Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of nVent RAYCHEM Self-Regulating Heat Tracing Technology
A Legacy of Innovation
nVent is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its self-regulating heating technology this year under its globally recognized, market-leading nVent RAYCHEM brand. In 1972, the heat tracing division of the Raychem Corporation (now a part of nVent) patented and produced the world’s first commercially successful electric self-regulating heat tracing cable. Since then, the company has sold and installed over 1.8 billion feet (550,000 km) of heating cable in over 100 countries and continues to launch innovative products that have expanded the application of heat tracing technology.
The History of nVent RAYCHEM
Raychem Corporation was the first company to successfully apply the new science of radiation chemistry to commercial use. The introduction of self-regulating heating cables was a significant development, as power output could be more effectively regulated for the first time. The self-regulating principle was based on a semi-conductive heating core that adjusted its power output with the change in ambient temperature. These heating cables allowed for controlling the temperature of pipework without overheating, could be cut-to-length on-site without affecting the wattage and were of a previously unseen robustness. They helped lower general energy costs and were much easier to install. For processing industries, this was a major breakthrough that helped customers overcome many challenges.
“Because self-regulating products have been so widely adopted, most people have forgotten how much engineering design and installation attention is required to ensure the safe operation of alternative constant wattage products,” said Linda Kiss, vice president of Technology at nVent Thermal Management. “Today, our new innovations in polymer science enable us to increase the resilience of our product performance. Most notable is the achievement of higher power retention and longer design life than our legacy products.”
In 2019, nVent was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and inducted into its “Milestones Program” that honors significant achievements in the history of electrical and electronic engineering. The company received the 200th milestone as the patent holder and producer of the world’s first conductive polymer self-regulating heat tracing cable.
Helping to Improve the Safety of an Industry
Self-regulating heating cables offers higher levels of safety in hazardous areas and became the first and, at times, only choice in a variety of critical settings within the energy and chemical process industries. They continue to be the most versatile option for many projects. The technology is also used in a variety of solutions for the commercial, residential, and infrastructure applications.
Today, nVent continues its legacy of innovation for improved performance as shown by the 2021 launch of its nVent RAYCHEM HTV self-regulating heating cable. This heating cable is designed for applications up to 260°C/450°F, and features a breakthrough High Power Retention (HPR) technology. It retains minimum 95% of its power after operating at maximum temperature for 10 years. Offering superior levels of HPR during a design life of more than 30 years, this new rugged, self-regulating heating cable meets stringent demands for maximum process integrity while protecting processes and infrastructure.
"I am extremely proud of our history as the innovator of self-regulating heat tracing cable and the fact that we helped to define a new industry,” said Brad Faulconer, president of nVent Thermal Management. “After 50 years, innovation remains at the core of our business as we continue to develop game-changing, reliable products and solutions that empower our customers to be successful. We are grateful to all of our customers around the world for helping us to reach this milestone, and we look forward to the next 50 years.”