I receive daily requests from people looking for a custom heating solution and design to fit very specific applications. These requests vary in application from simple to complex, but the initial discovery for a solution is relatively the same.
Although there are various standardized heating solutions available, to determine the right solution, either standard or custom, a few initial questions need to be understood. The first of the discovery questions is to identify the desired result of the application which is generally one or a combination of the following:
- Freeze Protection: Generally to protect from the elements or cold climate
- Temperature Maintenance: Maintain a specific, constant and optimal temperature
- Added heat or Increase Temperature: Add heat and Increase temperature higher from starting point
For example, a pipe heating application may require higher energy/wattage to thaw a frozen pipe and then settle to a moderate power/wattage for continual freeze protection and flow control long term.
An epoxy / composite curing application may require pre-heating at higher temperatures prior to the epoxy being applied and then maintained at a higher temperature for optimal curing.
Once we understand the problem, we ask these types of questions to find the best solution:
- What type of system is being heated: drum/bucket, tote, tank, cylinder, pipe or flat surface?
- What material is the container or surface made of (i.e. tank wall, drum wall)? How thick?
- What is the substance being heated (i.e. water, oil, pipe contents, concrete, frozen ground)?
- Is this a flowing system? If yes, what is the rate of flow?
- What is the beginning temperature of the contents
- What is the final desire temperature?
- What temperature range is acceptable?
- Are there upper or lower temperatures where the substance or contents will be damaged?
- What are the boundary conditions (i.e. ambient temperature, wind velocity, indoor or outdoor application and other environmental conditions)
- Is there a time frame requirement for the initial heating?
- What power source is preferred? Are other options available?
- Do you require CID2 or UL/CSA certified product?
We recently completed a project for a large chemical company to solve their freeze protection problems. The company has a chemical solution for its customers that is stored in large 4,000 to 8,000 gallon stainless steel tanks. Their customers are located throughout various climates in North America. Their solution is water based and begins to freeze at roughly 32°F, they ultimately desired freeze protection but also to maintain between 40°F -70°F.
The question for us became how to provide a “one size fit all” customized solution for the various climates. We created a modular custom design to be adjustable per region and tank size that came in two pieces.
One piece was the basic heated wrap that goes around the bottom portion of the tank and the other piece is added to the basic system. Other heated wraps can be added based on temperature of the area.
Our engineers calculated the amount of heat and insulation required to combat freezing temperatures and wind chill to maintain optimal temperatures in these various climates. This provided to be a simple and effective custom solution to what appeared to be a fairly complicated application.