What are electric 55-gallon drum heaters?

What are electric 55-gallon drum heaters?

A 55-gallon steel drum is one of the most used containers for transporting and storing all kinds of materials, both liquid and granular.  Electric 55-gallon drum heaters refer to types of heaters explicitly made for the size and diameter of the most common drum.

Plastic drums of the same size are taking the steel drum where there is an increased chance of corrosion due to the storage environment of the materials contained in the drums.  A typical 55-gallon electrical heater will work on either steel, aluminum, or plastic drums with a few exceptions, such as the induction heaters.

Where are industrial drums used?

As the name industrial implies, 55-gallon drums are widely used in all types of industries for transporting and storing materials.  The 55-gallon size originated with the transportation of oil from the first 2-inch pipeline in Pennsylvania.  

The wooden drums were loaded onto horse-drawn wagons to reach their final destination.  To this day, drums of oil are still used as a measurement in oil fields and transportation. But, of course, tankers carry oil in bulk rather than the 55-gallon drums, as do pipelines and trains.

Industrial locations far from these bulk transportation systems still use 55-gallon drums for smaller quantities of materials.  Oil & lubricants aren’t the only products using drums or barrels.  Food ingredients, syrups, additives, wine, and chemicals.  

The drums make sturdy containers that can be sealed for the transportation and storage of any item poured from a drum, solid or liquid.

When is the drum heating used on steel drums?

Materials stored and transported in drums often need to be protected from freezing temperatures or be maintained at temperatures that keep them fluid.  55-gallon drums are difficult to heat uniformly for long periods.

Any material stored in drums outside or on a remote site in inclement weather use heaters to keep the materials from freezing.  Or they are used to liquefy thick materials before pumping from the drums.

Industrial processes need to pump highly viscous materials like molasses or other ingredients utilize heaters to maintain specific temperatures inside the drums.

Why use an electric band heater?

Bottom heaters like a pot on a stove were one answer but required special handing equipment to lift the barrel for placement of the heater.  If stored outside, the bottom of the drum could be sitting in the moisture of ice, making it even more difficult. If stored on a ship or in limited space, the bottom heaters aren’t practical.

Band heaters that could be easily attached and removable became a welcome answer.


What voltage is used for silicone electric heaters?

DBK USA heaters come in 120 - 220/240 voltages from 300W up to 1,500 watts.  It is recommended that the heaters be disconnected from the power source when the container is empty or being filled. In addition, containers should be vented to avoid the build-up of internal pressure.


Are flexible band heaters better than a drum blanket?

Heating blankets are specifically designed to maintain a constant temperature with insulating properties.  For certain products, a blanket may be preferred.  There are multiple types of drum heaters available.

The blankets are clumsy to install and remove from a barrel or drum.  Often there isn’t room to wrap the blanket around a drum easily, and they don’t heat the contents quickly.  

A flexible band heater can be attached and removed easily.  Multiple bands can heat the content of a drum quickly.  Even when barrels are tightly stored, the silicone bands can be slipped over the barrel and fasten with spring fasteners on one site.

Do I need an adjustable thermostat with the heater?

Flexible silicone band heaters come with a built-in adjustable thermostat for controlling temperature.  This prevents overheating or the requirement for other handling systems.

Just plug in the 6 to 9 foot 120V or 220V electrical cord, set the thermostat, and get back to work.

Why are flexible drum heaters made with silicone rubber?

Silicone rubber is durable, flexible, a good conductor of heat, and has high electrical insulation making it ideal for industrial applications. In addition, it is resistant to moisture and most chemicals.  Although most band heaters are recommended for use in a dry indoor environment.

The electrical heating elements are embedded into the silicone in a pattern that allows for bending the band around a drum.  Metal spring fasteners are attached to the ends of the bars for easy attachment.  

Silicone also has a high-temperature tolerance.  DBK HSSD drum heaters are built to IPX1 protection; class II double insulation, a 32-240 degree capillary thermostat, and an 80-inch power cable.  Sizes include 5, 15, 30, and 55 gallons.

Can electric heaters be used in hazardous areas?

Check the manufacturer’s specifications for hazardous ratings on the heaters.  

Need to know more about the silicone side drum heaters?

Talk to an industrial heating specialist about the best size and power rating for your application. 

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What are PTC heaters? FAQ

PTC stands for positive temperature coefficient. PTC means that the small ceramic heating element heats quickly but creates an increase in resistance as the temperature increases.  This logarithmic relationship increases the resistance to a point where no current will flow as the heater reaches the maximum temperature.

The most common type of PTC heating element are small ceramic disks doped with quantities of other elements that create unique properties.  Manufacturers have produced the same effect in conductive inks.  

The set-point or maximum temperature is manufactured into the ceramic disk and remains  

constant during the element’s life.  Since the resistance is low when power is applied to the element, it heats quickly but shuts down as the temperature increases to the threshold.  This makes the device self-regulating without the need for external controls.

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Facts About Enclosure Heaters

Electrical enclosures or cabinets often require heating elements to maintain temperatures in the enclosure for proper operation of the electrical devices and equipment.  These heaters raise the temperature within the enclosure to reduce humidity and moisture, keep components from freezing, and condition external air entering the enclosure.

Condensation and corrosion are mortal enemies of electronic components and circuitry.  Rapid changes in external and internal temperatures can cause condensation to form directly on components.  Opening the door to an enclosure for maintenance can introduce cool air and moisture requiring heating adjustments.

Enclosures can contain components such as valves, scales, and measuring devices for gas, oil, food production, medical devices, specialized fuels & gases, and other fluids.  The devices controlling the flow and metering need to maintain an optimum temperature for performance.  Freeze protection of electronic devices and controls is a real concern with enclosures located remotely.

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