Pipe heaters are designed to fit inside of a pipe, making it possible to provide heat where other heaters cannot. They provide indirect heating and make it possible to remove for repair, cleaning or maintenance without having to drain the tanks where they are used.
Pipe heaters are most often used for heating:
The asphalt industry relies on pipe heaters for both storage and transportation. Their primary purpose is to control the viscosity of the medium. Pipe heaters are used similarly for crude oil.
Both crude and asphalt begin to solidify if they lose their heat, preventing them from being pumped in or out of trains for transportation. On trains, they use electric generators to provide a high voltage power supply to the pipe heaters.
To effectively maintain the correct viscosity during storage and transportation pipe heaters need the right wattage. They need a low watt density. For asphalt, they are typically set to provide 1500 watts per linear foot. In train transport, this can mean using 8 pipe heaters in tandem.
Although asphalt and bitumen are sometimes confused, they are different mediums. Bitumen is used with asphalt in applications such as paving roads. It is a binding agent and sealant. Like heating asphalt, bitumen requires low watt density heating to be used effectively.
In the asphalt industry, companies traditionally used gas because of the amount of BTU gas provides. This can make gas a cheap option for this purpose. But they’re switching to electric pipe heaters because of the improved safety.
Electric heaters are much simpler to use and require less complex rigs. With gas heaters, there is a lot more room for error, increasing the risk of worker accidents. With their simple design, electric heaters are easy for workers to use or when transferring between vessels.
This is important because energy supplies can be dangerous, and the people handling them don’t always have extensive training.
In addition, electric power is much more environmentally friendly. Reducing carbon footprint is good practice ecologically, and is financially beneficial in places where a carbon tax is enforced.
Wattco custom-engineers and manufactures electric heaters for companies, governments, and municipalities. All Wattco electric pipe heaters are made to the specifications of your process. Contact Wattco today for quotes or more information.