When looking at any Commercial pipe heat tracing system project, two types of costs come into consideration:
- Total Investment Cost (TIC)
- Total Operating Cost (TOC).
TIC includes the cost of materials and installation. TIC is typically incurred in the project phase. On the other hand, TOC covers all the costs during the operational lifetime of the system. TOC includes e.g. system longevity, energy, maintenance and the potential for unforeseen shutdowns or business disruption.
Typically, designers tend to focus on the TIC, sometimes without taking a step back to consider the TOC, which may end up being the most important variable in determining the Return on investment (ROI) of a project. This principle is no different when talking about heat tracing projects.
Tips To Achieve Better Cost Saving in TIC/TOC
When making the decision to design and install a pipe heat tracing system, many factors are considered, one of which is cost. To achieve better cost savings in both TIC and TOC, follow these tips below:
1. Choose a Reliable and Proven Heat Tracing System
Each type of heat tracing technology and brand has its own characteristics. Whether it’s power output, maximum circuit lengths to minimize power drops, ease of design, insulation, warranty or installation cost being considered, the selection of brand and technology has an impact on power infrastructure, insulation, control systems and ultimately the TIC and TOC.
The reliability of the system and the quality of the products selected are very important. Due to the fact that failures in heat tracing system can potentially create injury and liability concerns, business interruption, production stops and/or expensive repairs, it is paramount to buy products from a manufacturer with a reliable and proven track record.
2. Take a Balanced Approach to Insulation
The relationship between the insulation and operating costs is clear. The more heat is lost, the greater amount of energy is needed to counter the loss. The key to attaining a true cost-benefit in your heat tracing system is to choose products that achieve the optimal balance between heat loss and heat supply. The system’s benefits must outweigh the increased insulation material costs to be cost-effective, especially since the impact of insulation is significant for high maintain/low ambient temperatures.
3. Smart Heat Tracing System Controls Can Optimize Energy Consumption
Leaving things to chance is not a good strategy for long-term results. Having better control over the energy consumption of your system can greatly influence operational costs. This is even true for systems that are already installed because of the advanced controlling technologies available today.
4. Get Proactive with Real-Time Monitoring
Moving from a reactive to proactive maintenance approach drastically reduces the risk for unforeseen shutdowns and loss of production. Smart monitoring systems can communicate with distributed control and computerized maintenance management systems. This allows for a preventative and structured maintenance approach and gives a full historical overview. Rather than trying to locate and remedy failures as they occur, you can, instead measure performance, analyze trends, self-test and take action beforehand.
That being said, the decision of who you trust with your heat tracing needs will have a large impact on both your TIC and TOC. Finding an organization with the high-quality industry leading products and an integrated approach can make or break the ROI in your heat tracing system.
Well designed, installed and maintained heat tracing systems optimize TIC and TOC and deliver maximum reliability and performance for many years.
Learn more about how the new nVent Raychem XL-Trace Edge self-regulating heat tracing solutions can deliver superior TIC and TOC for your Commercial piping heat trace project.