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As humans, we all know how to prevent our body from overheating or undercooling due to variable weather conditions. When it’s winter and the temperature drops, we know to put on more layers and protective clothing to keep us warm. In autumn or spring, we put on lighter jackets to stay comfortable. In the summer, it’s warm enough outside that we don’t need any extra layers. 

This same principle of protecting against variable ambient temperatures applies to critical process lines, such as phenol transfer lines, as well. Phenol solidifies when it gets too cold and changes its chemical properties when it is too warm. Guaranteeing that temperatures in pipes remain within a certain window during transfer is imperative to operations in production plants.

At an existing plant in Poland, the old Heat Trace System had become ineffective. Pipelines transferring phenol from storage to production plants were no longer able to be relied upon to keep temperatures within ranges acceptable for proper transfer. With ambient temperatures ranging between -25°C and +30°C, the challenge was to guarantee temperature maintenance within this tight band, whilst optimizing the energy consumption.

To help solve this dilemma while allowing the plant to remain in operation, approximately 200 meters of Raychem self-regulating heating cables were installed, along with a 50-millimeters-thick mineral wool insulation along the pipeline, in combination with Raychem NGC-20 smart Control and Monitoring Systems. The self-regulating heaters sense and respond to actual conditions along the pipes, which ensure that variations caused by factors such as static fluid or differing elevations were accommodated.

The NGC-20 system controls the heating circuits and provides status updates and other information to a central location on a graphic interface. This solution proved to be very effective, and resulted in a more reliable and energy-efficient phenol plant operation, with reduced maintenance costs. This integrated Heat Management System guarantees optimal temperature maintenance within the pipeline during all conditions. 

Learn more about this project and Raychem solutions for temperature maintenance here.