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August 21, 2019updated 27 Dec 2021 7:41am

Understanding thermofluid heaters for the asphalt industry

Thermal fluid heaters are the go-to industrial equipment systems for generating heat (without exerting pressure) for a number of processes, including asphalt refinement.

Thermal fluid heaters are the go-to industrial equipment systems for generating heat (without exerting pressure) for a number of processes, including asphalt refinement.

Thermal fluid, which is heated using a combustion process, circulates through a system to transfer heat, depositing it through the system before returning it to be reheated by the burner in an on-going cycle.

This adaptable system can run on a wide range of fuels and is used for hot mix asphalt, marine vessels, gas processing, petrochemicals, and power generations, as well as many more industrial applications.

Thermofluid heaters for the asphalt industry

Also known as hot oil or heat medium oil (HMO) heaters, thermal fluid heaters are versatile pieces of equipment that are easily modified, as the flow of thermal fluid to individual parts of the system can be controlled with valves.

Heatec, a US-based manufacturer of heaters and tanks, provide a range of thermal fluid heaters that cater to the needs of the asphalt cement market, among others. The company’s asphalt storage tanks can also be used in conjunction with heater systems.

Heatec specialises in systems with helical coils heated by fire burners. The company’s most popular systems are the circuits with two-pass helical coils, which are designed so that hot oil passes over the coils more often.

Not only do they have high thermal efficiencies that conserve energy, they can burn a variety of fuels, including solid, liquid and gaseous. Alternatively, the heaters are available with separate serpentine coils and three-pass helical coils.

Heatec builds heaters with a capacity up to 75 million British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr). It also manufactures its own coils so they can be configured for individual systems and meet the exact requirements of each client. Additionally, heaters can be installed vertically or horizontally, providing the opportunity to reduce the amount of ground space used by the system.

Storing liquid asphalt at hot mix plants

Asphalt storage tanks are used to store liquid cement at hot mix asphalt plants. These insulated tanks are heated by the thermal fluid through a serpentine heating coil, although they are also available with electric heating elements. Alternatively they can utilise direct-fired tanks, which are directly heated by a burner mounted inside the tube.

Just like the heater, storage tanks can be configured; portable or stationary, vertical or horizontal. Standard tanks have a capacity of 10,000 to 30,000 gallons, however larger tanks are available.

This equipment offers a number of safety features, including overflow protection, as well as low-level controls to prevent the asphalt level falling below the heating coils.

Heatec thermal fluid heaters

Given the versatile use of thermal fluid heaters, Heatec works hard to develop its wide range of heaters to meet the requirements of a variety of industrial processes. From large helical coils with an output of 60 million Btu/hour, to small equipment with an output of 0.7 million Btu/hour, Heatec offers an extensive choice of heaters.

The company’s range also includes the Thermocon heater, which is specially designed to heat cargo on barges and workboats, and skid-mounted heaters with an explosion proof NEMA 7 electrical panel, which are ideal for offshore platforms.

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