Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Industrial Process Heating: Electric and Fuel Based

Electric heater used on industrial hopper throat.
Electric heater used on industrial hopper throat.
Process heating operations supply thermal energy to transform materials like metal, plastic, rubber, limestone (cement), glass, ceramics, and biomass into a wide variety of industrial and consumer products. Industrial heating processes include drying, heat treating, curing and forming, calcining, smelting, and other operations. Examples of process heating systems include furnaces, ovens, dryers, heaters, and kilns. Many of these systems are mature technologies used ubiquitously throughout manufacturing. Process heating is used to raise or maintain the temperature of substances involved in the manufacturing process, such as the use of heat to melt scrap in electric arc furnaces to make steel, to separate components of crude oil in petroleum refining, to dry paint in automobile manufacturing, or to process food for packaging.

Electricity-based process heating systems transform materials through direct and indirect processes. For example, electric current is applied directly to suitable materials to achieve direct resistance heating; alternatively, high-frequency energy can be inductively coupled to suitable materials to achieve indirect heating. Electricity-based process heating systems are used for heating, drying, curing, melting, and forming. Examples of electricity-based process heating technologies include electric arc furnace technology, infrared radiation, induction heating, radio frequency drying, laser heating, and microwave processing.

Gas burners for process heating
Gas burners for process heating.
Fuel-based process heating systems generate heat by combusting solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels, then transferring the heat directly or indirectly to the material. Hot combustion gases are either placed in direct contact with the material (i.e., direct heating via convection) or routed through radiant burner tubes or panels that rely on radiant heat transfer to keep the gases separate from the material (i.e., indirect heating). Examples of fuel-based process heating equipment include furnaces, ovens, kilns, melters, and high-temperature generators.

For information on any industrial heating application, contact Hotfoil-EHS at 609.588.0900 or visit

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Pyrometers: Non-contact Temperature Measurement

Red-hot metallic parts from furnace
Pyrometers come in handy for applications
such as heat treating.
Non-contact temperature measurement technology allows process operators and technicians to evaluate the temperature of process materials, machinery, or piping by measuring their electromagnetic radiation. Through inferential calculation and one or more radiation measurements, specialized instruments can determine temperature without contacting the subject material or surface. While the concept of non-contact measurement technology has existed for many years, more recent advancements in non-contact temperature sensing and the evolution of the pyrometer have allowed temperature measurement at a distance to become popular throughout industrial process operations.

Pyrometers can commonly concentrate light from an object onto a temperature sensing element. The sensed elevation in temperature is proportional to the infrared optical energy. Different instruments may have varying arrangements of concentrating lenses and sensors, but the operating principle is the same. The physical law behind the pyrometer's operating principle operates on an exponential mathematical basis that is non-linear. This results in one of the limitations of the pyrometer. A single pyrometer can only, with high accuracy, deliver a comparatively narrow range of target temperature. If the need for accuracy is reduced, the applicable temperature range widens. Innovative manufacturers have developed instruments with technology and features overcoming many of the limitations imposed by the physics, delivering instruments with accuracy and applicable temperature range usable in a wide array of applications.

One of the advantages to using a non-contact pyrometer is that their calibration is independent of the distance between the sensor and the object being evaluated. This phenomenon is due to the fact pyrometers have a field of view and can be filled with the target object in a way independent of distance. While the radiation emanating from the target object may be decreasing, the field of view of the pyrometer is measuring a greater portion of the object which is proportional to the amount of radiation being lost, essentially canceling out the distance and allowing the pyrometer to provide useful output. An example of a practical application of a pyrometer in industry would be its use to check the temperature of a ventilation system in the HVAC field.

Share your temperature measurement requirements and challenges with process instrumentation specialists. Their product application expertise will combine with your own process knowledge and experience to produce an effective solution.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Electric Process Heaters & Controls

Hotfoil specializes in electric surface heating systems for fly ash hoppers on electrostatic precipitators or baghouses, coal and material handling systems, tanks, pipes, etc. in all types of industry.

For more information, visit or call 609.588.0900.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Fuel Based Furnace Types and Applications

Large furnace
Large furnace in production (Hotfoil-EHS)
With fuel-based systems, heat is generated by the combustion of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuel, and transferred either directly or indirectly to the material. The combustion gases can be either in contact with the material (direct heating), or be con ned and thus be separated from the material (indirect heating, e.g., radiant burner tube, retort, muffle). Examples of fuel-based process heating equipment include furnaces, ovens, kilns, lehrs, and melters.

Fuel-based process heating systems are common in nearly every industry segment, and include furnaces like ovens, heaters, kilns, and melters, but also the surface treatment in ambient air. Typical fuel-based furnaces include the following:

  • Atmosphere generators. Used to prepare and/or condition protective atmospheres. Processes include the manufacture of endothermic gas used primarily to protect steel and iron during processing, and exothermic gas used to protect metals, but also to purge oxygen or volatile gases from con ned areas.
  • Blast furnaces. Furnaces that burn solid fuel with a blast of air, often used to smelt ore.
  • Crucible furnaces. A furnace in which the heated materials are held in a refractory vessel for processes such as melting or calcining.
  • Dryer. A device that removes free water, or other volatile components, from materials through direct or indirect heating. Dryers can be grouped into several categories based on factors such as continuous versus batch operation, type of material handling system, or source of heat generation.
  • Indirect process heaters. Used to indirectly heat a variety of materials by remotely heating and circulating a heat transfer uid.
  • Kilns. A furnace used to bake, dry, and re ceramic ware or wood. Kilns are also used for
    Heat treating furnace (Hotfoil-EHS)
    calcining ores.
  • Lehrs. An enclosed oven or furnace used for annealing, or other forms of heat treatment, particularly in glass manufacturing. Lehrs may be the open type (in which the flame comes in contact with the ware), or the muffle type.
  • Muffle furnaces. A furnace in which heat is applied to the outside of a refractory chamber or another enclosure containing the heated material that is enveloped by the hot gases. The heat must reach the charge by flowing through the walls of the container.
  • Ovens. A furnace-like chamber in which substances are heated for purposes, such as baking, annealing, curing, and drying. Heated systems can use forced convection or infrared.
  • Radiant-tube heat-treating furnaces. Used for processing iron, steel, and aluminum under a controlled atmosphere. The flame is contained within tubes that radiate heat to the work. Processes include carburizing, hardening, carbo-nitriding, and austempering. The atmosphere may be inert, reducing, or oxidizing.
  • Reverberatory furnaces. Furnaces in which open flames heat the upper portion of a chamber (crown). Heat is transferred to the material mainly by radiation ( flame, reflection of the flame by the crown) and convection (combustion gases).
  • Salt bath furnaces. Metal pot furnaces filled with molten salt where heat is applied to the outside of the pot or inside of the pot by radiant tube. Salt bath furnaces are used for processes such as heat treating metals and curing plastics and rubber.
  • Solid waste incinerators. Used to dispose of solid waste material through burning.
  • Thermal oxidizers. Used to oxidize volatile organic compounds (VOC) in various industrial waste streams. Processes include paint and polymer curing and/or drying.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Induction Heating Basics

Induction Heating
Induction heating coils
around large pipe for
pre-weld heat treatment.
Induction heating occurs when passing alternating magnetic fields through conductive materials. This is accomplished by placing an alternating current carrying coil around or in close proximity to the materials. The alternating fields generate eddy currents in the materials. These currents interact with the resistance of the material to produce heat. There is a secondary heating process called hysteresis. This disappears at the temperature at which the material loses its magnetic properties.

Direct Induction
Direct induction heating occurs when the material to be heated is in the direct alternating magnetic field. The frequency of the electromagnetic field and the electric properties of the material determine the penetration depth of the field, thus enabling the localized, near-surface heating of the material. 

Comparably high power densities and high heating rates can be achieved. Direct induction heating is primarily used in the metals industry for melting, heating, and heat treatment (hardening, tempering, and annealing).

Indirect Induction
With indirect induction heating, a strong electromagnetic field generated by a water- cooled coil induces an eddy current into an electrically conducting material (susceptor), which is in contact with the material to be treated. Indirect induction heating is often used to melt optical glasses in platinum crucibles, to sinter ceramic powders in graphite crucibles, and to melt materials in crucibles prior to drawing crystals. Indirect induction is also used to heat susceptors used for joining operations.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Happy Fourth of July from HotfoilEHS

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Declaration of Independence