Ever since primitive people began building fires to stay warm, mankind has been seeking ways to heat the air around them to warm their dwellings. Fast forward to today and methods for heating air are technologically advanced and the methods are numerous.
Finding efficient ways to heat air for industrial purposes has produced an array of options, technologies and techniques. Let’s take a look at the primary systems used today for heating air on an industrial scale.
Convections heating processes leverage gas burners or electrically heated elements to heat air within an internal recirculation system. Liquid or natural gas is fed into a burner. The heat is then circulated with fans to create an even temperature throughout the specified unit. The same goal can be achieved with electrical devices. Convections systems are the most common. They are safe, reliable, consistent and easily managed.
Resistance Power Heating
This involves heating directly a part capable of withstanding power applied to it. For example, electric motors have copper wires that act as resistors. One very common type of electric resistance heater is a baseboard heater in a house or office. It heats the air inside a home or other buildings. Resistance heating is 100% efficient when considering that all incoming energy is converted into heat.
Infrared (IR) heating systems employ panels made from ceratin sheathed elements, quartz panels or UV wavelength lamps. They radiate energy that delivers heat to specific parts that need to be heated, although they can be used to heat air, as well, such as heat lamps used in chicken coups or aquariums. IR is ideal when it’s used to direct radiant energy to the surface of a part. It is often used for purposes like curing paints, resins and epoxy. IR has an advantage over convection heating when only a specific surface area needs to be heated. IR is faster than convection-generated heat.
This method employs electromagnetism to heat a part of a component that is conductive. Induction is achieved when an electric current is run through an induction coil. This generates an electromagnetic field. Metals placed within that electromagnetic field naturally resist the flow. This resistance produces heat.
Induction coils are excellent for such tasks as cryogenic case hardening of carbon steel parts. Induction coils (the burners) are also what you find on the top of your household electric stove. A space heater for a home may use induction heating.
Combination Heating Methods
Finally, some heating systems employ all or some of the above methods. Skilled engineers can custom design heating systems for specific tasks by incorporating different methods to build furnaces, specialized thermal systems, industrial ovens and much more. Call us at 408-295-2182.