Best Practices for Heat Tracing Pilot Plants


Heat tracing a pilot plant is a difficult task, but with proper design and careful installation,
the tracing system can operate safely and effectively.
Pilot plants frequently need to operate at elevated temperatures. Achieving and maintaining the desired process temperature can be challenging due to the small size of the equipment, the often congested space, and the poor heat-transfer characteristics of many surfaces. In addition, some industrial heating methods are too difficult or costly to use on the pilot-plant scale. For example, wrapping small pipe and tubing with heat tracing is rarely feasible; many tracers are larger than the tubing and contact between them is poor, which leads to heating problems. And, a pilot plant’s piping system is complex, with proportionally more heat sinks, such as supports, valves, and piping branches, than are found in an industrial facility.

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