What Are Circulation Heaters?

Circulation heaters are generally used for pressurized processing fluids. This type of immersion heater is widely used in application of various industries, such as oil storage, commercial food equipment or cooling towers. Circulator heater’s performance and efficiency are comparable to industrial heat exchangers since they follow an equivalent heat exchanging mechanism. Examples of processing fluids that are used include water steam, oil and other pressurized gases. One of the distinctive advantages of the circulation immersion type is the minimized heat loss during a process flow while maintaining high and efficient heat transfer rate.

A unique feature for our compact circulation heater is that the heating elements are installed inside a well-insulated steel vessel. This insulated space is the key to promote a higher heat transfer coefficient since this prevents heat dissipation into the ambient environment and thus the insulation minimizes the overall heat loss. The heater can be installed as screw plug or flange immersion type depending on the desired operating environment. The circulation heater has two threaded nozzles, which are utilized as fluid inlet and outlet streams. The inlet and outlet nozzles are assured to be compatible with the industrial standard piping. Other specifications such as the sheath material or the heater unit length can also be customized upon request in order to meet specific operating conditions. The circulation heater can be operated either in horizontal or vertical configuration for the purpose of maximizing the heat transfer efficiency depending on the application.

What is a circulation heater? This type of immersion heater uses a similar principle as a shell and tube heat exchanger where the fluids travel around the vessel in a single-pass or multi-pass flow while conducting continuous heat transfer with the medium of the tube side. In contrast to process heat exchangers, circulation heaters do not require an external medium as the utility, such as steam or other chemical fluids. An electric source is the only required utility for the immersion heater. During the operation, the processing liquids or gases proceed to the inlet of the circulation heater and the medium is forced to pass through the heating elements and flow out from the outlet nozzle with the desired pre-set temperature. In case the application involves with heavy fluids, a circulator pump is used to force the flow to travel around the heating elements while maintaining the contact with high constant heat flux.

In order to maximize the heat transfer efficiency and minimize any unnecessary heat loss, WATTCOTM offers custom designs based on our standard models available from our electric heater catalogs. For special industrial applications, housings and terminal enclosures such as explosion proof (NEMA type 7) can be installed upon request in order to enhance the protection of the circulation heater and most importantly, your valuable medium. If you are interested in purchasing a circulation heater or if you are considering an alternative immersion heater, feel free to contact our office for assistance and consultation.

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