The structure of an optimal heat tracing solution (II)
The goal of any electrical heat tracing system is to maintain the temperature, avoiding the freezing of either water or heat transfer fluids.
How AKO does it? Let us explain in detail the three-level structure of our AKOTRACE® electrical heat tracing system
Field and Installation (level 3)
It´s made up of all the elements in the system´s control and is where the electrical heat tracing circuit is placed. It includes all the necessary field components, and depending on the process needs each control can have:
- Either standardized or custom made heating elements, depending on the tracing needs, including MI Cable, Self Regulating Cable, heaters and all accessories required for a full installation
- Up until 4 thermal probes with different redundancy options, this guarantees data reliability.
- Current probes that constantly monitor the system´s control energy self-consumption, warning of any drop below certain values, allowing us to identify possible failures in those cases when several tracing sections are integrated into the same system´s control
Control and Power (level 2)
In this level our PROTrace® cabinets are in charge of monitoring and distributing the power from the connection point to system´s control. They can have different mechanism of redundancy to avoid malfunction in case of failure or during maintenance. They are fully adaptable. Based on the application, our PROTrace® cabinets can be concentrated in different locations or distributed throughout the field. Their final placement depends on the technical and economical needs of the project.
Our system´s control is based on our DUOControl Trace, founded on a PLC Platform, and integrated into PROTrace® cabinets. It receives data from the thermal probes and power supply, protection conditions, configuration variables, etc, and it acts accordingly, regulating the output power to reach and maintain the desirable temperature, thanks to our advanced control algorithms.
Inside our PROTrace® cabinets there is the possibility to include the kind of control, via contactor or SSR; the air conditioning or distribution elements and the automatic transfer switch.
It also accommodates safety and protection elements such as magneto-thermal circuit breaker, differential circuit breakers protection and a contactor´s security system in each control, adding an extra safety component in case of switcher´s failure.
Supervision and Connectivity (level 1)
Our ProTrace® cabinets are stick to each other with optical fiber connectors. Their ring configuration allows for non-stop communication in case of malfunction in one of the links.
In this ring configuration we have our DUOWarm Trace, supervising key variables such as power distribution and the environment conditions in the cabinet. It also functions as a gateway with the plant´s DCS system and with the firewall that allows the internet connection to manage the installation remotely. It has a redundancy system to avoid communication breakdowns and to facilitate maintenance work.
The local operator panel, made up of a PC Panel with our control software AKONet Trace, only needs an Ethernet link to the network control DUOControl Trace, allowing for the total control and supervision of the tracing installation.
We have just share with you the electrical heat tracing system that makes us worldwide leaders in the sector. We have installed this architecture solution in more than 25 plants, but we are constantly looking to innovate and find new ways to optimize our system and at the same time, the productivity of any CSP plant.