Pipe heaters play an important role in a number of processing industries. They maintain the temperature of substances and liquids with a high degree of accuracy and reliability. The oil and gas industry is the largest sector to implement electric pipe heaters.
Pipe heaters are used in indirect immersion heaters. The elements don’t come into direct contact with the medium being heated, instead, they heat the pipe carrying the medium. Their accuracy, safety, and cost make them ideal for the oil and gas industry.
Also called drywall heaters, pipe heaters are compatible with custom wattages and materials making them useful in several oil and gas applications. They can withstand caustic and corrosive materials, as well as reaching high temperatures. Some common applications of pipe heaters in the oil and gas industry include:
From heating fuel storage tanks to degreasing, pipe heaters play an important role in tanks. Most tanks use open coil element pipe insert heaters. This is the most affordable and efficient tank heating option.
Pipe heating satisfies the specific needs of tank heating:
In both onshore and offshore oil production, pipe heating plays an important role. It protects the product through pipe transport, as well as maintaining onsite facilities and operations.
Even when insulated, piping can lose heat. A pipe heater prevents heat loss and maintains the ideal viscosity of liquids travelling through the pipe. This prevents damage or solidification of the product. As well as maintaining access to potable water for drinking, showering, and washing. It also helps to prevent freezing.
Freeze protection is crucial to a number of industries. Oil and gas is one of the most common industries to use freeze protection. Pipe heaters prevent freezing in both pipes and tanks.
Freeze protection in pipes and tanks protects both the heated medium and the equipment itself. Freezing can cause major delays or costly damage. Frozen pipes can burst, halting operation until they can be replaced or repaired. A broken storage tank can result in lost product.
Pipe heaters are either welded into the pipe or use a direct attachment. They are used primarily with screw plug heaters, flange heaters, or open coil elements.
Screw plug pipe heaters are often welded into the pipe or tank. Careful material selection protects pipe heater elements with high heat applications. Using a ceramic sheath material allows heat resistance up to 1000℉.
Flange immersion heaters see similar use to screw plug heaters. They are able to heat large volumes, making them ideal for big tanks.
Open coil elements are efficient in tank, metal tubing, and pipe heating. They can decrease watt density requirements and prevent heat fluctuations on the surface area of a pipe. They provide uniform heat distribution over large areas with low operational cost.
Electric pipe heaters have a number of advantages in the oil and gas industry. They provide the best balance between efficiency and cost.
Electric pipe heaters have the lowest operational costs available for efficient and effective equipment. The cost of electricity is lower than fossil fuels. As well, the heaters are easy and inexpensive to maintain and repair.
The easy access to indirect heaters means that pipes and tanks do not need draining for repairs, installs, replacements, cleaning, or maintenance. That means less downtime on production.
Electric pipe heaters are reliable. With the aid of temperature control, they can ensure a 1-degree accuracy in heating. Matching them with thermocouples provides extra protection. This level of accuracy ensures consistency, efficiency, and safety.
Pipe heaters allow for a greater degree of safety for products, equipment, and workers. They allow for potentially flammable or explosive mediums to remain safely contained while being heated. WATTCO offers pipe heaters fit with NEMA 7 explosion proof boxes.
Indirect immersion pipe heaters provide better heating than heat trace cables. They offer more reliable heat transfer as well as having higher heat capacities. They are also more resistant. Immersion pipe heaters can withstand weather, handling, and regular wear and tear better than heat tracing.
Whether you’re in the oil & gas industry or another processing industry, WATTCO representatives can help you pick the right pipe heater for your application. Get a quote today!
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