Electric heating elements, such as immersion heaters and pipe heaters, have a wide variety of uses and applications within the processing and industrial manufacturing industries. Electric heating elements, such as pipe heaters, aid processing industries and manufacturing processes by maintaining various substances at the correct, specified temperature.
The oil and gas industry is perhaps the largest sector to implement electric heating elements, but pipe heaters are also used in many other industries, such as food processing and power production. There are many applications within these industries, and pipe heaters in the industrial processing and manufacturing industry serve a unique and important function, as they fit specific tank applications, operate with low wattage, utilize materials that are compatible with a wide variety of substances and liquids, both dense and viscous.
Electric heating elements, such as pipe heaters, are designed in one of two functions: either direct immersion heaters or indirect immersion heaters. As the name implies, direct immersion heaters raise the temperature in the given substance or liquid through direct contact, immersing the main heating element directly into the substance or liquid. On the other hand, the main heating element of indirect immersion heaters never comes in direct contact with the substance or liquid, but rather transfers heat and maintains temperatures through conduction, radiation, or convection. Therefore, pipe heaters are considered indirect immersion heaters, since the heating element does not come in direct contact with the liquid substance. Instead, the electric heating element transfers heat to the pipe that carries the liquid substance, thereby heating the medium indirectly. This is one of the main aspects of pipe heaters that make the electric heating element so easy to maintain.
The tank, pressure vessel, or pipes do not need to be emptied of the given substance or liquid in order for the heating element to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced. Electric pipe heaters can be implemented with a wide variety of substances and liquids. This includes dense materials requiring low watt heat, such as waxes, tar, and molasses. As well, substances requiring higher heat, such as corrosive liquids and heavy bunker fuel oils also apply.
Furthermore, electric pipe heaters can be constructed to fit any NPS standard pipes, including 2” and 3” schedules. Since it is compatible with many substances and many piping and containment specifications, the electric heating element of pipe heaters can be implemented just as well in oil processing as in the production of candy.
Pipe heaters are most commonly coated with a ceramic protective sheath, making the heating element highly resistant to thermal heat up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is one of the reasons for its versatility with substances. The heating element can take the form of a screw plug heater, flanged heater, as well as open coil elements, which is generally considered one of the most efficient modes of electric heating, as well as the most economic choice.
Pipe heaters are easily matched with thermocouples to give an accurate temperature reading to an external digital controller. Therefore, electric pipe heaters are a simple yet effective means of maintaining temperatures in a wide variety of applications.