Success Story

Smooth Takeoffs and Landings in Sub-zero Temperatures

Sophisticated testing proves efficiency of BARTEC’s MSB heating cable solution

Iced-up or snowed-in flight decks are a considerable problem for helicopters, in particular when it comes to performing risky take-off and landing processes on ships. De-icing the decks, which can be carried out manually or by using technical means, is imperative in such cases. One option that is both efficient and effective is BARTEC’s MSB heating cable, which features halogen-free insulation. Unlike commercially available heating cables with fluoropolymer overjackets, it does not release toxic gases if ignited.

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This addition to the BARTEC product portfolio is eminently suitable for both preventing the formation of ice on shipboard helicopter flight decks and de-icing them. The self-limiting MSB heating cable was developed entirely without fluorinated synthetic materials. This eliminates the presence of halogen in the insulation and ensures that no toxic gases are released should the heating cable catch fire. Despite the absence of such materials, the cable has the same resistance to temperature and chemicals as their conventional counterparts. 

BARTEC has partnered with one of the most renowned shipbuilders to set up a unique simulation environment that allows the testing of all component functions under realistically rough conditions. The comprehensive tests carried out clearly show that the heating capacity of BARTEC’s self-limiting, halogen-free heating cable makes it ideally suited for this application. The tests established, for example, that the BARTEC cable can remove a one-centimeter-thick layer of ice within two hours in an ambient temperature of -25 degrees Celsius. Tests have also been carried out to assess the cable’s ice-inhibiting capabilities. Despite unchanging freezing ambient conditions, the surface temperature of the test deck, which is constructed of S235 steel and has the same thermal properties as AH36 shipbuilding steel, remained above 0 degrees Celsius for ten hours. 

Due to its design, which sandwiches a temperature-sensitive heating element between parallel copper conductors, the heating cable automatically regulates and limits its own thermal output. This means that if the ambient temperature of the helicopter flight deck drops, the cable’s heating output automatically increases, preventing ice from forming on the deck. Its parallel power supply lines enable the heating cable to be trimmed to the requisite length on site, a feature which considerably facilitates the installation of the heating equipment. 

In addition to the heating cable, BARTEC offers all the other components required for a complete heating system. These include the different connection housings and systems and the various plug connections. The new Plexo II plug-in system features a plug-and-play connection as well as spring terminals to allow quick and easy installation with standard tools. This is also advantageous for maintenance and revision processes – the ease of handling and the elimination of silicon adhesive and heat-shrink methods mean that downtimes are considerably reduced. Another advantage of Plexo is that it can also be used as adapter housing because 4 mm2 connecting leads (including sheathed ones), can be easily inserted. 

The first helicopter flight decks have already been successfully fitted with the BARTEC components. This success clearly underscores the test results, proving once again that the BARTEC heating cable is optimally suited for this type of situation.

The initial situation:

- Ice and snow on shipboard helipads pose major problems for pilots and operators

The challenge:

- Efficient technical solution for heating and ice prevention under adverse environmental condition

The solution:

- BARTEC self-limiting MSB heating cable
- Heating cables made without fluorinated plastics with the same temperature- and chemical-resistance capabilities as comparable cables
- Cables regulate and limit their temperature independently based on ambient conditions
- All components required for a complete system from a single source

The result:

- Safe, efficient solution for de-icing and ice prevention on shipboard helipads
- Halogen-free design – no release of toxic gases in the event of fire
- Can be cut to any length
- Easy installation and maintenance

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