Impossible Claims About Finned Tank Heating Systems

Hand sketching Myths or Facts concept with white chalk on blackboard

Recently, we’ve seen some new products appear in the industrial heating equipment market.

While we are usually excited to see new innovations that have the potential to make the lives and jobs of our clients and customers easier, one specific product we’ve come across has us feeling a bit more concerned than optimistic.

The product is a finned tank heating system that features replaceable bolt-on tank heating fins. And some of the claims being made by the manufacturer have us scratching our heads. They seem, frankly, impossible.

Read on to find out why you should be wary of these finned industrial tank heating systems that seem too good to be true.

About These New Finned Tank Heating Systems

The main feature and unique selling point of these new tank heating systems is their replaceable fins. The aluminum fins bolt on to the CS pipe, held in place by metal bands.

The purpose of the fins is to increase the heating surface of a bare pipe, while being easy to replace if necessary since they are removable.

Though this new industrial heating solution is certainly unique, many of the benefits and advantages the manufacturers are claiming are unfortunately untrue.

What Are The Impossible Claims About Tank Heating Systems with Replaceable Fins?

There are a variety of false claims out there regarding these bolt-on tank heating fin systems, including:

  • They’re more efficient than traditional tank heating coils
  • They are less prone to coking
  • They provide a better heat transfer coefficient than traditional heating coils
  • They can reduce heating times

You can read in detail about these impossible claims – and why they’re simply not true – here.

What’s the Truth About Industrial Heating Systems Featuring Bolt-On Fins?

While it may be accurate that replacing the bolt-on fins is easier than replacing an entire tank coil, the fact that these pieces of equipment don’t actually provide the benefits they’re supposed to seriously discounts any type of convenience they might provide.

Wondering how these work in reality? Here are a few of the downsides of tank heating with a bolt-on heating fin system you may not have heard much about.

Bolt-on Tank Heating Fins are Inefficient

All fins on a pipe should be continuously welded to the pipe and made of the same material so that the heat is transferred from the pipe to the fin without issues.

Because the replaceable fins are typically made of aluminum and are not constructed of the same material as the pipes they are attached to, they are actually incredibly inefficient when it comes to heat transfer.

The aluminum fins and the CS pipes they are attached to have two distinct thermal expansions, meaning that when they are heated a gap forms between the materials, causing heat transfer to become impossible.

Replaceable Tank Heating Fins are MORE Prone to Coking

The bolt-on longitudinal fins of these heating systems are actually more prone to coking than pipes with helically wound fins. This is because longitudinal fins in general are typically more prone to coking, due to the fact that they create stagnant flow areas in the spaces between the fins.

If you’re looking for an industrial heating solution that reduces the coking occurring within your thermal fluid heaters, these bolt on heating fins are not it.

Longitudinal Fins Have a Low Heat Transfer Coefficient

It is commonly known that the heat transfer coefficient of a longitudinally finned pipe is about half that of a helically wound fin. This reduced heat transfer coefficient means that it takes twice as much surface area for a pipe with longitudinal fins to provide the same amount of heat as a pipe with helical fins.

As such, this means that the heat transfer coefficient of these bolt-on fins is significantly worse than that of a traditional pipe with a helical fin.

What’s The Proper Solution for Tank Heating Coils?

A continuously welded helically wound fin on seamless pipe both made out of carbon steel with 3 fins per inch and no more than 3/4” inch long fins. This ensures the highest heat transfer rate with minimal possibility of coking and removes any potential of heat not transferring from the pipe to the fin due to gaps.

Perfect examples are American Heating coil bundles model ATC-2-6–20 for hot oil use and American Heating coil bundles model ATC-1.66-8-20 for steam.

At American Heating Company, we’re proud to offer a variety of industrial heating solutions that truly offer convenience and feature technology you can rely on. From our serpentine coil thermal fluid heaters to our heat exchangers, our equipment actually offers many of the benefits that replaceable tank heating fin systems inaccurately boast about, including higher efficiency and easy maintenance.

If you’re looking for a tank heating system option that won’t let you down, be sure to check out our bayonet immersion heaters.

Looking for a custom tank coil solution? We’ve got you covered there, too! Learn more about the tank coils we offer here.

We build our heating equipment to our clients’ exact specifications. Rather than implementing a standardized solution, you can implement a heating system or component that’s built to your design requirements and is uniquely designed to work in your facility.

Interested in Exploring Other Tank Heating Options?

Don’t be tempted by the unrealistic benefits bolt-on heating fins claim to provide. Instead, put your trust in our engineers, who can provide you with heating system components that will truly benefit your facility in the short- and long term.

Give us a call today at (973) 777-0100 to get the conversation started, or contact us online with your questions and we’ll get right back to you with the information you’re looking for!