers the viscosity of many processes, as it acts as a compensating heat source to maintain or raise the heat in pipes, tanks, surfaces, and other vessels. It effectively replaces the heat loss in the process and can therefore be used to prevent product from gelling or freezing, whilst maintaining the low viscosity of the process on plant equipment.

Ultimately, EHT helps ensure that pumps do not malfunction due to cavitation and pipes do not get blocked, mitigating costly repairs, maintenance, and potential downtime.

Heat tracing can also provide significant cost reductions and energy conservation since it regulates temperature, ensuring that during uncharacteristically cold days, other costly sources such as flange or gas heater do not have to be used to compensate for unplanned heat loss.

Self-regulating EHT comes into play here as it provides a controlled wattage, effectively maintaining a fixed target temperature without external control. This in turn drives down time spent to maintain temperature as well as continuously adjusting the temperature or worse, be caught unawares as it becomes colder.

EHT002Example of heat tracing regulating temperature.

Self-regulating EHT therefore reduces power output as temperature increases and conversely, increases it systematically as the temperature lowers, which in turn leads to improved energy efficiency.

Ultimately, EHT helps ensure that pumps do not malfunction due to cavitation and pipes do not get blocked, mitigating costly repairs, maintenance, and potential down time.

Winter not only affects industry — colder days and the resultant higher viscosity can also impact domestic water supply as well as reliable drainage of rain and waste water, leading to freeze damage and ultimately, frozen and burst pipes. 

To prevent freeze damage, EHT can be installed on pipes, preventing them from freezing. Again, a customised, self-regulating heat tracing solution is developed, installed, and monitored to ensure pipes are warm enough throughout the winter months

EHT can maintain and lower the viscosity of liquids in many industries and applications, such as:

  • Resins, epoxies, and adhesives;
  • Petrochemical industry;
  • Bitumen;
  • Food and beverage, such as glucose, chocolates, fats, vegetable and palm oils, and other syrups;
  • Automotive manufacturing processes like glues and oils; and
  • Brewing – maltose and dextrose.


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