Like humans need heat to survive, most industries require a lot of heat to remain functional. Yet, heat usage is not limited to only one type of industry. For instance, problems with heating also affect the health industry. The health sector needs heat to carry out critical medical processes. For example, health professionals need heat for sterilization and surgical procedures.
The discovery of better heating equipment is ever progressive. The use of heaters in homes is simple to understand. Still, many people don't know how heating works in larger industries. What is industrial heating in the first place? Why is it important? What do you have to know about this process?
For a clearer picture, let's find out what industrial heating means.
What Is Industrial Heating Technology?
Industrial heating technology involves the use of heat for preparing and treating materials to produce goods. Industrial heating processes make use of heaters or other equipment that produce heat. Most materials won't work at colder temperatures. So, they must pass through heat before use.
These heaters work by converting other forms of energy to heat energy. That involves the transfer of heat from one heating material to another. The identified forms of heat transfer are convection, radiation, and conduction. However, most flexible heaters transfer heat to other solid materials through conduction.
Why Is It Important?
Industries consume large amounts of energy. They do this to keep up with their goods or service production. Using cost-efficient ways to produce heat is a popular way of curbing excess heat.
Technologies that produce heat at lower rates keep industries running. These technologies are better options because they cut down extra expenses while maintaining product quality. Everyone prefers a situation to sustain productivity while limiting energy costs. For instance, Hi-Heat Industries came up with the polyester battery heater in 1993 to replace expensive silicone heaters.
Also, using industrial heating technologies reduces operating costs. For example, industries warm lubricating oils to normal temperatures before pouring them into a machine. This process reduces machine damage occurrences and, of course, the cause to repair.
Interesting Facts to Know About Heating Technology
Heating things up used to take a lot of time in the past. That was before better heating equipment and flexible heaters became a thing. People had to go the traditional way by making fireplaces to get things warmer. The problem grew worse during winter or colder days. During these periods, heating anything was even slower.
Carrying out medical activities was exhausting, as there were no good heaters to support medical procedures. It took a lot of time to get things heated up to the desired temperature.
Now, heating is so easy that you can defog by wrapping a heater around a refrigerator or an autoclave machine. This is a development you'd be more grateful to have if you lived some 300 years back. We will look at a few interesting facts you may not know about heaters.
The Underfloor Hypocaust
The earliest heating technology recorded is the underground heating system called the hypocaust. This invention was made around the end of the 2nd century BC. Ancient Romans perfected this heating technology. The Romans did this to solve their recurring troubles with cold baths and chambers.
This system consists of an underground space network connected to a central furnace. It works by distributing the heat from the furnace through these spaces to the alls and floors of homes. Unfortunately, the system was only available to people who could afford it. Though old-fashioned, the technology is still in use in some parts of the world.
Use of Fireplaces
After the fall of the Roman Empire, innovations in heating technologies slacked, slowing down heating civilization in that age.
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To keep warm, people had to resort to using more archaic methods. They used fireplaces to stay warm in the winter months and cold days. Fireplaces kept people warm during those times as duvets and blankets were absent.
People used this as the only heating method for a long time before other means sprung up. Fireplaces are still very much in use to this day. We doubt that sparking fires will ever go out of fashion someday.
Fireplace to Furnace
Before modern heating technologies became a thing, people took steps to improve fireplaces. A Frenchman, Louis Savot, improved heat circulation by making bigger fireplaces. In addition, he designed fireplaces that could distribute heat beyond their immediate surroundings. This innovation developed over time into the types of furnaces we see today.
Improvement of the Furnace
An Englishman, Benjamin Franklin, developed the Franklin stove. This was an upgrade on the fireplace design made by Louis Savot. He made a furnace that had an exterior opening. From this opening, air made from combustion in the furnace goes out through a linked pipe.
Electric Heating Equipment
The first electric heating element ever invented is the carbon fiber resistor. A British chemist, Joseph Wilson Swan, created the invention. The use of these resistors first came into existence around the late 1800s. Joseph saw the need for better and faster heating equipment. Before then, carbon fiber resistors were only used in light bulbs till the mid-1900s.
The First Flexible Custom Heaters
The first flexible heaters had asbestos clothes wrapped around wires of high resistance. Two scientists created the innovation in the late 1800s. Heaters around that time were rigid, and moving them around was difficult. This innovation was a breakthrough. It formed the basis for electrical thermoplastic strips and smaller flexible custom heaters.
During World War II, custom heaters had evolved so much that warplanes had heaters. These heaters had less complex heating designs. Transparent custom heater designs became common during the war. Now, more glass and silver custom heaters were in circulation.
After the Second World War, people thought of better heating innovations. Around this period, heating industries with cost-efficient heaters ruled the market.
The first flexible heater to appear in this category was the silicone heater. At that time, it was only for war purposes. With time, people saw that wrapping heaters around appliances could defrost them. It has stayed functional since then.
Custom Rubber Heaters
The most common custom flexible heaters now in circulation are:
Silicone heaters were the first flexible heaters developed. They have evolved so much that a bit of silicone rubber pad can provide up to 500 Fahrenheit of heat. You can heat anything by wrapping the silicone heater around the surface of what you want to heat.
Silicone heaters are also the most popular flexible heaters. They are efficient in preventing condensation. In addition, they keep fluids and viscous substances above freezing points.
Kapton heaters are another group of flexible heaters. These heaters use a polyimide film to provide precise heat distribution. They are resistant to common environmental problems. Kapton heaters can be used to heat equipment before use in extreme temperatures.
Polyester heaters are better known as polyester film heaters. The delicate nature of these heaters makes them similar to Kapton heaters. However, they have a higher heat transfer capacity. The heaters also distribute heat evenly around the surface you are heating.
Bonus Fact: How to Choose an Industrial Heater
Before you pick a heater to use for any purpose, you have to consider the size and application of these heaters. Heater manufacturers designed heaters for specific functions.
Some heaters get damaged when used with substances they do not work well with. Flexible heaters have a broader application than other kinds of heating elements. Yet, double-checking the heater's ability should be a top priority as you buy one.
An essential factor to check for is the Watt density. The Watt density measures the heat flow per square inch of the heated surface. Watt density shows the heat transfer rate from the heater to the surface of an object.
Technology has taken a better turn as time passed. For example, electrical heating elements are now produced with better insulating materials. That improves user experience with heating.
We can now control temperatures even to a fraction of a degree. And the good news is that the improvement never stops. We'll be sure to see even more innovation in industrial heating technology in time to come.