Posted by Adelle Webber on
Five things to consider before buying a drum heater
Drum heaters are used throughout industries to heat or maintain the temperatures of their contents. In addition, these heaters prevent freezing and reduce the viscosities of soaps, fats, foodstuffs, varnishes, oil, and other chemicals, allowing them to be pumped or poured with ease.
Below are five topics you should discuss with the manufacturer before purchasing drum heaters. All-electric band heaters are not equal and careful consideration will save money and prevent accidents.
Weather conditions for drum storage
Electric drum heaters are used under almost all conditions, but it is essential to identify worse conditions before selecting the right heater for the job. For example, are the requirements for drums stored inside, outside, or in use next to a manufacturing process.
It is also important to note if the heaters will be used in multiple conditions when reused. For example, 55 gallon drums stored outdoors often need heaters to keep their contents from freezing.
You want to be able to use the same heater inside to ensure the internal contents maintain a temperature that eases pumping from the drum. In addition, the same heater might need to be resistant to liquids or even hazardous materials.
Heating elements protected by silicone rubber cover best in all external cold and moist conditions. The silicone band heaters are most used but there are 3 other kinds of barrel heaters. It is a good idea to look for drum heaters marked with HSSD ensuring they are made with high quality materials.
Contents and process of the drums to be heated.
The contents of the drums to be heated are a significant consideration of how much heat output is needed, and are multiple drum heaters required on the same drum. In addition, oils, syrups, and other materials used in processing industries need a set temperature.
Depending on the materials and type of drum, plastic, steel, or aluminum, the heat output required will be different for transferring the heat to the drum's contents. Electric drum heaters come in 110 volts and 240-volt models with power output from 800 Watt to 1,500 Watt. What voltage is available in the location at the heater location? Is there an electrical power outlet?
Depending on the contents and heat requirements, you may need one or two heater bands to reach the desired temperature. Heating internal contents is not a fast process. Depending on how high a temperature is necessary, it may take several hours to get operating temperatures.
Frequency of change out the drums and drum heaters
How frequently will you have to change drums in a manufacturing process environment, or will you seldom have to change the heater when just protecting the contents from freezing?
A good quality band heater should be easy to move from one drum to another in a short period of time.
Does the heater have a built-in connecting device that is spring-loaded to keep it tight around the barrel for best heat conductivity?
Can the spring-loaded band be easily adjusted and moved up or down or removed from the barrel? In most cases, you will need different sized bands for a 55-gallon steel drum than a 35-gallon drum. Sizes are not adjustable between the two-sized drums.
Is there a built-in power cord with enough length to plug into available power without extension cords or provisional wiring? For example, you want a heater with a long cable already attached with the appropriate plug for your power supply.
Are the heater bands themselves durable and flexible to handle the constant removal and reattachment without damaging the heater or electrical cords?
The device manufacturer will be able to provide examples of their heaters in use by clients. Ask about the materials used to cover the heating coils and the position of the coils. Read more about electric drum heaters.
Vertical heating elements are best for flexibility versus resistive elements that run parallel to the band.
Temperature control of heater
Electrical barrel heaters need temperature control and sensor to maintain your ideal temperature. Do the devices have built-in temperature control circuits that can be set and maintain the desired temperature?
The sensing and control functions need to operate remotely without supervision so that you have confidence the contents of the drums will not be damaged. In addition, the built-in controls should meet the same standards as the insulating material protecting the heating elements from external conditions.
The sensor and controls should be impervious to the environment and not damaged by liquids or temperatures. The best control circuits have indicator lights, a capillary thermostat, and an adjustable temperature dial.
The budget allocated for heaters
When considering a budget for barrel heaters, consider the total cost of ownership. Check if heaters are made for the industrial or home markets.
High-quality, durable, easy to use electric band heaters will provide a longer life span than cheaper lower-quality units. As a result, you may be able to save money by purchasing fewer higher-quality devices while ensuring safety and reliable operation.
Silicone insulated drum heaters are considered the highest quality due to the silicone coating's superb insulation, heat transfer, and durability. The internal resistive wiring should also contain a PFA covering for added protection and durability.
PS If you still don’t know how to select the right electric drum heater call one of our engineers at 1-864-607-9047