It's February. And if you live in certain regions, there's no way to avoid it — low temperatures, snow, freezing rain and ice. Not lucky enough to live in a snow belt? Perhaps you operate in a warmer region but your plant runs applications that are frigid in nature. We're talking to you, too! Whether you're the former or the latter, freezing conditions require you to take additional steps to prepare your facility. Keep your plant operational by focusing on these three key areas.
1. Electrical Wire & Cable Failure
Perhaps you're used to working in cold weather or your applications are already functioning in a cold environment. Regardless, you need to make sure the electrical cords and cables you're using in these applications can widstand the abuse — because cable that can keep up with your operations in the most extreme climates offers a competitive advantage. Our cold-temperature rated cables are designed to perform in dynamic applications as low as -70°C.
Determining the right product family for your environment is key to longer-lasting cable life:
- Super-Trex® Extreme Temperature Cable is designed to operate in temperature extremes ranging from -70°C to 150°C per ISO standards (UL/cUL 105°C). This highly flexible portable cord and power cable is ideally suited for extreme cold temperature applications. Features include a conductor temperature rating of +150°C and the ability to pass a -70°C cold bend test. The cross-linked jacket also offers excellent resistance to abrasion, oils and chemicals.
- Our Trex-Onics® products are jacketed with a specially formulated polyurethane material such as our Individually Shielded Resolver Cable (-40°C to 90°C).
- The Chem-Gard™ family of chemical resistant electrical cable products (rated for -60°C to +200°C) even features a chemical and heat resistant (+200°C) CAT6 Industrial Ethernet Cable for superior performance across Ethernet/IP applications.
- Looking for high-temperature (+150°C) cables with additional environmental resistant properties? We have solutions.
2. Frozen Pipes & Valves
Water that freezes in a piping system can do damage beyond clogging the system and shutting off flow. Ice takes up more room than liquid and so, in a confined space like a pipe, builds extreme pressure from within that is enough to break the pipe and all related valves and fittings. The damage leads to unexpected — and unnecessary — cost from replacement parts, labor, and downtime. Avoid the hassle with these tools:
- TPC's Thermostatically Controlled Heat Trace is a simple unit designed to provide freeze protection or de-icing of pipes and valves. It also has uses for process control applications such as controlling viscosity. Simply plug it in, control the temperature with the adjustable thermostat, and wrap the heat trace tape around the pipe or valve. The tool is nicely suited for those instances where you need to spot-heat a pipe or valve to keep it from freezing when temps fall. It has a maximum length of 20 feet. Click here to watch the product demo.
- Thermo-Trex® Heat Trace Assemblies are designed to provide freeze protection using a self-regulating heating cable that automatically adjusts the output based on the surface and ambient temperature. The assembly includes a power cable and a plug spliced into the heat trace cable. Simply plug the assembly in and then install it on your pipes or valves. These assemblies help in applications where a more permanent solution is needed for protection or where heat trace need exceeds the lengths of the Thermostatically Controlled Heat Trace mentioned above.
3. Quick-Fix Accessories
Stocking maintenance equipment that helps you quickly solve weather-related problems will save you unnecessary downtime. Every maintenance department should invest in a few, quick-fix items to keep their plant running. Consider the following:
- Use Vulko-Wrap™ Self-Vulcanizing Insulated Tape to fix electrical connections. It adheres to itself without sticky residue and fully bonds in 24 hours - yet it remains pliable in the application. Rated to -60°F, it withstands extreme winter temperatures. Made of a specially compounded, synthetic silicone elastomer, this tape is resistant to oil, water, ozone and many chemicals.
- TPC's Adjustable Cable Strap is a double-sided band made of "hook and loop" material and is rated to -70°F. The 1.5-inch wide, non-abrasive strap will not cut into cable jackets or adversely affect cable performance. The industrial strength nylon buckle is lightweight, yet stands up to tough use and allows for easy securing of the strap.
Being prepared is half the battle. Maintaining your electrical wires and cables, as well as pipes and valves, through the long winter months is the other half. Be sure to keep a few, quick-fix accessories on hand to help maintain these critical areas in your facility. Here's to hoping the groundhog misses his shadow this week!