Over the last years, the electrical heat tracing with the function of maintenance the temperature of a process, pipes or tanks and other plants components has largely spread: nowadays it is undoubtedely the most used system to compensate for thermic losses of products contained in storage tanks or moved in pipes.
The maintenance of the temperature in a process is required when fluids, as their temperature decreases, can provoke problems to the functioning. The electrical heat tracing has to provide for the only compensation of thermic losses of the product that has to be maintained at the process temperature Tm also in presence of a lower ambient temperature Ta.
The heating of a product in a process is required when the aim is to increase their temperature from a starting Ti value (which could be storage temperature) to a final Tf temperature (which could be working temperature).
The heating could be required also to bring the product to the working temperature at the beginning after long shutdowns.
During the planning and the sizing process of the electrical heat tracing system it has to be specified whether it is about the maintenance or about the heating. Infact, thermic calculations are totally different and sometimes some heating issue cannot be solved with the electrical heat tracing, but it would be preferable to use other systems that provide higher powers.
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