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Cartridge Heaters

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A cartridge heater is a heating element in the shape of a tube that fits into drilled holes and is used in industrial activity. Cartridge heaters are extensively used in the heating process sector because they provide localized and accurate heating. Cartridge heaters are often used to heat a metal block from the inside, and they can be custom produced to a precise watt density based on the application’s requirement. Read More…

Cartridge Heaters Cartridge heaters are small, cylindrical electric heaters used to provide localized or precision heat to materials and equipment parts in a variety of settings. Similar to immersion heaters, cartridge heaters are usually inserted into a material to heat the surrounding area; unlike immersion heaters, which are usually submerged in water or other liquids, cartridge heaters are inserted into small holes drilled in metal materials and parts that require internal heat. While capable of providing localized high temperature heating, cartridge heaters can also radiate heat throughout the interior of a material or product.
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Leading Manufacturers

Danvers, MA  |  978-777-0070

Backer Hotwatt is a superior designer & manufacturer of electric heaters and related heater accessories for various OEM & industrial applications.

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Backer Hotwatt, Inc. $$$

Columbus, IN  |  812-372-0281

For more than 70 years, Ulanet™ has been engineering and manufacturing electric heaters, cartridge heaters, immersion heaters, tubular heaters, miniature strip heaters and bolt hole heaters, as well as industrial heaters and appliance thermostats.

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Ulanet™ $$$

Fortville, IN  |  905-664-8274

Superior Radiant Product is the global innovation champions in the heating industry, saving energy for future generations. SRP offers a complete range of low and high-intensity energy efficient infrared heaters for industrial, commercial, agricultural and residential applications worldwide.

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Superior Radiant Products $$$

Houston, TX  |  800-460-5200

Process industries have relied on Gaumer since 1962 for the design and manufacture of industrial heaters, electric heaters, heating systems plus controls. Circulation heaters, component heaters (radiant heaters, strip heaters, cartridge heaters), comfort heaters and immersion heaters are the offerings.

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Gaumer Process Heaters, Systems & Controls $$$

Charlotte, NC  |  800-438-4936

Space-Ray is an international manufacturer of infrared radiant gas heating products. We are a division of the Gas Fired Products Group of companies which manufactures energy efficient overhead radiant heating, space heating, infrared heaters and process heating systems in the UK and USA. We design and manufacture energy efficient gas heating products that will stand the test of time.

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Space-Ray, Inc. $$$
placeholder image Backer Hotwatt, Inc. Ulanet™ Superior Radiant Products Gaumer Process Heaters, Systems & Controls Space-Ray, Inc.

A cartridge heater is a heating element in the shape of a tube that fits into drilled holes and is used in industrial activity. Cartridge heaters are extensively used in the heating process sector because they provide localized and accurate heating. Cartridge heaters are often used to heat a metal block from the inside, and they can be custom produced to a precise watt density based on the application's requirement.

An exterior metal shell, known as a sheath, surrounds the heating element. This shell is usually stainless steel and includes an insulator and a coil of nickel-chromium heater wiring. A standard electrical connection is found on most cartridge heaters; there are, however, different cable designs available, such as right-angle exit, fastening tab, and flange mounting, to mention a few.

Cartridge Heaters

Salient Features of Cartridge Heaters

  • Corrosion-resistant materials construct corrosion-resistant heaters suited for use in corrosive or chemical environments.
  • Explosion-proof heaters are built to withstand explosions while safeguarding the contents within. Some providers include heaters with spark- and flame-resistant housings.
  • A grounding wire is included in the heater that may attach the electrical wiring to a common ground to disperse the load in case of a short circuit.
  • The heater has an integrated temperature detector that monitors its temperature while operating.
  • Cartridge heating elements are UL and CSA certified.
  • Cartridge heaters offer temperatures of up to 1562 °F (850 °C) with a maximum voltage of 600V.
  • The maximum surface load offered by cartridge heaters is 35 W/cm2.

Materials Used in Cartridge Heaters

The cartridge heater has four components with different material options available to them.

Jackets, sheaths, or sleeves are employed as a protective exterior covering for heating components. Sleeve materials used in cartridge heaters are often aluminum, stainless steel, nickel alloy, copper, iron, steel, or brass. A few standard options are explained below:

  • None: The heater has a bare and exposed heating element that does not contain a sheath or sleeve.
  • Stainless Steel: This is used for the sleeve or sheath, a chemically and corrosion-resistant alloy with high-pressure ratings.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is used to make the sleeve or sheath, a ductile, malleable, trivalent, light metal with good electrical and thermal conductivity, oxidation resistance, and high reflectivity.
  • Insulation commonly used in a cartridge heater includes fiberglass, ceramic, mica or mineral insulation, magnesium oxide, or fluoropolymer. A few insulation options are explained below:
  • Ceramic insulation is made of nonmetallic materials like clay that have been fired at high temperatures to harden them permanently. The majority of ceramics are resistant to heat and chemicals.
  • Fiberglass insulation is sturdy, long-lasting, and resistant to various chemicals and harsh temperatures. In industrial usage, fiberglass textiles are commonly utilized.
  • Magnesium oxide insulation offers a high melting point (5072 °F [2800 °C]) and temperature resistance (3092 °F [1700 °C] in reducing and 4172 °F [2300 °C] in oxidizing environments).
  • The Electrical Connection in a cartridge heater has different termination options, including armor cable leads, screw terminal boxes, metal braided leads, insulated leads, bare leads, plugs, and quick disconnects.
  • The Mounting options of a cartridge heater are locating rings, threaded pipe fittings, and mounting flanges.

Construction of Cartridge Heaters

The construction process consists of 7 parts:

  • Heating Coil: The electrical load or the actual resistance occurs in the heating coil. The most common type used is nichrome.
  • Insulation: It is used to prevent the contact of the coil with the sheath; else, a short circuit can occur. Magnesium Oxide (MgO) is typically used in industry.
  • Sheath: The sheath is what makes contact with the material or substance that needs to be heated.
  • Sealing: A seal is applied to the open end of the cartridge to prevent the coil and insulation used from coming out and contaminants such as dust, air, or moisture from entering.
  • Termination: Cartridge heaters are used in various industrial applications to ensure that they can be terminated with the leads coming out straight or at a right angle.
  • Lead wire type: Typically, fiberglass is used as the lead wire in high-temperature industrial applications. However, usage may vary depending on the task.
  • Watt Density: It is then chosen upon the level of industry work carried out.
High Watt Density Cartridge Heater
Completed Cartridge Heater

How a Cartridge Heater Work?

A cartridge heater works straightforwardly:

  • A cartridge heater comprises a resistance coil wound around a ceramic base covered in a metal sheath and surrounded by a dielectric.
  • The sheath heats up when powered heat is passed through the coil.
  • The heat generated would then be transmitted to the metal element on the inside that needs to be heated.

Applications of Cartridge Heaters

These heaters are intended to heat metal molds, dies, different metal components, and platens in the metalworking industry. Cartridge heaters are also used in the following applications:

  • Lamination Processes
  • Medical Equipment
  • Molding of Plastic
  • Molds for Hot Runners
  • Wafer Processing for Semiconductors
  • Heating Liquids and Gasses
Cartridge Heater Inserted into a Plastic Mixing Block

Cartridge Heater Informational Video


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