Maintenance man checking the tanks

You may not have heard about it, but cartridge heaters are an important part of our daily lives. It is a heating element used in several industrial applications. Among some of its common uses include:

  • Medical devices
  • HVAC compressors
  • Seal bars
  • Food production
  • Semiconductors
  • Rubber molding
  • 3D printers
  • Sensor measurement devices

It is composed of different parts, such as:

  • Metal sheath
  • Resistive wiring
  • Insulation
  • Power pins
  • Electrical lead
  • Sealing
  • Watt density
  • Termination

A cartridge heater has a cylindrical tube with diameters measuring around an inch wide. Meanwhile, there are smaller cartridges in terms of diameter size. However, it has limited wattage due to the small diameter area.

Cartridge heater vs. tubular heater

maintenance man giving thumbs up

The two are often confused with each other. However, the two heaters are actually different in terms of appearance and use. For one, a cartridge heater has a cylindrical or rectangular shape. It is meant to be inserted in drilled holes.

Meanwhile, a tubular heater varies in size, shape, and materials. It is welded and fused to any metal surfaces. While a cartridge heater is used for industrial purposes, a tubular heater is used on ovens and vessels among a few.

Causes of cartridge heater defects

Among common causes of cartridge heater defects include:

  • High wattage. It can cause overheating and result in damage. Make sure that the watt density is not set too high so that it will last longer and function better.
  • Used improperly. When a part of the cartridge heater is exposed in the open, it can lead to premature damage. You can ask for a cold section upon ordering the cartridge heater in such a case.
  • Lead failure. This may be either because of heat or excessive movement. An average lead rates up to 842 degrees Fahrenheit. To solve the issue, you can use the heater configuration.
  • Contamination. Common culprits include contact with moisture and hydraulic fluids among a few. Coming into contact with these substances can shorten the life of a cartridge heater.

However, there are ways to prevent such contamination. One way is by using lead configurations, which prevent contaminants from seeping through the heater. Another way is to reduce voltage and run it for a few minutes before applying full power. This is to reduce the chances of shortage.

Cartridge heater installation

Here are some tips on proper installation of a cartridge heater. It is important to install it correctly to ensure its effectiveness and longevity. Otherwise, it can cause premature damage and fail to function altogether.

Choosing the right heater

The correct cartridge heater should fit into the hole. This is to ensure proper heat transfer and minimal air gaps. A cartridge heater has different size options, so choose the right size according to your needs.

Drilling a hole for the heater

Make sure that the hole is drilled correctly for more effective results. It should also have an outlet for easier removal.

Lead protection

This is to prevent the occurrence of short circuits and burns. It should also be protected from contaminants such as lubricants, oil, and moisture.

Temperature regulation

You should apply a temperature regulator device to ensure proper performance and longer lifespan.

Mechanical equipment and appliances break down over time. This may be due to over-use and improper care. The same applies to a cartridge heater. When this malfunctions, it will affect the equipment’s performance. As such, proper and regular maintenance is important.