It is said that ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’. And it is usual for the imitator to target those seen as the best in their field.
In this sense, perhaps Heat Trace should feel flattered that Wuhu Jiahong New Material Company of China (Wuhu) has targeted, and attempted to copy Heat Trace’s self-regulating heating cable products for its passing-off and counterfeiting activities. In reality, we are extremely concerned by the activities of this company, as our reputation for best quality may be compromised if clients receive inferior quality products, believing them to be of our manufacture.
Wuhu has a number of websites depicting ‘its’ products. One uses Heat Trace’s FS (Freezstop) product references (e.g. FSLE, FSR, FSP, Gte), including suffixes for voltage, braid, and overjacket, e.g. FSR2-CT. Another website replaces the Heat Trace FS designation with HT. Thus its listed products and datasheets include HTM, HTLe (even the lower case ‘e’ from our reference is copied), HTR, HTE, HTP, HTS and Gte (again the lower case ‘e’).
Each datasheet carries a 100-150 word product description which, word for word, have been copied from Heat Trace’s own product datasheets. And, incredibly, this company has the audacity to claim ‘Copyright 2008 all rights reserved Wuhu Jiahong New Material Company Ltd.’!!!
We have also been told by our partners that they are claiming to be the real manufacturer of our cables! They have approached our distributors with the offer of ‘our’ products, and we have received copies of their quotations. Frankly, their prices are expensive. Usually, counterfeit products are available at a fraction of the genuine article. Not so with Wuhu, who have quoted US$15.29/m for our 55FSS2-CF! You may then wonder whether it works, and for how long.
We are having samples of their products independently performance tested. A full Test Report will be made available to Heat Trace’s partners and customers on completion. Meanwhile, we have carried out some preliminary in-house tests and, surprise, surprise, the Wuhu products tested fall well short of genuine Heat Trace products. During accelerated ageing tests, their cables exhibit unpredictable and abnormal behaviour, resulting in significant power output variations. These indicate manufacturing issues, and may also result in safety issues. Furthermore, although Wuhu’s datasheets claim approvals for hazardous areas, the samples we have tested do not meet the requirements of the latest standards.
In essence, the ‘equivalent’ products are poles apart. The main differences are:-
1) Temperature withstand
FSM/FSLe/FSR – Wuhu Jiahong. Onset of melt temperature is 86 °C approx
FSM/FSLe/FSR – Heat Trace. Onset of melt temperature is 115 °C approx
Obviously, the Wuhu Jiahong manufactured products cannot have an 85 °C maximum energised withstand temperature (as per their product datasheets), and tests clearly show that their products lose output and fail when cycled at 85 °C
Similarly, whereas Heat Trace’s FSP has an onset melt temperature of 142 °C, the Wuhu equivalent product’s onset melt temperature is only 108 °C, and so its failure at their claimed withstand temperature is understandable.
The cross-sectional photographs clearly show air gaps between the heater core and insulation of the Wuhu Jiahong products. This causes the heater to operate at a higher temperature and less efficiently.
3) Mechanical strength
The Wuhu Jiahong products have a lower braid specification (see report), and hence have a lower mechanical withstand capability
Naturally, Heat Trace intends to take all appropriate legal proceedings against this company for such practices, which are illegal in China as in our own countries.
We also intend to introduce a new system whereby the manufacturing origin of our products can be securely validated, and we will supply further details in the near future.
But in the meantime PLEASE BEWARE – counterfeit Heat Trace products, or products being passed off as Heat Trace products, marketed by Wuhu may be unapproved, unfit for purpose and pose safety concerns.
If you have had any dealings with Wuhu, or require further information, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the past, trace heating applications having a high power or high temperature requirement (outside the limit of polymers), had to be satisfied by means of series resistance, metal sheathed mineral insulated (MI) heating cables. These must be individually designed for each application and pipe length, and are difficult to terminate and install. Available resistances are limited, so that low voltage transformers are often required when short cable lengths are called for.
Parallel constant power (zonal) tracers are popular, as they can be conveniently cut to suit pipe lengths, but until recently, they were all of polymeric construction and so were limited in temperature capability. However, Heat Trace has patented a parallel resistance, convenient cut-to-length metal sheathed, mineral insulated (MI) heater having a withstand temperature of 425 deg. C, and power outputs in the range 15 to 150 watts/metre
This type AHT product caters for virtually all applications that previously could only be met by the old series MI cables. Thus cut-to-length parallel tracers are now available for virtually all heat tracing applications.
AHT is particularly beneficial in the case of instrument lines, the lengths of which are usually not known at the design stage of a project, and which are site run according to convenience. It carries approvals for use in hazardous areas – IEC (World), ATEX (Europe), IEEE and CSA (N. America), and GOST (Russia), and patents in Europe, the USA and Canada.