In early March Special Systems and Technologies (SST) Group, the largest in Russia and one of the world’s largest manufacturers of heating cables and electrical heating systems, announced the launch of Russia’s first fully integrated production of self-regulating heating cables, including the production of conductive polymers with special properties. OGE talks to the CEO of SST Group Michael Strupinskiy on the role of the new production facility in the process of import substitution, – today of high priority for the Russian oil and gas industry.
Oil & Gas Eurasia: Michael, first of all, tell us, please, about the main areas of application of the new products.
Michael Strupinskiy: Self-regulating cable (SRC) is the most effective and commonly used heating element of industrial electric heating systems (EHS).
SRCs are best suited to the conditions of work in the oil and gas sector. Self-regulating cables have a number of significant advantages over other types of heating cables and traditional categories of heating systems (steam, water). First of all, it’s their reliability (unique properties of self-regulating cables eliminate the possibility of self-overheating), security (the possibility of object’s overheating is eliminated), ease of use (it is possible to conduct on-site assembling, using pieces of the required length). Ease of operation is ensured by the automatic response to external temperature effects, the possibility of integration into systems of external heating control.
The way SRCs work is via a principle of heat dissipation in a matrix made of a special electrically conductive and heat-generating compound.
OGE: It is a product with unique properties? Can you expand on this?
Strupinskiy: Matrix material, being a filled composite material, has a resistance factor depending on temperature. This creates the effect of self-regulation: when the compound temperature rises, its resistance drops, hence the released heat power is automatically decreased. The product is permanently in thermal equilibrium with the external environment, changing its electric properties. This unique property of SRC, on one hand, explains the demand for them in the industry, on the other hand defines a number of specific criteria and conditions for their production organization.
SRCs resemble electric cables only externally. Firstly, they are not designed to transmit electric power or information, but for heat release. And each small section of SRC can change its electrical properties in the process of operation. It is extremely unusual for a cable product, one of the main features of which is the stability of the parameters along the length. The main unique feature of SRC is that the electric current spreads both in the longitudinal direction, providing heat release along the length of the cable and in transverse direction, while passing through two “metal-plastic” contacts. The electrical contacts of “metal-plastic” type is a unique feature of SRCs. There is a limited number of electrical products in the world, which use such type of contact (Fig.1.).
OGE: Probably this is the reason why manufacturing SRCs is rather difficult? What is special about the new production?
Strupinskiy: Development and production of