Powerblanket Receives Manufacturer of the Year Award from UMA

If you haven’t seen this headline somewhere else on the web by now, we’re happy to tell you all about it here. Utah Manufacturers Association recently awarded Powerblanket something we’re pretty happy about. Read on to learn more about the UMA Manufacturer of the Year Award.

 

UMA AwardUMA and Manufacturer of the Year

Utah Manufacturers Association (UMA), recently awarded Powerblanket the prestigious award  of Manufacturer of the Year. This award is given annually to the Utah-based manufacturer that proves to be the most innovative contributor to their space. There’s even more to it than this, but we’ll get to that.

UMA has been around since 1905. The organization prides itself on offering the “voice of industry” in the state of Utah, and they’ve been doing so for over 107 years now. UMA has clearly been talking Utah economy for a long time, but talking isn’t all they do. UMA is a trade association, and their goal is to enhance and improve the business climate in the state. UMA doesn’t only offer insight and expertise in the business of manufacturing, but the organization also has considerable experience in the legislative processes of state government. This is how they can do so much to vie for the interests of Utah businesses and the overall economic prosperity of the state.

UMA’s Manufacturer of the Year Award embodies the mission of UMA in multiple ways. By awarding the company that not only proves innovative in their respective markets, but also offers leadership in their industry, UMA’s award encourages and rewards the same idealism by which their organization operates. Powerblanket was chosen to receive this award for 2015, based on the embodiment of these characteristics and more. In fact, why don’t we just give it to you in their own words. According to UMA, Powerblanket received the award “for their outstanding performance in operational excellence, economic achievement, workplace safety, community outreach, and fidelity to the principles of free enterprise.”

Powerblanket is honored to receive such accolades from a high quality establishment like UMA. The credibility of UMA and the Manufacturer of the Year Award lends a great addition to our own image and ethos as a company devoted to “operational excellence, economic achievement, workplace safety, community outreach, and fidelity to the principles of free enterprise.”

So, from all of us here at Powerblanket, thank you, UMA for this great privilege.

 


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Methane Hydrates: A Dilemma for the Pipeline Industry

Sometimes the word methane carries with it a negative connotation, but if there’s a word or combination of words to trump it, it’s “methane hydrate,” at least if you’re in the piping industry that is. While methane hydrates can be found naturally occurring in the deep abys of the ocean bottom (and could serve as a good energy source) when it comes to gas lines, there’s nothing good to say about them.

 

Methane Hydrates

What are Methane Hydrates?

In terms of simplicity, a methane hydrate is a combination of methane gas and water. When these two combine at freezing temperatures, they form a solid methane hydrate. Interestingly enough, these crystal-like rocks form naturally at the depths of the sea. And in cases of potential energy sources, well, methane hydrates could be a thing of the future. However, when it comes to the piping industry, these rocks just plain get in the way.

 

Methane Solids in Your Pipes

In the case of the piping industry, methane hydrates can put a stop on gas flow like plaque can put a halt on blood flow in our arteries. When natural gas passes through piping equipment at temperatures near or below freezing, the buildup of condensation and the contraction of gas molecules create these gnarly solids we’ve been talking about. When these hydrates buildup in pipelines, especially at transition points like valves, manifolds, and instrumentation, they can pose a substantial risk to continued operation. In fact, they can outright stop it in its tracks.

So what’s the solution? It’s a simple one. It’s heat. Adding heat to a pipeline can keep temperatures at the ideal level and will entirely prevent the formation of methane hydrates. When adding regulated and even heat distribution to your equipment in the form valve heaters, manifold heaters, and instrumentation heaters, hydrate formation is no longer a problem. Thankfully, this is one of the major areas Powerblanket assists the piping industry with. Our valve, manifold, and instrumentation heaters offer the easiest and most efficient solutions to heat maintenance on a natural gas or liquid pipeline. So if hydrate formation is a dilemma that keeps you up at night, reach out to Powerblanket today, so you can start sleeping better.

 

Valve Heaters

Protect Your Agricultural Assets With Custom Heating Solutions

Forbes ran an article yesterday from Thomas Landstreet about the potential collapse in agricultural pricing. These estimations come at the cost of corn, pork, and beef especially. But whichever way the pendulum swings in the near future, one thing’s for certain: those in agriculture will need to safeguard their precious assets, and this could mean applying the proper custom heating solutions to help keep operating costs low.

 

The Agricultural Outlook

Protect Your Agricultural Assets With Custom Heating Solutions

According to Thomas Landstreet’s article on the matter, we should expect to experience a considerable drop in prices for the agricultural sector (that’s bad news) something Mr. Landstreet refers to as a retrenchment. So why the retrenchment, you ask? Well, according to Landstreet, there are two major factors that will contribute to the impending slide of the agricultural industry. One of them is something its faced time and time again, and that’s drought. Apparently the drought we passed through back in 2012 has created what Landstreet calls a bubble, one that he thinks will pop soon.

The second factor that is set to cause problems in the agricultural space is the ethanol mandate that allocated 40% of corn to creating an alternative fuel to petroleum. The effect of less corn going toward food supply has also contributed to the nearly bursting bubble. Whether the bubble bursts anytime soon or not, one thing is pertinent for the industry, and that is asset protection.

 

The Powerblanket® Contribution

If prices are to drop in the agricultural sector, then those involved in the industry are going to need to save on operating expenses where ever they can. Additionally, it’s going to be imperative to safeguard capital and resources. In the spirit of such, Powerblanket offers a myriad of possibilities in custom heating solutions for the agricultural space. So whether you need to keep large water tanks from freezing, propane storage at the ideal temperature, or DEF storage working in cold weather, Powerblanket has you covered.

Powerblanket custom heating solutions offer the most cost-effective and efficient heating solution on the market. With our patented approach to heating, we can ensure even heat distribution over the entire service area of application. What’s more, in case of temperature-sensitive storage maintenance, Powerblanket heating solutions actually add efficiency to the equation, such as in the case of our propane tank heaters. Add to this our revolutionary smart controllers and our new 3D scanning capabilities, and Powerblanket becomes the clear choice.

 

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Powerblanket® Outperforms Heat Trace

When it comes to maintaining and protecting the precious valves and instrumentations on your pipes or pipeline, Powerblanket valve heaters and instrumentation heaters outperform the best heat trace. If that seems like a bold statement, read on to find out how and why.

Powerblanket® Outperforms Heat Trace

Heat Trace vs. Powerblanket

Heat trace, often times referred to synonymously astrace heating, is a common form of providing heat and freeze protection to pipes and pipe valves, manifolds, and instrumentation. Trace heating (TH) has been around for a long time, but the cons associated with the technology are still present today. While TH offers a great solution for long stretches of pipeline sitting above ground, it certainly has its limitations when it comes to protecting valves, actuators, and instrumentation from cold weather.

One potential downside or setback related to TH installation is the requirements that come with its use. If a company is going to install TH on their piping system, they’re going to have to hire a certified electrician to do it. This translates into more time and more money. What’s more, once it’s installed, it’s permanent, whether it gets in the way or not. And while TH works well with metal piping instruments, due to the conductive nature of the material, it doesn’t work with anything else.

Benefits of the Powerblanket Solution

TH amounts to installing heated wires to the external surface or your pipes and instrumentation, but this isn’t the best option when it comes to protecting your assets from the cold. Applied heat, and insulation are what’s needed, and TH only offers conductive heat. Powerblanket valve heaters and instrumentation heaters, on the other hand, offer the best combination of both. With Powerblanket, you can easy install, uninstall, reinstall our rugged vinyl blanket to add an insulated wrap of direct heat to keep your instrumentation at the ideal temperature, regardless of the weather.

In addition to this, Powerblanket instrumentation heaters offer the most consistent and efficient heat distribution on the market. With our patented technology and proprietary blend of materials, Powerblanket heaters provide even and regulated heat distribution throughout the entire surface area of application. What’s more, our custom approach makes our technology available to fit the biggest, smallest, or most uniquely shaped instruments around.

So whether you’re looking to protect small, large, or oddly shaped instrumentation, look no further than Powerblanket.

 

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Heat Tape—And the Better Solution

Heat tape (or heating tape, as it’s sometimes referred to) is a way you can implement low-key freeze protection for your exposed pipes during the winter. In fact, this handy technology can even be used to safeguard instrumentation and other devices that are left out in the cold. However, as savvy as this approach sounds, did you know that there is a much better solution?

 

Heat Tape—And the Better Solution 1

Heating Blankets Bolster Safety and Efficiency

Heat tape has its uses in very small applications, but in most scenarios, it can be like putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone. Such a technology offers direct heat only where the tape contacts the pipe or apparatus on which it’s placed. When used on metal pipes, the heat exchange is bound to spread, merely because metal is an obvious conductor of heat. With this in mind, then, we can see another limitation in the freeze protection offered by heating tape; it can only be used on heat conductive surfaces.

Aside from this, another problem with heating tape is the simple fact that it offers only heat. Such an approach provides no insulation against the cold. Insulation on its own isn’t enough; that’s for sure. But neither is heat. Instead, the proper combination for free protection and temperature regulation is the combination of both. And this is where heating blankets come in.

 

Heat Tape—And the Better Solution 2

The Better Heating Solution

Now that we’ve sufficiently covered all the shortcomings of heating tape, we can address the characteristics of a far better solution. That far better solution is heating blankets, or heat blankets. Heat blankets are a combination of heat-distribution capabilities married with durable insulation for a myriad of industrial and commercial applications.

In the case of Poweblanket®, we offer a revolutionary and patented approach to heating blankets. Our durable vinyl shells are capable of insulating assets in temperatures as low as -50° F. What’s more,Powerblanket heating blankets offer the best and most efficient heat distribution on the market. So if you have valuable material or equipment to protect from the effects of cold weather, give us a call today.

 

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Winter Preparation: Now’s the Time

As the temperatures around the nation rise into the hundreds, cold-weather preparation may be the furthest thing from your mind. What’s more, there are plenty of warm-weather applications that Powerblanket technology is used for. But we would be completely remiss if we didn’t say enough of proper winter preparation. After all, when it comes to preparing for winter, you don’t want to be a grasshopper…

Aesop’s Fable: The Ant and the Grasshopper

Perhaps you’re already familiar with the old fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper from Aesop. If you’re not (and even if you are) we’ve recited it here. Below follows the most popular English renditions of the story:

“In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

‘Why not come and chat with me,’ said the Grasshopper, ‘instead of toiling and moiling in that way?’

‘I am helping to lay up food for the winter,’ said the Ant, ‘and recommend you to do the same.’

‘Why bother about winter?’ said the Grasshopper; we have got plenty of food at present.’ But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil.

When the winter came, the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew it is best to prepare for the days of necessity.”

Of course, the implications of this story can go far deeper than the need for good winter preparation. But for the sake of comparison, the story’s plot is rather poignant for the industries we serve. When cold weather does hit, it’s best to already have the systems and products you need in place to brave the effects of winter. So if you have assets to cover come late October, now’s the best time to start getting together the protection you’ll need.

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Heat Trace: What You Should Know

When you think of the phrase “heat trace” or “heat tape,” what images come to your mind? Perhaps you haven’t ever heard of these terms before, and now you’re curious. When it comes to heated pipes for protection against the ruthless cold of winter, trace heating is the system by which the warmth you need for your pipes flows. Read here to learn more about the uses and value of trace heating.

 

Heat Trace- What You Should Know

Understanding How it Works

Trace heating does just as its name implies: an electrical surface or wiring is linked to some other surface (whether it be a pipe, flooring, etc) and traces its way along that surface’s path. This, in turn, provides and maintains heat where it’s most needed. Thermal insulation is wrapped around both the supplier of heat and the recipient of heat to ensure stable, permanent warmth. The apparatuses involved with heat trace (also known as heat tape) can vary in size and surface area, depending on the physical dimensions of the application.

 

What Are the Benefits of Heat Trace?

Think of the value of trace heating as twofold—accommodating functionality and increasing throughput. While its prime purpose is to protect and insulate against undesired invasions from the elements (i.e. keeping substances flowing that can solidify or slow in cold temperatures), thus accommodating functionality, it can also be utilized to increase the efficiency of operations. For example, heat trace can drastically improve the throughput of gas transportation and extraction by increasing tank and pipe pressure—being that gas slows as it cools.

Drawing upon the fundamentals of heat trace, Powerblanket uses a patented blend of technologies as a highly efficient and less expensive means of distributing heat evenly over the surface of any application. Whether you need to protect a piping system, valves, manifolds, instrumentation, gas tanks, liquid storage, or anything else from cold weather or depreciation in efficiency, Powerblanket technology can enable you to do so with greater ease and dependability.

 

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What Heating Solutions are Available for Hazardous Locations?

CID2Time is money in the oilfield, especially in hazardous locations. Downtime due to frozen pipes, valves, tanks and other equipment negatively affected by cold weather is extremely costly and frustrating. Large oil and gas producers can lose millions of dollars for each hour in down-time. In addition to down-time costs these companies will pay big bucks for parts and labor to get equipment up and running quickly. Fortunately, partnering with the right heat solution company that has the capability and expertise to provide heating solutions can help solve and prevent these problems.

Many areas within the oilfields are classified as a hazardous location so you will need to source heating products rated for those particular areas. The National Electric Code (NEC) defines hazardous locations as “areas where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dust, or ignitable fibers or flyings.”  Because electrical equipment can become a potential source of ignition for these volatile areas, certain precautions must be taken to remove the risk of fire and explosions.

The code writers have broken all hazardous locations into Classes and Divisions to make it easier to understand. The most common areas in the oilfield and gas plants are Class I Division 1 and Class I Division 2.  Class I type hazard is created by the presence of flammable gases or vapors in in the air, such as natural gas or gasoline vapor. When these materials are found in the atmosphere in a sufficient concentration, a potential for explosion exists, which could be ignited if an electrical or other source of ignition is present. In addition to the location, the Code concerns itself with the kind of conditions under which these hazards are present; specifically (I) normal or (II) abnormal. In the normal condition, the hazard would be expected to be present in everyday production operations or during frequent repair and maintenance activity. Abnormal circumstances would be an accidental breakage, leakage or unusual faulty operation where the hazardous material could be exposed.  

Three factors you will want to consider when looking to partner with a heating company for hazardous location applications are:

  1. Partner with an inventive company who has custom design and engineering capability, and that can help design solutions for those unique freezing issues. Not all applications are the same and a company that is agile and flexible can be your new best friend.
  2. Partner with a company that has experience designing heating solutions in the oilfield and completely understands the need.
  3. Lastly, you will need to work with a company that is safety certified, meeting both UL and CSA standards, for hazardous locations. In oilfield hazardous locations, you must find products certified to CID2 and look for those that can handle groups A through D, as well as one with the right temperature classification.