Two Tall Orders for Strip Heaters
December 6, 2021
Tempco was recently asked to quote and manufacture four 206-inch Channel Strip Heaters (CSH). Our customer in the food and beverage packaging industry needed the extra-long heaters to keep the area around some chain rails heated. The requested length went a few feet beyond our longest CSH to date, which had required special attention during production. After some deliberation, Tempco accepted the challenge. At only 3600 watts, the internal components were not strained. Realization of the scope of the project began sinking in when the manufacturing order hit the first station in Production. The Tubing Department contacted Engineering about a typo calling for 206 inches of material. Engineering assured Production that it was not an error!
Production implemented special care to make sure that the heaters were properly handled. Throughout the process, multiple people were required to support the heaters when moving them to the next station. Whole heaters are typically put into the ovens to bake out moisture. However, the length of these heaters exceeded the capacity of the oven, so they were baked in stages - half in and half out.
The long heaters worked exactly as intended for our customer’s initial application. But an attempt was made to use them for a different material configuration, and they came up short on power. After reaching out to us about increasing the watts, we provided the customer with a quote and received a second order for four 206-inch strip heaters with higher wattages than the previous order.
After extra time in production to accommodate the heater size,
we were finally able to hang out with one.
Coincidentally, a different customer approached us regarding a 120-inch Finned Channel Strip Heater (CSF) around the same time. The customer, a university graduate program, was conducting research and needed to measure a temperature spread the length of their equipment. Just like the channel strip heater order, this 120-inch heater would be the longest by several feet for a Tempco CSF. Why is this considered long for a finned channel strip heater when we were able to manufacture a much longer channel strip heater? There are several reasons for that:
- There are limited applications that would require or accommodate the 10-foot opening that would be needed to properly move air across the fins of the heater at average watt densities.
- Sagging commonly occurs with long finned strip heaters because they are not normally intended for surface mounting the way that channel strip heaters are used. Few applications can properly support this long of a heater to prevent sagging.
- Production equipment to mount fins has some limitations. Our maximum advertised finned strip heater length is 70 inches. But limits are made to be broken and Tempco found a way to work-around that restraint.
We were feeling bold after successfully designing the long channel strip heater, so we accepted a second challenge. For this customer the low watt density was key – air movement was not required across the fins. To prevent sagging, the heater was supported by a post near where a customer-provided temperature sensor would be mounted to the heater. In Production, Tempco created custom tools and utilized our skilled employees to overcome the equipment limitations.
Neither design was difficult, but both were unique in how they had to be handled throughout the manufacturing process.
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