Bitumen is a material requiring special storage and handling conditions. There are standards of bitumen storage, requiring constant bitumen heating in specially equipped vessels. Bitumen is a binding material and must stay that way, without breaking into water and bitumen, which may occur if bitumen emulsion is stored incorrectly.
Bitumen storage tanks can be vertical or horizontal. At this time vertical tanks are more popular: they are simple to operate, more economical and take less space. Bitumen production facilities prefer to keep their own tanks, allowing regular construction and repair works with no down time for supply or market price fluctuations.
The heating system in vertical tanks may be implemented in several ways. There are steam, gas, oil and electric low temperature heaters. The recent trend is to use diathermic oil heating of bitumen; the oil passes through a system of winding tubes integrated into the tank. Heat exchange occurs by supplying hot oil from special boilers and supplied to the tank. High flashpoint mineral oils work best for bitumen heating. Oil heaters offer gradual temperature increase and maintenance of the required temperature without the danger of overheating.
GlobeCore makes high quality oil heaters. These systems are used in many applications designed for bitumen and bitumen emulsion storage and handling. The equipment features special automation for temperature control and bitumen storage conditions.