Industrial Heating Elements
Industrial heating covers a wide range of topics that can be confusing. The topics range to industrial heating processes that include high-temperature furnaces, annealing ovens, extrusions, and fabrication. At the other end of the spectrum are smaller more precise heating elements used for lower wattage spot heating needs.
Our interest is in the latter type of devices and elements. These devices are often classified as elements in that electrical current flow through these devices to create the heat needed. For these elements, industrial and commercial are terms used interchangeably depending on the end-use.
Industrial or Commercial Heating Elements
Heating elements industrial is a common way to identify devices for end-use in industrial applications and manufacturing equipment. Spot heating for process controls, electronics, enclosures, valves, liquids, where extreme cold, condensation, ice, snow may impact the correct operation of the equipment.
Commercial heating elements are incorporated into devices for commercial end-use. These applications are in homes, office buildings, automotive, trucking, aerospace, industrial equipment (tractors, bulldozers, cranes) outside manufacturing industries.
While the delineation of these two classifications isn’t always clear they types of heaters are an easier way to describe the elements.
Five Industrial Heating Element Categories
- Fan Heaters
- Convection Heaters
- Surface Heaters
- Cartridge Heaters
- Air Heaters
How are Fan Heaters Used in Industry?
Similar to portable home room heater, industrial fan heaters transfer heat from by forcing air passed a heating element. The industrial applications for this type of heater are not the high volume large space room heating.
Units are designed for precise heating in more confined spaces to maintain an optimal temperature in electrical cabinets, medical remote monitoring systems, ticket vending machines, and similar outdoor systems subject to cold and moisture. These systems can have combined or separate circuits for heating and fan power. Models can be powered by 115-240 volts or 12-24 volt circuits depending on the application. Typically these component heaters lightweight high power ratio designs prewired for installation.
What is the Difference Between Air and Convection Heaters?
Industrial Convection heaters use the natural convection for heat to raise from its source. The use of fins attached to the heating element directs the heat more effectively from its source. The fins are usually positioned so that natural convection of air will flow along the fins directing the heat more precisely where it is needed. These types of heaters are used where there isn’t sufficient room or power to support fan heating. The applications are similar to fan heating elements but used where space is at a premium and less heat is required. The wattage of these heaters is less than fan heaters but can be precisely applied without the need for additional power source and are silent without the use of fans.
Industrial Air heaters or air heating is used where there is already a flow of air by a fan or other source and heating is needed. They are designed such that the air can flow through the heat transfer coils or perforated or finned surfaces.
The heaters are usually custom made for specific applications although off the shelf units are available. Most will require control circuits to maintain a specific temperature with the exception of PTC electric heating elements.
What are Industrial Surface Heaters?
In industry and manufacturing, there are applications where heat needs to be transferred directly to another surface. Think of a hot plate in your home. This could be a solid both, containers or liquids or dry materials, medical devices, or other appliances.
The surface heating elements are enclosed in a way that transfers heat directly to an adjoining body or surface. Some have coil elements for heating. It is common to find the heating elements embedded in an aluminum housing that can be attached to another surface. The transfer efficiency is high since there is no air or other insulating material between the housing and the surface to be heated. This type of results in a compact high-power density design.
The aluminum housings can be predrilled and designed for specific applications. A combination of fin design can also allow for convection heating as well as surface heating.
Where Would an Industrial Cartridge Heater be Used?
Cartridge heaters or immersion heating elements embedded inside a tube or similarly shaped housing that can be inserted into a container to heat fluids or materials inside the container. A consumer application would be engine oil or water heater to ease the engine starting in cold weather. Inserted into the water hose or engine block the heater maintains the temperature of the water or oil. In some cases, it preheats the liquids prior to starting the engine.
The same need exists for industrial-grade cartridge heaters. These heaters may be constructed of stainless steel or other corrosion existant metal casing. The diameters and length vary with the application with relatively high surface temperatures conducting the heat directly to the liquid or solid in the containers.
Sometimes called tubular heaters these types of heating elements are manufactured enclosed in the casing, prewired, and often with a method of fastening to a hole in the container. Look for these heaters to be off-the-shelf style components. Durable and easy to replace make these good solutions for many applications.
What Type of Industrial Heater Should Be Used for Your Application?
It depends. If in doubt it is best to contact experts in industrial heating. Just Googling an answer may not be enough. Trust industrial heating engineers that have experience with your type of application to find the best heating solution. If a custom solution is needed they can also help. Contact DBK USA to learn more.