Tempco Custom Heater Manufacturing

Introduction to Channel Strip Heater Power Variations


March 31, 2021

Three Tempco Channel Strip Heaters


Common Applications

  • Air Heating
  • Baking
  • Dies
  • Drying
  • Food Warmers
  • Hot Plates
  • Incubators
  • Melting
  • Molds
  • Ovens
  • Platens
  • Sealing Bars
  • Tank Heating
  • Thermoforming
  • Welding Preheating

One of the many product line offerings Tempo has is Channel Strip Heaters. These flat, rectangular heaters are manufactured with a 304 stainless steel sheath that provides strength and resistance to high application temperatures and chemical corrosion. The heating element in these strip heaters is a resistance wire coil made from nickel-chrome that is helically wound. The element is strung through a ceramic insulator. Remaining space within the sheath is filled with a proprietary blend of magnesium oxide grain sizes that is designed to increase conductivity and dielectric strength.

A variation of these heaters is Tempco’s Finned Channel Strip Heaters. Fins are mounted to our standard channel strip heater, transforming it into a heater ideal for air circulation applications or static environments with lower temperatures.

Some additional features of Tempco’s Channel Strip Heaters are:

  • Capable of reaching temperatures as high as 1200°F/650°C
  • Available in combinations of two different widths and two different thicknesses
  • Customer specified lengths
  • Optional mounting tabs for ease of installation
  • Heaters without mounting tabs are silver soldered closed to prevent moisture and contaminants from entering the heater
  • Many electrical terminations and configurations
  • Variety of options for electrical termination protection

Power Variations for Channel Strip Heaters

Power Variations are an important feature of our channel strip heaters. They allow for design flexibility to fit application needs such as space constraints or power optimization requirements that standard heaters might not be able to meet.

These variations include:

  • Three-phase wiring
  • Dual-voltage
  • Distributed wattage
  • Dual-circuits
  • Grounded lead wire
     

Two channel strip heaters


Three-Phase Wiring

An underutilized configuration for Channel Strip Heaters is three-phase (3-phase) wiring. This type of a setup creates a more balanced and efficient heater for the application. Power is distributed between three nickel-chrome wires that are thinner than the wire used in similarly designed single-phase heaters. For this reason, a 3-phase design is also capable of exceeding the limits of a single-phase design for more demanding applications. There are some design limitations, such as a lower watt range, that render the heater unable to take advantage of the 3-phase design. It’s like driving a race car on public roads – powerful but restricted by legal speed limit.

Drawing of three-phase wiring


Dual-Voltage

A configuration that is often overlooked is dual-voltage. It allows the flexibility to design heaters with combinations of either 120V/240V or 240V/480V while maintaining the same watts. A third terminal marked “Common” is required for switching to the lower voltage setting. Internally, the terminal connections create either a series or a parallel connection to achieve the correct voltage. This type of power variation is ideal if the heater is installed into a system with more than one electrical rating or prototyping. In cases like this, a single style heater can be stocked and managed for ease and efficiency.

Drawing of dual voltage wiring


Distributed Wattage

Distributed wattage allows the heater to have varying wattage along the length and, as a result, different temperatures as well. Internal construction is adjusted to meet these distinct, custom design needs. Such a design can be ideal for temperature transitions. Not to be confused with dual-circuits, distributed wattage has constant power for the entire heated length.

Drawing of distributed wattage


Dual-Circuits

Dual-circuits is a design that is used when it is necessary to have two completely independent heated lengths inside a single channel strip unit. Both circuits have their own electrical termination that power each circuit independently. Since they only share the sheath body, the individual circuits can have completely different specifications.

Drawing of dual circuits


Grounded Lead Wire

For safety purposes, Tempco’s Channel Strip Heaters can be electrically grounded. The heater will have a dedicated terminal post or lead wire to ground for those applications that may require it. Grounding a heater will add a level of protection in the scenario of electrical failure. The protection extends from the equipment to the people!

Drawing of grounded lead wire


Tempco’s channel strip heaters are a reliable heat source with endless design possibilities. The design features of these heaters are also available with Tempco’s Finned Channel Strip Heaters as well as our Channel Strip Enclosure Heaters. The countless combinations allow the flexibility to configure Tempco heaters to meet the needs of the application, from electrical terminations to electrical protection and plugs to power variations. Tempco is always open to exploring new or unique builds with its customers.

Stan C.

Design Engineer


 

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