Cartridge Heaters

Guide to Configuring a Cartridge Heater

In manufacturing, cartridge heaters are essential for providing high-density heating efficiently and effectively. They are designed to fit into drilled holes, allowing them to deliver heat directly to the substance or part requiring heat. Given the diverse nature of manufacturing applications, each cartridge heater must be customized to meet specific operational demands. This customization ensures optimal performance, longevity, and safety, which are vital for maintaining productivity and achieving precise temperature control in your processes.

In this article, we’ll guide you through what to consider when configuring your custom cartridge heater.

1. Diameter

First, the diameter of the cartridge heater must match the hole it will be inserted into. This ensures efficient heat transfer and prevents damage to both the heater and the part being heated.

A tightly fitted heater maximizes the surface contact with the material, enhancing thermal efficiency and response time.

Hi-Watt offers many diameter options, including but not limited to:

  • 1/8”
  • 1/4”
  • 3/8”
  • 1/2”
  • 5/8”
  • 3/4”

For more diameter options, please email to or call (800) 321-8007.

2. Insertion Length

To determine the correct insertion length of your application, you’ll need to measure the depth of the hole or cavity where the heater will be installed. Ensure the heater’s length matches the depth of the space to allow for proper heat distribution without extending beyond the necessary area. Always consider any space required for wiring or connections at the end of the heater.

3. Voltage Requirements

Next, match the voltage requirements of the cartridge heater to the power supply in your application. Incorrect voltage can lead to underperformance or damage. At Hi-Watt, we can configure cartridge heaters up to 480V.

4. Target Wattage

After determining voltage, you’ll need to identify your target wattage. Correct wattage ensures your heater provides sufficient heat for your application without risking overheating or energy wastage. When determining target wattage, consider the material(s) that will be heated, the required temperature rise, and the heating speed. Calculating wattage involves assessing the material’s thermal properties and the application’s environmental conditions.

Target wattage won’t be applicable if you have a highly specialized application where standard calculations for heat requirements can’t be directly applied. Factors like experimental setups, prototyping stages, or environments with variable conditions might influence heating needs in such cases. In these situations, iterative testing may be necessary to determine an appropriate wattage that meets the specific thermal demands without predefined guidelines.

Hi-Watt’s application assistants can help calculate the target wattage for your application. Please call (800) 321-8007 to get started.

5. Moisture Presence

When configuring your cartridge heater, you’ll also need to keep in mind whether the heater will be frequently exposed to moisture. Moisture can cause electrical shorts and accelerate corrosion. To prevent moisture damage, the heater will need to have moisture-resistant features like sealed ends and special coats and be constructed from materials like stainless steel that help prevent corrosion.

6. Lead Type & Length

The lead type and length determine the electrical connection quality and the heater’s placement flexibility.

There are three primary lead types you can choose from: fiberglass, high-temperature, and PTFE (Teflon). Fiberglass leads are best for high-temperature environments up to 482 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit), while high-temperature leads are suited for extremely high temperatures (up to 704 degrees Celsius/1,300 degrees Fahrenheit). PTFE leads are known for their excellent chemical resistance, so they are highly recommended for corrosive environments or applications requiring exposure to solvents or acids.

The lead length should be chosen based on the distance from the power source to the heater’s installation point, accounting for any obstacles or routes the lead needs to follow for a safe installation.

Additionally, swagged-in leads, which are compacted and securely embedded into the heater, may be needed for mobile applications where standard leads might fail due to stress or environmental factors.

7. Thermocouple Integration

If your application requires precise temperature control, you should opt for thermocouple integration, which allows real-time temperature monitoring and feedback.

8. Mounting Flange Utility

Opt for a mounting flange for applications like manufacturing machinery with motion or vibration. You will probably not require a mounting flange if your application has a stationary setup or is enclosed.

9. Other Customization Options

In addition to the factors we covered above, you may need to customize additional features depending on your applications. Other customizable features could include:

  • Sheath material (to further improve corrosion resistance and heat transfer efficiency)
  • Built-in thermocouple types (dependent on control requirements)
  • Watt density (for specific heating requirements)
  • Internal wiring configurations (to handle higher currents or adhere to specific electrical requirements)

Start Customizing Today

Hi-Watt is a regional supplier based in Michigan that offers customizable industrial heating solutions. Please visit our website to start configuring your cartridge heater, or contact one of our product specialists today if you need assistance.