Milestone-Proposal talk:Self-regulating Trace Heater

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Support of proposal from IAS Chair -- Administrator4 (talk) 17:11, 30 May 2018 (UTC)

IEEE Historical Committee It has come to my attention there is an effort to place an IEEE Milestone at the first commercial manufacturing location for self- regulating electrical heat tracing in Redwood City. I have long been a member of the IEEE PCIC, a committee under IAS, which sponsors a significant number of IEEE Standards. Two of these (IEEE 515 and IEEE 844) are critical to the design and use of electrical heat tracing in the process and power generation industries. At the PCIC annual event, there are a number of technical papers with the subject of heat tracing and standards meetings for IEEE 515 and 844. These standards are referenced in NFPA 79, the National Electrical Code.

Electrical heat tracing has been a great advancement for process temperature control and freeze protection of piping system. The self-regulating heater has become the technology of choice because of its reliability and cut to length installation in the field. Historically steam tracing was the standard and now electrical has replaced it. Electrical tracing provides energy efficiency, better reliability, and environmental improvements by not creating a toxic waste. The site of the proposed Milestone Plaque has continuously produced self-regulating heat tracing since 1972. I have seen a press release from 2008 that announced over a BILLION feet of this electrical heater has been manufactured at this site.

I give my full support for the placement of this IEEE milestone in Redwood City. It is rare a product like this can significantly improve the design and operation of process plants, and even rarer that the IAS can participate in a Milestone Project. If you need more support from our Local Chapter of IAS or more information, please contact me. Regards, Roland Engle 2018 IEEE IAS Chair, San Francisco Section and 2018 IEEE Section Chair

Citation wording change -- Allisonmarsh (talk) 19:48, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

  • Please note that this is a re-post of information I attempted to post last month. I do not know why it didn't save properly. Very frustrating for all involved. I am trying to remember all that I wrote.*

In general, I am supportive of this technical achievement being a Milestone. However, I am concerned that the current citation reads like an IEEE-endorsed advertisement for Raychem and AutoTrace. I propose we change some of the wording to focus on the technical achievement and less on the brand names.

I also wondered if process piping had to be defined. As someone unfamiliar with the term, I stumbled over the wording in the original citation. I added a few words of explanation based on a google snippet definition. Please correct if necessary.

In trying to remove the passive voice from the last sentence, I wondered who the manufacturer actually was in 2008. Was it Raychem or Pentair or another iteration of the company? It would be good to be able to specify. As a casually observer, I am not sure why the billionth foot is an important marker except that it seems like a big number. I do not know how that compares with the amount of general piping produced.

There is room for more text if you want it.

Here is my suggestion: On this site in 1973, Raychem Corporation began commercially producing an electric self-regulating heater, invented the prior year. It revolutionized the temperature maintenance of process piping, such as those installed in refineries or chemical plants, and made freeze protection of water pipes simple and energy efficient. Thirty-five years later, they manufactured the 1 billionth foot of this heater.

Milestone for Self-regulating Trace Heater -- Chetsandberg (talk) 20:15, 5 March 2019 (UTC)

I support all the changes in the citation proposed by Allison Marsh and think it improves the citation. Please accept the citation as Allison proposed with no further changes.

Raychem was the manufacturer in 1973, so that part of the citation is correct. I think the "billionth foot" shows the extent to which the process industry (Petroleum and Chemical) accepted the self-regulating heater, making it the choice for most heat tracing applications. There are now over 10 manufacturers of self-regulating heaters and it is a vibrant competitive market. The Milestone commemorates the first manufacturing site of this new technology.

Chet Sandberg, Milestone Proposer

Self-regulating Trace Heater Milestone -- Chetsandberg (talk) 19:03, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

Dick Ahrons, IEEE Engineering Milestone Coordinator of the Santa Clara IEEE Section, proposes the following wording which I agree would improve the citation. This format (the milestone invention – its impact –its application – its achievement) matches other citation formats used for milestones in the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley).

New citation wording:

The Invention of the Conductive Polymer Self-Regulation Heater revolutionized the temperature maintenance of process piping. On this site in 1973, Raychem Corporation produced the first electric self-regulating heater. It had major applications in refineries or chemical plants, and made freeze protection of water pipes simple and energy efficient. Thirty-five years later, the industry manufactured the 1 billionth foot of this heater.

Re: Self-regulating Trace Heater Milestone -- Allisonmarsh (talk) 19:30, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

I support this citation.

Re: Self-regulating Trace Heater Milestone -- Jason.k.hui (talk) 15:55, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

The updated citation wording has the complete Milestone title in the first sentence, which is redundant. Please revise the citation to remove the redundancy.

Jason Hui Milestone Subcommittee Chair

Wells Whitney expert to endorsement -- Chetsandberg (talk) 01:26, 7 March 2019 (UTC)

The Importance of Conductive Polymer, Self-Regulating Heaters

The invention and commercialization of conductive polymeric, self-regulating long line heaters was a very significant development in the process industries, affording self-correcting heaters that could be placed along pipes and around vessels that would deliver heat at the right temperature at the right place along their length. The science/technology behind these products is both very simple and very complex.

Various carbon black particles are quite conductive and mixed into polymeric materials they render those plastics semi-conductive. This has been known and practiced for some time. However, conductive plastics which can change their resistance with temperature are less known. Such conductive plastics we suggested for long line heaters some decades ago, however the practical problem was to make them consistently, to have them stable when heating, and to make their temperature-resistance behavior act in a consistent and repeatable manner was not known.

Raychem scientists were able to invent techniques and protocols for picking certain carbon blacks and crystalline polymers, certain mixing methods coupled with heating cycles such that the conductive polymers were at the right resistance for the application, and then with special techniques of crosslinking the polymer and heat cycling the finished product achieve stable repeatable final products that were useful industrial heaters.

Furthermore, a whole product line of different rated heating products was developed following the same protocols using different higher melting polymers and different carbon blacks. The full AutoTrace product line was developed, patented, and commercialized during the 1970’s, and enjoyed very large commercial success worldwide.

Wells Whitney, Sc. D. Material Sciences, MIT former Technical Director, during the early 1970’s, of the Chemelex Division (Redwood City) of Raychem Corporation of Menlo Park, California

Citation wording change -- Amy Bix (talk) 02:13, 10 March 2019 (UTC)

I like Allison’s recommended rephrasing, though I would suggest in her version, changing the “they” in the last sentence (ambiguous reference) to “the firm manufactured”