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October 8, 2017

No. 28 – Steam Tracing Overview

1. Introduction

Industrial plants require a method to keep the process fluids flowing during operation and to prevent critical components from freezing in low ambient temperature climates. In the early 1900s, the refining industry began using steam tracing systems to satisfy this need. At that time, efficiency and energy cost were not the major factors they are today, and earlier steam tracing methods were not very efficient. The standards for insulation, installation designs, materials, and maintenance were not economical and provided less than desirable results for the process conditions.

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