In past issues, we have most often presented applications for impedance pipe heating and how it is being used throughout industry today.  With this issue we step back and review the primary components of an impedance pipe heating (IPH) system.   At the center of an IPH system are three key elements.  The following paragraphs describe and discuss these key elements: isolation, power and control.

In a previous article, how an impedance system heats was discussed.  Now, let’s look at the components utilized to produce an impedance system.  The parts of an impedance system can be broken down into three categories:

  • Isolation – Component that keeps all of the power in the correct location.
  • Power – Component of the system that produces and applies a low voltage to the pipe.
  • Control – Component of the system that determines how the power will be applied.

When it comes to impedance systems, there are some design parameters which are dictated by the application.  For example: Where do you put your isolation?  How much power do you need to put into the pipe?  What size cables do you need, and where do you locate them?  All of these are inherent in the design for each specific system.  Beyond these elements, for each system, choices need to be made with regard to control.  How do you want to control the system?  What tolerance do you need?  How do you want to handle multiple systems?  Each of these questions needs to be addressed, and the appropriate answers will be dependent on your specific application requirements.

Impedance pipe heating systems are, in general, very simple.  That’s one of their huge advantages over competing technologies such as steam jacketing and heat trace cable.  As with so many things in life, though, “the Devil is in the details,” as they say.

In this article, we’re going to focus on the details of a quality control system:  what technologies are typically involved and what are typical customer options.