The typical customer are manufacturers and integrators who make diesel powered equipment that is subject to EU or EPA (US) emissions requirements and whose equipment gets used when temperatures fall below 0˚ C.
Take a look at the attached picture. The black thing is a CCV (closed crankcase ventilator) filter housing, sometimes called an oil separator, or a coalescer. This is used as part of the emissions control scheme in about half of all diesel engines that require emissions restrictions. The input to this is exhaust blowby (partially combusted diesel fuel that has leaked past—or blown by—the piston rings, plus some oil mist, plus some water vapor, plus some metal particles and dirt), the filter should remove everything so that the output should be only partially combusted fuel vapors that get routed back into the combustion path, and what drains out the bottom should be pure oil but it will typically have some water mixed in with it. Typically, once a system is started and running, these won’t cause problems unless it’s very cold (for instance -30 and below), because the engine heat will keep the water from freezing. However, when the machine is shut down for the night or the weekend, the water vapor that is trapped in the filter freezes solid as does any water that is running down the drain line. Then the next morning, when they try to start the equipment, the equipment won’t start (or, in some of the older engines, head-gaskets will blow out).
The IntelliThaw™ jackets were designed to cost effectively heat objects such as the CCV filter housing (and, of course, the actual filter inside) in a short period of time. We have been working on designs for a couple of different sizes of one manufacturer’s CCV filter housings, and we are capable of raising the temperature of the internal filter from -50˚C to approximately +10˚C in less than five minutes while consuming relatively little power from the battery. If the customer wants to keep the parts just above freezing while the engine is off (thus drawing power strictly from the battery) this is possible depending on the length of time required and the capacity of the customer’s battery.
The other place where we’ve done these is for a PCV filter (Positive Crankcase Ventilator)—it’s similar to the CCV filter, but it doesn’t recycle anything back into the combustion path. One jacket we made is shown on the PCV filter in the ThermEvolve flyer I That one is on a 6.2 litre Ford diesel engine that is used in a generator set.
Our products are more cost effective and prototypes can be delivered quickly. In one example, we know that a solution from competitors were priced at USD 1300 and there were no discounts at any quantity. In addition, the lead time for a first sample would have been 12 weeks. Our solution was way cheaper USD 500 at 200 piece deliveries and we were able to deliver a functional model within three weeks and first articles from the tool within six weeks from order.
With regard to IntelliHose™ heated hoses, our intent is to be able to supply heated hoses in the smallest quantities and configurations . In many cases, customers who have freezing PCV and CCV filters also have freezing drain or inlet lines where an IntelliHose will fix the problem. We developed the IntelliHose concept to be able to quickly and cost-effectively provide small quantities of temperature-controlled heated hose. for instance we do 200 pieces per year of a 6’ long (a little less than 2 m) 5/8” (about 16mm) hose for a PCV drain line. In this case we procure a 1000’ spool of the customer’s specified hose and build as required…usually 25 at a time. If the annual usage of hose would be much smaller, and if the customer purchases large quantities of the hose anyway, we can quote an IntelliHose using customer supplied material (the hose).
Also, there’s the issue of Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). This stuff freezes solid at -12˚ C. The standard hose diameter for equipment use is 6mm. The problem is that in the market there are only a couple of standard lengths (for the large LKW type machines and for pickup trucks here in the States); if your application requires a heated hose that is longer, you are out of luck. That’s where we come in. We can make odd lengths of DEF hose for surprisingly reasonable prices, and if a customer only needs one or two that’s usually not a problem. In addition, we can thaw a frozen DEF hose more quickly than anyone else…the secret is our ThermEvolve™ technology.
One other application that comes to mind is keeping pneumatic valves from freezing—typical when the compressed air isn’t thoroughly dry and temperatures are below 0˚ C. We have a SoliStat application with a company that makes small rail engines that are used for pushing train cars around in factories and switching yards. We sell them a SoliStat and a heater and they install them on the valve and add their own insulation—I imagine this is a large pain in the ass, and that life would be much easier for them with a one-piece heating jacket.
we are an authorized distributor for the solistat products