Temperature regulation poses a challenge for many industrial piping processes. Even in warmer climates, heat loss can prevent pipes from remaining at the optimal temperature for their operations and contents, which threatens productivity and product quality, respectively.
Heat tracing, also known as trace heating, offers a solution to controlling pipe temperatures. The system involves running an electric heating element along the length of a pipe, often coupled with insulation, to facilitate even heating. The combination of thermal insulation with an active heating element provides a finer level of temperature control for pipes and vessels that is critical to many industries.
Why Use Heat Tracing?
Heat tracing is a highly versatile method of maintaining pipe or vessel temperatures. For some applications, it is used to prevent freezing during the winter, which is a significant threat to productivity. Even in applications where freezing is not a primary concern, heat tracing is one of the more efficient ways to ensure that pipes and vessels remain at the proper operating or processing temperature.
How Does Insulation Complement Heat Tracing?
To maximize the benefits of heat tracing, many installations also incorporate insulation. The layer of insulation bundles the heat tracing element and pipes together, helping maintain the interior temperature, reduce thermal loss, and maximize energy efficiency.
Applications of Heat Tracing
Applications for heat tracing commonly center around the oil and gas industries. Production, processing, and storage equipment in these industries generally require the maintenance of specific operating temperatures for optimal performance and productivity. For example, high temperatures are necessary to bring oil or gas to the surface during extraction. Some of the other functions of heat tracing in the oil and gas industries include maintenance of set temperatures during refining and storing processes and winterizing processing facilities in colder climates.
Additional industries where heat tracing is employed, include:
- Chemical production and processing
- Food processing
- Power generation
- Water and waste processing
In these industries, heat tracing represents a cost-effective and energy-efficient management solution for applications like:
- Winterizing or freeze protecting pipes, tanks, and storage vessels
- Maintaining the temperature of storage tanks and hot water distribution pipes
- Integrating underfloor, roof, or gutter heating
- Heating walkways, roads, and other passenger and vehicle access areas to minimize snow and ice buildup
Heat Tracing Solutions From Firwin
An effective heat tracing setup requires high-quality components, including insulation, which largely influences how efficiently the system maintains and manages heat. At Firwin, we provide a full range of high-performance insulation for use with heat tracing.
Our durable insulation blankets—also referred to as insulation covers or jackets—are our flagship product. Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and configurations, all of our blankets are crafted from multi-layered performance materials and feature secure fastening systems to ensure a snug fit. No matter what component you’re seeking to protect, we offer a standard or customized insulation solution that can reduce the amount of heat loss in your system, maximizing the efficiency of your heat tracing.
Our extensive inventory of insulation blankets includes:
Exposure to extreme temperatures and chemicals reduces the active service life of upstream equipment. Our tight-sealing valve covers fit over important junctions, keeping them safe from temperature fluctuations and other damaging environmental factors.
Uncovered flanges can lead to heat loss at multiple points of a piping system. To prevent this, our removable insulation blankets are custom-designed to fit over all types and sizes of flanges.
Vessel and Manway Covers
In addition to maximizing efficiency, maintaining safety is another key concern regarding pipe tracing. In certain situations, vessels and manways can become somewhat hot, which can pose a risk to operators, service technicians, and passers-by. To prevent burns, our vessel and manway covers both trap heat and prevent direct contact with hot surface metal.
Instrumental Panel Covers
Complex and sensitive instrumentation also requires protection. Our removable insulation blankets provide excellent heat retention to the equipment as needed while allowing for ease of removal and reapplication.
Contact Firwin for Heat Trace Insulation Solutions
Heat tracing allows for efficient and cost-effective thermal regulation. The addition of insulation further increases its advantages. At Firwin, we carry high-quality insulation solutions for a wide range of industrial applications.