Heat Tracing

Improve operating efficiency, safety, and equipment life cycle

Heat tracing systems protect pipes from freezing, maintain a constant flow temperature in hot water systems, or maintain process temperatures for piping transporting substances that solidify at ambient temperatures. Facilities often use steam for heat tracing, or electrical where steam is not practical.

The iMAP Heat Tracing Management System, part of iMAP Software, helps iMAP-certified users perform heat tracing audits that classify each heat management system within your facility, identify required repairs, summarize findings, and pinpoint dollar savings you can realize by reducing steam loss.

What are the advantages of the iMAP Heat Tracing Management System?

Ensures consistency and compliance

iMAP Software integrates insulation resistance test results, amperage reading, ohm reading, and operational test of temperature controller results into a comprehensive report, complete with engineering drawings, plant isometrics, lab results, and other documents as required. The software also incorporates visual inspection digital images and infrared thermograph images. It allows auditors to mark piping and instrumentation drawings (P&ID) to identify the location and status of heat management systems within your facility. The iMAP Heat Tracing Management System helps record condition of components using industry standard guidelines.

Reduces business risk

Steam traps, part of the heat tracing system, capture the steam at the end of the system and release steam when it builds up. If steam traps do not remove water from your steam systems, entrained water droplets can cause wear and tear on internal components of plant equipment, resulting in expensive repairs the longer it goes undetected and possibly placing plant personnel at risk. Using industry standard guidelines and infrared and visual inspections, iMAP certified users thoroughly survey your heat supply and condensate return systems.

Improves plant quality and throughput

Identifying and recommending ways to repair heat tracing failures will improve product quality and plant throughput. Water that is not removed from the steam system will collect in low points such as heat exchangers. This buildup will cover heat exchanger tubes, compromising heat transfer. Less heat transfer will slow your process and have undesirable consequences on both product quality and throughput. For example, a steam trap failure prevents a tire manufacturer from controlling the temperature of their manufacturing process. Out of tolerance process control temperature means entire batches have to be reprocessed, costing millions of dollars.

Reduces fuel costs

iMAP heat tracing audits can detect a failed open or “blow-by” condition where the steam trap constantly passes steam, which has a large financial impact on the bottom line. Each steam trap has an internal orifice that limits the amount of steam/condensate that it will pass when open. Still, steam traps that are on large, high-pressure steam lines can pass greater than 600lbm/hour of steam. Depending on the cost of steam at a facility, this can cost upwards of $30,000 per year.

Eliminates need for capacity additions

As plants age, steam leaks increase and plant efficiency decreases, creating phantom load. For example, one refining company executive estimated that 20 percent of their boiler steam production went to phantom load, with a majority of it leaking through failed steam traps. They were facing a large investment to increase the capacity of their boilers or even add another boiler. A heat tracing audit using the iMAP Heat Tracing Management System identified, prioritized, and recommended specific repairs to the steam trap system. As a result they dramatically reduced steam loss through steam traps, reducing phantom load and eliminating the need for capacity additions.

Simplifies budgeting and planning

iMAP Software defines heat tracing maintenance priorities, using priority codes based on audit results, applicable legislation, industry standards, and any corporate standards. Once the audit is completed, iMAP Software creates summary and detailed reports that identify tracing system efficiencies and required repairs, recommend next steps, and projects costs. You can easily configure and view reports by budget, priority codes, or equipment location, helping you plan repair activities.

heat-tracing-1Imaging a steam trap using infrared thermography helps determine potential issues invisible to the naked eye (for example, built up debris that may cause the valve to fail).
heat-tracing-3Infrared thermography reveals heat tracing system not visible under insulated pipe.