A variety of heaters and heating applications are being used across multiple industries, but what is industrial heating and why is it important?

Many different heaters and heating applications are used across multiple industries around the world, but what exactly is industrial process heating, and why is it important?

Simply put, industrial process heating is when an industry makes use of heaters (or other heat processing equipment such as ovens, dryers or burners) and the heat that they produce to accelerate, complete and run their operations. There are a number of applications of industrial heating used in the world today. Myriad industries — from the asphalt industry, to oil and gas, to chemical refining to food processing — make use of heaters in their manufacturing processes.

Demand for quality means that the use of adequate, controlled heat is required in many industrial operations. Electric heaters offer good control over process temperature.

Another reason for the use of industrial heating has been the changing temperature patterns and an increase in the strength of winters across the United States. This has especially hit the industrial-abundant states hard. The industry, the machinery and production can be halted as a result of the layers of cold and snow. In those areas, the need for heating equipment that can be used to heat, melt or maintain certain temperatures is cyclical.

Use of Industrial Heating to Reduce Viscosity
One important application of industrial heating is heating heavy liquids, including crude oil derivatives and crude oil itself. Electric heaters are used to reduce the viscosity of these fluids. Reducing viscosity can increase the mobility of the fluid. When you are working on a large scale, as most industries work, it takes more power to pump heavy crude oil when the temperature falls and the oil becomes viscous. Providing heat to the crude oil reduces the viscosity of the oil, making it easier to work with.

In most process heating applications, specific temperatures must be maintained, and heating crude oil and its derivatives is just the same. Overheating the crude oil can degrade or even destroy product quality. Effective temperature control is needed to avoid overheating or burning the oil while heating it to reduce viscosity.
Typically, indirect heating is used for such purposes. The heaters transfer heat to a medium that is used to heat the oil. The oil is protected at all times and does not become overheated.

The heating is provided through the side of the adjacent well. Skid systems — packaged systems supplied with the heaters attached — can be used for heating applications in remote locations. These systems are designed to tightly control temperature and ensure that the oil degradation is decreased to an almost-zero level.

For some viscosity-reduction applications, direct heating using immersion heaters can be used. As the name suggests, immersion heaters are submerged into the liquid, and the heat is supplied directly into the liquid. This means that there is minimal heat loss, and there is greater heat efficiency.

Read more: Electric Heaters for Industrial Heating Applications