Liberty Electric Products

Industrial Pipe Tracing

Pipe Tracing (aka heat tracing) is commonly used to ensure that process, fluid, or material temperatures within pipes and piping systems are maintained above ambient temperatures during static flow conditions along with providing supplemental freeze protection in certain applications. In cold environments such as Upstate NY and New England, insulation often isn’t enough to protect pipes from freezing or process pipes from keeping product at a desired temperature. A well-designed and installed pipe heat trace system keeps water flowing and prevents costly damage to buildings.

There are many reasons for making up the heat loss of a system. With any heat loss, there is a corresponding drop in temperature. In many cases, a drop in temperature brings about unacceptable consequences. These consequences could be the freezing of water in cooling water lines, steam or condensate return lines, compressed air lines, fire protection lines, storage tanks, valves, etc. A drop in the temperature of process fluids could result in solution precipitation, unacceptable viscosity increase, or solidification of the product in the lines.

Systems and Equipment for Heating Season

Pipe Freeze Protection Heating Cable With Cord Plug
Splice Heating Cable

There are three different types of electric heat trace cable used in today’s systems, self-regulating, constant wattage, and mineral insulated (MI) cable. Self-regulating heat trace cable adjusts the heat output as needed as conductive elements are embedded in a polymer that expands and contracts in response to temperature:

  • When temperature drops and the polymer contracts, more conductive pathways are created, and resistance is decreased. Current through the heat tracing cable increases, and more heat is released as a result.
  • The opposite process occurs when temperature increases: the polymer expands, conductive elements separate and increase resistance, current decreases, and less heat is produced.

Heat Trace Accessories

Constant wattage heat trace cables are ideally suited for applications where a particular watt density is required at all times. Although not suited for overlapping, its constant output makes it an ideal choice for higher-temperature applications where higher watt densities are required.

Mineral insulated (MI) cable heaters are sheathed (copper and stainless are the most common) magnesium oxide insulated heater cables that can be formed into a wide variety of shapes and sizes. MI cable heaters can be formed to cover cylindrical parts that require a uniform or distributed wattage heat patterns as they are available in both single and twin conductor configurations ensuring a cost-effective pipe heating solution. Special cold section lengths are also an integral part of any MI cable heater design. MI trace heating cables offer high levels of corrosion protection and welding performance as well as an increased upper-temperature operation to 600°C.

Electric heat tracing systems need to have controls that range from thermostats for both ambient air and pipe/tank sensing applications to power distribution and control panels through our IntelliTrace line of high-tech distribution, monitoring, and control panels. Whether your project is a few lines of freeze protection or a few hundred lines of process piping we have the right control option for your needs which can be anything from a simple contactor relay panel all the way to a control and monitoring system, allowing programmed heating sequences, alarms, and notifications.

Like many other building systems, electric heat tracing is subject to standards from organizations such as CSA, UL, FM, IEEE, and NFPA (National Electrical Code).

Multi-Circuit Control Panel

Engineering Design

Many companies simply supply heat trace materials based upon a factory design that you had to wait weeks to get completed. Liberty Electric Products has more than 30 years of experience and will engineer a design for various applications.

We work with engineers and contractors to create clear specifications during the very early stages of the project to ensure that a design can be completed quickly and accurately. Our dedicated heat trace engineering team works as an extension of your business from the early-stage engineering and design study throughout project completion. We take the responsibility to select, design, and implement the most effective heat trace system based on your project specifications which ensures smooth project operations, a minimal budget, and an on-time schedule.

Onsite review and measuring for trace applications can be conducted, prior to design and layout recommendations and we also provide onsite support to contractors during installation and start-up to include testing of the new or existing heat trace systems.

Design calculation sheets will be provided upon completion of the design for review and heat Tracing Isometric layouts will be furnished once the design is frozen and the order is received.

Freeze Protection Applications

One of the most common applications for electric heat trace products is to ensure the prevention of freezing of pipes. The most efficient and cost-effective system for freeze protection of pipes is to use a self-regulating electric heat trace in conjunction with an ambient temperature sensing system.

Frozen Industrial Pipe Bursting

The system that will be designed for every electric heat pipe tracing application will be affected by many factors such as pipe size/diameter, liquid temperature/heat loss, the number of thermal heat sinks in the run (flanges/valves), and insulation type. These will allow us to determine the appropriate amount of power needed for the applications so that we design and supply the most efficient electrical heat trace system.

The controls in these systems can be very complex, as they are usually process critical. We can design a variety of features into your system including real-time temperature data, backup operations in case of failure, system failure notifications, wireless connectivity, and more.

Special considerations should be made for the tracing of water for safety showers and fire protection systems. Electric heating cable systems are also often used as backup systems when steam is used as the preferred freeze protection source. Reach out to us for help in creating the required specification.

Pipe Freeze Protection Heating Cable

Process Temperature Maintenance

Electric heat trace can be used to provide consistent temperature in pipes and tanks of all sizes in many different applications. Thermally protected pipes can keep product at a constant temperature while being transferred to different processes through pipes and can reduce the tank heating costs as the incoming material does not create a thermal drag on the process.

Liberty Electric Products can supply cables that keep water flowing at ambient temperatures as low as -40°F and cables that withstand temperatures up to 1100°F and are suitable for damp, corrosive, and hazardous locations. We provide software and expertise to make selecting the right pipe-tracing solution easy.

Chromalox Self Regulating heat trace provides safe, reliable heat tracing for process temperature maintenance in pipes, valves, tanks, and similar applications, and is approved for use in DIV 1 hazardous locations. Constructed of industrial grade 16 AWG buss wire with a tinned copper braid and fluoropolymer over jacket, ensures operating integrity in Div. 1 hazardous environments with maximum maintenance temperature rating of 150°F (65°C) and 302°F (150°C) and a maximum exposure temperature of 185°F (85°C) and 420°F (215°C).

Chromalox CWM Constant Wattage heating cable is designed for use on 120 to 480V and withstands temperatures to 392°F (200°C). Equipped with a ground braid and optional FEP jacket, Chromalox Constand Wattage cables are third-party tested and approved for use in harsh corrosive and hazardous area applications.

Pipe Tracing Around Barometer

Let Liberty Electric help you design a proper heat trace system to avoid improper installations that can cause your system to not function when needed.

Removable/Reusable Electric Heating Insulation Jackets and Blankets

Removable insulation covers for valves, flanges, and other fittings in industrial plants are an effective, convenient, and low cost solution to reduce heat loss and make your entire process more efficient. Our standard pipe and valve insulation line products are designed to fit an array of sizes, and can be used on almost any application that requires thermal processing including:

  • Valves
  • Flanges
  • Fittings
  • Strainers
  • Filters and Regulators
  • Pumps
  • Manifolds
  • Sight Glasses
  • Desuper Heaters
  • Pressure Reducing Valves

Removable/Reusable Electric Heating Insulation Jackets and Blankets

Valve Heating Insulation Jackets

Pipe Tracing RFP Form

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