An Introduction to Winterisation in Industrial and Commercial Industries
The integrity of pipework and equipment when temperatures drop below freezing can quickly become a real problem and is often, regretfully, overlooked by industrial plant operators. It’s only once processes and equipment begin to experience operational issues, or once the freeze clears and damage sustained to assets becomes clear, that facility owners act – this is too late.
From split pipelines to complete equipment failures, if facilities don’t consider freezing winter’s before they arrive, they can expect to face unplanned downtime and added maintenance costs.
Winterisation of Industrial Sites:
The effects of damage from frost can cause detrimental downtime in operations and be an added expense for facilities to repair. Standing contents and small diameter process pipework are most at risk of freezing quickly. Freezing winters can cause extensive problems with a multitude of plant assets, including:
- Pipework & ducting
- Instrumentation & equipment
- Storage equipment
- Process lines
- Emergency assets
- External decontamination showers
- Material lay-down areas
Winterisation in Commercial Settings:
In addition, during winter months, commercial facilities and spaces can be faced with dealing with the effects of freezing temperatures. As temperatures drop, walkways, ramps, guttering, and roofs can become slippery, frozen, and subject to increased load from snow and ice. All of which pose a potentially dangerous health and safety situation, e.g. slips & trips, or structural integrity.
Things that can present a problem and therefore benefit from the installation of trace heating systems include:
- Footpaths, walkways, stairs, & handrails
- Ramps & floors
- Roofs, guttering, & roof drains
- Hot & cold-water supplies
- Emergency assets
What is Winterisation?
Winterisation is the process of protecting your facility, equipment, processes and products against freezing temperatures. It is an inspection of existing trace heating and insulation systems or the installation of new systems.
For insulation a visual inspection is undergone to check the integrity of the system. If signs of degradation are found, further inspections and possibly removal and reinstatement of the insulation system may be required.
For trace heating our service is split into two parts: a visual inspection and electrical testing:
- Check cable and cable gland condition
- Remove junction box lid and check for moisture ingress
- Check terminals for tightness and correct connection
- Test continuity and record results (checking for open circuit or low resistance) and compare with previous year’s results.
- Test insulation resistance (cores to earth, checking for low IR readings) and compare with last year’s results.
- Checking against previous results can identify any malfunctions in heating elements before they occur.
After the Winterisation Inspection is complete, a schedule of the circuits tested, and corresponding results are issued with a list of remedial works. Undertaking Winterisation checks and any remedial works prior to the arrival of freezing conditions, will help prevent a costly problem in the future, reducing the risk of downtime, total asset failure, wastage, and increased costs.
Installing trace heating and insulation for frost protection can be the difference between protecting your assets and unplanned and costly maintenance or, worse, complete failure.
Frost protection systems can also reduce the risk of injury to both personnel and the wider general public. Commercial settings pose there own unique problems when subject to sub-zero temperatures and snow fall.
We can help winterise your business with a range of industrial services and solutions, prolonging the life of your assets, and preventing production downtime.