There are numerous industrial processes that use heating, and many of those applications are well-suited to using infrared. These range from simply drying process to more complex forming processes and beyond. This post discusses industrial infrared heaters, their applications, and benefits of infrared technology compared to other heating technologies.
The Technology of Infrared Heating
There are three main forms of heat transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. Infrared heating is a form of radiative heat transfer, meaning that it consists of electromagnetic waves that travel from the source to the target. To generate infrared heat, an electrical current is passed through a metallic heating element. The wavelength of infrared energy generated depends on the thickness and material of the heating element. This infrared energy wavelength is measured in microns and typically heaters are manufactured to produce one of three ranges of energy:
- Short wave: Infrared heaters in this range normally produce infrared energy wavelengths between 0.8 and 2.5 microns. This is best suited for applications where metal is the target object to be heated.
- Medium wave: This refers to the energy wavelength range from 2.5 to 6 microns. This range has numerous applications and is frequently used for drying processes and glass manufacturing.
- Long wave: This refers to the range from 6 to 12 microns. It has few applications and is mainly used when heating at a slower rate than medium wave is necessary.
In case of infrared, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the temperature of the heater which means that shorter wavelength applications tend to be faster processes that require more aggressive heating. Choosing the proper wavelength and heater temperature depends on the material of the object to be heated. Each material has its own peak absorption wavelength and an application will be most efficient when the heaters selected are tuned to output at this wavelength. Fortunately, infrared heating systems are electric based meaning it is easy to control output of the heater based on the electrical input.
Benefits of Infrared Heaters
Here are some benefits of infrared heating when compared with other heating technologies:
- Because the energy is directly transferred from the heater to the target object, infrared heating systems can be more efficient and require less energy for similar results.
- Infrared heaters are electrically powered, allowing for controls that respond rapidly and precisely. This creates a more uniform output and product quality.
- These heaters can be compactly designed and fitted in small spaces.
- Maintenance is very minimal, reducing long-term upkeep costs.
- There is less heat waste as the air inside an oven does not have to be preheated for the process to be effective.
- On the whole, these systems are extremely flexible, can be controlled easily, and help you overcome challenges related to product quality and production time.
Applications of Industrial Infrared Heaters
Some applications where the use of infrared heating has been found to be beneficial:
- Paint Drying and Curing
- Plastics Heating and Forming
- Adhesive Drying
- Glass Manufacturing – Laminating, Bending, Annealing
- Screen Printing
If you are a manufacturer looking to invest in infrared heating, ensure you source it from a reliable manufacturer and supplier. Make sure the manufacturer understands your requirements and the heater is an exact fit for your application. Casso-Solar Technologies is one of the leading industrial infrared furnace manufacturers. They specialize in the design and fabrication of custom infrared heat processing equipment for a wide variety of processes. Call today to discuss your project.