Strip heaters are versatile heating elements used in a wide variety of applications. They are generally considered both cost-effective and easy to install, providing dependable surface-contact heating, particularly over wide areas. Easy to control, these heaters can be purchased in a wide variety of wattages and are available in regular strip and finned constructions.
Typically, strip heaters feature rugged construction and have a wide variety of terminations. They come in many sizes, with holes and notches to suit the requirements of the particular heating application. They can be custom-made as well.
Their construction is dependent upon the particular heating application. Their sheath temperatures can be quite high, generally ranging from 700°F to 1,400°F (about 370°C to 760°C). These temperatures vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of sheath material and the insulation used.
The highest temperature ratings are realized with mineral insulated strip heaters. With stainless steel construction, they can reach 1,400°F (760°C). Mica-insulated strip heaters, made with zinc steel, can reach 900°F (482°C). When constructed using stainless steel, this type of heater can reach 1,200°F (649°C).
Strip heaters are frequently used for process air heating in applications such as cabinet warming, baking ovens, and ovens used for vacuum dehydration. Also effective for surface heating, they may be used with a variety of surfaces, including — but not limited to — dies, tanks, platens, and molds. These heaters are often clamped or bolted onto surfaces for use in heating applications.
Moisture protection is another common use of strip heaters. They are often used in motors and control cabinets, as well as a variety of other areas that need protection from moisture. Frequently used in winterizing, these heaters are often employed for hoppers and conveyors. Ducts and thawing applications, as well those used in automobile heating, commonly require strip-heating elements as well.
Certain types of original equipment also use them, and they are considered beneficial for everything from air conditioning and lab equipment to food packaging and certain presses. This type of heater is frequently used for drying equipment.
Another interesting way strip heaters are employed involves the shaping of certain plastics. For this type of application, a heater is used to warm the plastic, making it flexible enough to shape into a variety of formations. This process is commonly used with acrylic plastic.