Heating Up Industry
Oil & gas pipeline machinery froze in Texas during the winter storm starting a chain reaction that caused deaths, food and water shortages, and power plant shutdowns.
The machinery at pumping stations, valves, and even the pipes weren’t protected from the freezing temperatures.
Houston and the areas surrounding aren’t normally subjected to cold and snowy conditions.
The equipment associated with and operating the pipeline infrastructure were protected as it might be in Alaska, Dakotas, or Nebraska.
In Northern geographic locations pipelines and the machinery that operates them are protected through insulation and heating devices specifically designed to protect against the cold.
PTC ceramic element heaters are often used for heating in these harsh climates. The unique temperature control devices take up little room, aren’t combustible, and self-controlling.
PTC stands for positive temperature coefficient which manages resistance in reverse relationship to the temperature.
Once the set-point temperature is reached the increasing resistance shuts down the circuit.
The same characteristics offer fast warm-up due to low resistance at cooler temperatures.
Like construction equipment, to provide a reasonable return on investment, Forestry/Timber Equipment must be continuously operated during daylight and sometimes nighttime hours. The Internet of Things has arrived on the new equipment to facilitate operations, but it still takes a workforce to operate the machinery.
These operations are not indoors, where they are often climate-controlled surroundings. The source of trees for logging is more likely to be in rural or remote areas where the equipment and operators are subject to adverse environmental conditions. Until robotics advance further, these operators must perform at top speed and efficiency for a long. periods
Modern equipment for the forest industry has enclosed cabs protecting operators from sun, rain, wind, cold, and heat. This equipment needs to be very dependable and have a long time between failures. It is hard to call an airconditioning maintenance specialist when the equipment is 3-4,000 feet up on the side of a mountain or in the remote bottomland.
Enclosed cabins, efficient controls, improve productivity.
Logging machines evolved to improve the capability for rough terrain and weather conditions. Simultaneously, the equipment no provides for more efficient operator controls, navigation, communications, and comfort.
Climate-controlled cabins are now the norm, along with digital controls, GPS, and communications. Operators can remain comfortable and in contact with the forestry teams in the most rugged terrain and hostile conditions.
The in-cabin devices must be as rugged as the engines, drive trains, and outside hydraulic attachments. Contributing to these devices are low voltage heaters and cooling modules. PTC element heaters or Peltier thermoelectric coolers are the right choices for their ruggedness and simplicity.
These heating and cooling systems have the unique ability to automatically adjust to temperatures inside the cabin, maintaining a comfortable environment for the occupants. More sophisticated environmental controls can include humidistats for increased comfort.