Immersion heaters are essential in the petrochemical and process heating industries. Flanged heaters are especially popular for their versatility, efficiency, and ease of use in heating process fluids. They are highly customizable and may be designed specifically for the intended application.
Flanged heaters are simply constructed with a tubular heating element mounted to a flange. To install, the heating element can be fed directly through the wall of the vessel and attached to a companion flange affixed to the vessel. Flanges range in diameter from 2” to 40” for most industrial applications. And they can be designed with custom geometry to match oddly shaped tanks. Given the corrosive nature of liquids such as salt water, heating elements may be constructed from titanium or other exotic alloys with better corrosion resistance than steel. Thermocouples are fed through the interior of the heating element and provide feedback that is displayed on the external control box. This allows the user to monitor and adjust the temperature within the tank.
When considering a design for a flanged heater, it is important to understand the application for which it will be used. In order to maximize efficiency, the medium being heated and the desired set temperature must be considered. Further, the design takes into account the pressure within the tank, the size of the tank, the environment in which the tank is located, and the available voltage being fed to the heater. The control and precision necessary for the process—allowable heat drop, target temperature range, and desired heat-up time—are also critical for an efficient design.
In December 2014, dipping weather temperatures in Birmingham Alabama and Atlanta Georgia and have forced manufacturers to find alternative heating methods to keep their liquids at a certain temperature. Heating of highly flammable chemicals is clearly a dangerous process, and electric immersion heaters that directly heat the medium carry a much lower risk than external gaseous heat sources. Flanged immersion heaters are well suited for heating large vats of chemicals such as petroleum because the heat source is contained within the vessel rather than outside of the vessel. Engineers within the petrochemical industry also appreciate the control afforded to the user. Flanged heaters utilize an external control box that displays the temperature of the vat and regulates heating in order to maintain stability when the set temperature is reached.
The mining industry utilizes flanged immersion heaters for many of the same reasons as the petrochemical industry. Mining of precious metals such as gold and platinum requires heating of chemicals in vats as large as 50,000 gallons. For extremely large tanks that require a high level of control, Wattco is able to provide heaters with fast heat-up times and stability at precise temperatures. Given the chemical environment in which the heaters may be used, the heating elements are designed from exotic alloys that require minimal maintenance and provide excellent corrosion resistance.
While flanged immersion heaters are most commonly used in the chemical heating industries, the potential applications are nearly limitless. They can be designed with a wide range of KW ratings, voltage outputs, temperature settings, and sheath materials, making them more versatile than other immersion heater. From the construction to the output, these heaters can be customized to deliver unparalleled efficiency and performance. Simple installation and straightforward maintenance elevate the flanged immersion heater into a class all its own.