What is the most common pitfall of a trace heating project?

A modern and functional trace heating system yields savings, flexibility, precise adjustability and ease of maintenance. In the procurement and design phase of the project, choices are sometimes made that may have critical consequences.

A modern and functional trace heating system yields savings, flexibility, precise adjustability and ease of maintenance. In the procurement and design phase of the project, choices are sometimes made that may have critical consequences.

That being said, how does one go about avoiding the most common pitfalls in acquiring a trace heating system?

Purchasing expertise is the cornerstone of the project

Deficient initial information is a common challenge in purchasing a trace heating. Without the appropriate knowledge, the project is off to a shaky start. It is a good idea to secure the help of a professional installer of trace heating solutions as early on as possible, even during the collection of initial data, to ensure that a comprehensive list of diagrams is compiled.

In the case of a commercial purchaser, only the price and time are usually considered. Unfortunately, deficiencies in initial data and the list of diagrams often leads to erroneous project dimensioning. This necessitates corrections after project completion, resulting in an unexpectedly high total cost, including all the additional work and repairs.

Project dimensioning

If the price and schedule of the project are busting at the seams, there is little chance for success in the actual work phase. Unfortunate real-life examples are projects where the professionals involved find out that they have no way of doing their work properly in the installation phase.

Unrealistic schedules force the installers to take short cuts even if they have the expertise to do quality work, which is a waste of both money and skill.

"A latent installation error can interrupt the production process and cause massive losses"

In the worst case scenario, the trace heating solution passes the test phase at the end of the contract with acceptable results in the test run. However, the system may contain faults resulting from the hurried schedule, which are not discovered before the beginning of normal production. A fault of this kind may interrupt the entire process and cause massive losses and remedial measures.

Latent faults can be revealed with the Planray condition monitoring system trace heating solutions, which saves the measurement data of heating circuits.

Why the cheapest is not always the cheapest

Cable installation errors are typical failures resulting from a project driven to its limits through excessive competitive bidding and incorrect dimensioning. The installer ends up completing the cabling work in haste and the pipe does not heat up properly.

Especially with large projects, it can be very expensive to sort things out afterwards and find the faults and installation errors - not to mention the settlement of the relevant liability issues.
"The wrong breaker box can reduce the service life or break the heating circuits"

Insulation can also present problems after start-up. For example, selecting the wrong kind of breaker box can result in leaks.

Water entering the box will damage the equipment, sometimes shortening the life span or breaking the heating circuit. This results in premature repairs and replacements to the trace heating arrangements.

The unpleasant task to be put off or an enabler of significant savings?

A significant problem in purchasing trace heating is that the work involved is seen as difficult and unpleasant since industrial defrosting and critical process heating systems are not - and do not need to be - part of the purchaser's core competence. This is why trace heating often ends up as one of the last things to be considered.

"Designing trace heating is unnecessarily seen as difficult and unpleasant"

Putting the trace heating system on the design table early on and taking advantage of the skill of professionals is sure to pay dividends. Expertise can prevent costly surprises and yield substantial benefits.

An easy and sure-fire solution is to purchase a trace heating as a comprehensive package, which is incorporated in the plans at the outset of the project.

Don't miss the benefits of the Industrial Internet and automation

The benefits of automation should be leveraged in trace heating systems. For example, a modern trace heating system provides more options with regard to the choices of heating cables in the planning phase. When the system enables accurate adjustments and changes, you can use the most affordable quality cables on the market. This means that fewer cable types are needed, and changes in heating circuit lengths are no longer a problem.

"Work is more efficient when data can be read from a single location and maintenance is predictive."

At the beginning of production, automation facilitates process monitoring. Work is more efficient thanks to remote equipment control. Data is read and monitored via the central unit's user interface. Automation enables you to easily monitor the condition of circuits, sensors and controllers from a single point - the plant's control room or the Intranet with a web browser.

The Industrial Internet enables a new and efficient way of controlling electric heating circuits. When the process and actual equipment condition can be monitored closely over a long span of time, the occurrence of any errors can be predicted by analytical means. The analytics of predictive maintenance and energy efficiency yield significant benefits and savings. Contact us for more information on concrete savings and references.

Carefully planned system or sloppy afterthought?

At its best, a trace heating system is a functional whole that generates cost savings and keeps the entire production process warm and running.

"Good planning keeps you from having to patch things up afterwards"
The larger the system, the more significant the risk that can be prevented with good planning. When trace heating and professional expertise are involved from the start of the design phase, there is no need to put out fires later.

Are you planning a trace heating project? Let our experts help you plan a successful implementation. Planray is a pioneer in industrial electric heating systems developed in demanding Finnish climate conditions.

Contact us via Planray Chat or by e-mail.

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