Freeze Prevention Saves Millions Downstream From Hydro-Electric Dam

chromalox oce

The Challenge
A hydro-electric dam located on a major northern river, needed to replace their 30-year old Open Coil Element (OCE) heaters. The OCE heaters were critical to the operation of the flood gates to keep them from freezing during harsh winter conditions and during the potential flood conditions of the spring thaw. Without the freeze protection, millions of people living downstream from the dam would be in potential danger from frozen and inoperable flood gates. In addition, management of the dam needed to work within the current government guidelines and approved specifications mandating that the Open Coil Element heaters be installed vertically.

The Solution
Chromalox met the exact specifications including splicing together, end-to-end, three (3) sections of 11’ pcs and one (1) section of 11’6” section to make one OCE heater 44’6” long with a 10’ cold end. The heaters can be easily removed and replaced, as needed, and fit into the existing 3” sch 40 pipe of the original heaters so dam operators did not need to upgrade the entire electrical distribution system nor need to re-train staff. The heaters were placed in all gates vertically by significantly increasing the mounting hardware necessary to withstand the stress and weight of the heater.

The Benefits

  • Freeze prevention of dam gates to maintain their operability
  • Create custom designs to replace and retro-fit older systems while minimizing changes to processes 
  • Available peripheral equipment and hardware to vertically mount heaters.