Avoid this common mistake in industrial electric heating design

Interruption in the production process causes thousands of euros of losses in a day. Good design ensures your heating system is reliable and saves time and money.

Interruption in the production process causes thousands of euros of losses in a day. Good design ensures your heating system is reliable and saves time and money.

How good engineering and initial investment in quality will save the industrial process owner time and money when talking about electrical heating today.

There are some universal facts in industrial electric heating that apply everywhere: laws of physics, of course, and the practices learned out in the field. These secrets of the trade are not rocket science and form a base for long lasting and efficient electrical heating systems. While the old-school practices are known to electrical heating experts, there are also new innovations in this field which are about conserving energy, managing larger amount of heating circuits and getting even better heating circuit condition monitoring for preemptive maintenance.

Good design is how you make the heating system last longer

Correctly designed heating system will not only work well but it will last several times longer. The usual mistake is to take the materials, temperature sensors and heating cables, to their limits. Do not expose heating cables over maximum rated temperatures. Do not overload heating cables.

"Don't take temperature sensors and heating cables to their limits"

Use the existing heating cable range wisely; self-regulating cable for frost protection and short heating circuits, constant wattage cable for process heating and MI (mineral insulated) metal cable for high temperature and high power applications.

So it's all about selecting the right cable for the right application and safety marginal.

Constant wattage cable with power adjusting trace heating controller is the best combination

Constant wattage cable is reliable and cheap compared to selfregulating cable. The problem with self-regulating cable is that you never know how much power it is giving out and it might have those nasty cold zones if the core is damaged or aged.

The best combination for process heating is a good trace heating controller with power adjusting feature and constant wattage cable. Having the possibility to adjust effective current, the engineer can use high power cable and go down to the desired level with the controller.

"Adjust with just a single mouse click"

Then, if more power is needed, it is one mouse click away. This cannot be done effectively with self-regulating cable.

PID control algorithm is a side product of power adjustment which enables high accuracy heating for critical processes. As constant wattage cable give the same heating power output meter by meter, it is the best choice for PID control.

Integrate to factory DCS

Factory automation system or DCS (distributed control system) is the king, and kings have advisors and servants. The best practice is to have a dedicated control system for electrical heating and connect it to the DCS.

There are plenty of good communication protocols to choose from. My favorite is ModBus. Why? It is simple, robust, been in the industry for decades and does exactly the trick and nothing else - perfection.

Planray is a Finnish company that has developed and manufactured trace heating controlling systems for industrial use for over twenty years. The products are reliable and efficient and system maintenance is very simple. Read more of our products here.

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