Optimal installation of the Electrical Heat Tracing System
We start a series of posts talking about the electrical heat tracing elements installed in the field since the way the tracing system is installed in any given surface affects the uniformity of the reached temperature.
AKO´s experience in this matter, installing our AKOTRACE® solution, the most trusted and used electrical heat tracing system worldwide, gives us a unique vision on how to handle this critical element in any CSP plant. First of all, before starting any installation it is important to double check all materials and plan in advance their distribution following design requirements.
The kind of heating cable to be installed should, besides bringing in the necessary power to compensate thermal loss, endure the maximum process temperature of the plant.
It has to be distributed uniformly, reinforcing its presence in areas with higher probabilities of thermal loss.
If the cable applies more power than it should, the temperature readings will be higher, on the other hand, if it applies less power it can create cold spots, causing problems to the plant´s overall
Special care should be taken when installing the heating cable in critical points like pipe junctions, to avoid circuit interference.operation.
There are some specific criteria to be taken into account when installing redundant heaters, like the distance between themselves or between the cables and the probes, but in any case, both should behave the same way.
The heating cables with mineral insulation should be handled with extra caution due to its stiffness, making its handling more difficult.
Another important characteristic of the heating cable is that changes temperatures, expanding and contracting constantly, thus obliging the installation of an anchoring system capable of enduring such fluctuations.
Finally, the tracing system should not represent an obstacle when replacing, when necessary, elements like valves, probes, etc.
The heating elements and the thermal bridges influence the temperature readings measured by the probes
A probe that is too close to the heating element causes a lower temperature reading. On the other hand, if the probe is installed close to a thermal bridge, the temperature reading will be above the required one.
If the installation requires probe redundancy, they should be installed depending on the configuration defined by control.
In following posts we´ll talk about wiring junction boxes, brackets and how to audit the installation to ensure optimum plant´s performance.