When the USA’s elite special operations forces needed a specialized heating solution they turned to the best in the industry, Tempco, for help. Seal Team 4, located in Virginia Beach, VA, had a need to heat the aluminum fuel tanks in their Mark 7 Go Fast Boats. The aluminum fuel tanks held diesel fuel that needed to be kept warm when the boats were exposed to freezing temperatures during either cold weather deployment or during transportation via cargo plane.
As temperatures drop to the freezing mark and below, diesel fuel is negatively affected. The paraffin wax within the fuel begins forming solid molecular bonds. These bonds become visible as the quantity increases, giving the fuel a hazy appearance. Under normal conditions, the paraffin wax acts as a lubricant to maintain the fuel’s viscosity. As more wax solidifies over time, it can clog a fuel filter blocking the flow of fuel to the engine. As you can guess, the result is a starved engine that will not run. That is not acceptable when the Navy Seals are called to duty.
Tempco designed a pair of silicone rubbers heaters as a solution. The heaters needed to be compact and easy to install as well as removable for storage in custom cases when not in use. Additionally, they needed to stay below a specific temperature. The features of the flexible heater design include:
- Factory vulcanizing to Stainless Steel plates - the SS plates could then be easily mounted to and removed from the aluminum fuel tanks.
- Heaters were designed with a specific watt density to make sure the temperatures did not get too high.
- Silicone sponge insulation was used to help force the heat towards the tank.
- A standard electrical plug was used to make powering the unit easy and hassle free.
The units worked out great and the Navy used several sets for the required boats. Tempco is a proud American manufacturer of electrical heating elements, temperature sensors and controls and we were was happy to do what we could to help solve a problem for the United States Armed Forces.
Silicone rubber heater vulcanized to metal plate
Silicone rubber heater with standard electrical plug
Silicone rubber heater with sponge insulation