Infrared tube heaters, also known as IR heaters, are powerful electric industrial heaters that are generally safer to use than many other types of heaters. The high energy of an electric infrared heater or radiant tube heater is used for reliable drying, curing or heating processes. The direct IR energy from a radiant tube heater will remove moisture, cure paint and heat plastics. Read on to learn more about electric IR heaters and how to select the right one for your needs.
Types of electric infrared heaters and radiant tube heaters include: ceramic, quartz lamp/tube, panel, and metal sheath. These industrial electric heaters deliver electromagnetic infrared radiation in short, medium or long wavelengths and offer 1300-1600° F capabilities.
Heat-up times vary by heater type. Materials, such as plastics, organic substances and water, absorb infrared energy with greater efficiency than other materials used in industrial processing. Infrared heating equipment reaches a desired operating temperature rapidly for enhanced efficiency.
Since the radiant energy from the radiant tube heater heats the product directly, without a heat transfer intermediary (such as air), electric infrared heaters can yield faster response times than traditional convection heating.
Types of Industrial Infrared Heaters
There are three common types of industrial infrared heaters: quartz, ceramic, and metal-sheathed. These industrial electric heaters deliver electromagnetic infrared radiation in short, medium or long wavelengths and offer 1300-1600° F capabilities. Heat-up times vary by heater type. Materials, such as plastics, organic substances and water, absorb infrared energy with greater efficiency than other materials used in industrial processing. Infrared heating equipment reaches a desired operating temperature rapidly for enhanced efficiency. All three have different characteristics and potential applications.
Quartz heaters are capable of achieving the highest temperatures. Ceramic heaters are the most affordable. Metal-sheathed heaters are the most durable. See below for a more in-depth look at the similarities and differences of the three types of infrared heaters.
Quartz Infrared Heaters
Choose a quartz infrared heater for instantaneous heating and short-to-medium electromagnetic waves. Quartz heaters use short wavelengths to provide rapid, intense heat in a controlled environment. If you need a small heater that is capable of heating up to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, quartz is the option for you.
As the hottest infrared heater design, quartz heaters are best when used in high-heat applications. They aren’t suitable for slow, long-term heating options such as heating large spaces. Choose either a quartz lamp or tube and compare single or twin tube options to find the ideal heating solution.
Ceramic Infrared Heaters
Ceramic heating comes in two basic options: ceramic infrared heaters and ceramic radiant heat panels. Choose ceramic if you need affordable, broad heating options for heating an entire room or small area. Like other electric heating solutions, ceramic infrared heaters don’t require any pipes, ductwork or ventilation.
Compared to quartz heaters, ceramic heaters are a far more affordable alternative. It can take up to five minutes for your ceramic heater to heat up to full temperature, but they are easy to replace and inexpensive options for many air heating needs.
Metal-Sheathed Infrared Heaters
For rugged heating requirements, choose metal sheathed infrared heaters. Metal sheathing protects your heating element from damage as it heats up the surrounding air or liquid.
Just like ceramic, metal sheathed heaters require additional time to heat up to full temperature, but they are more protected from damage or interference than other heating options.
Metal sheathed heaters are ideal for submerged heating systems or for heating high-traffic rooms and work areas. Once it heats up to its full temperature, metal sheathed heaters are effective at heating a room or a liquid to most temperature requirements. A stainless steel sheathed heater can reach face temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
A metal sheathed radiant panel heater can include a protective coat to avoid corrosion or other contamination. This feature is essential for submersible heating applications.
If you require radiant heat, a metal sheath protects your heater from accidental damage from flying debris or transporting objects around your facility. We’ll work with you to identify the exact size and wattage specifications for your heating application.
Infrared Radiant Heaters with Precision Control
Valuable radiant heating solutions begin with infrared radiant heaters from leading manufacturers, including Watlow. This trusted manufacturer’s RayMax radiant panel heaters generate electromagnetic waves that are absorbed and converted to heat through high efficiency designs.
Uniform heating is achieved with industrial electric heaters that are precisely controlled. With stainless steel construction, they can offer maximum operating temperatures of up to 2000°F (1095°C). Radiant panel heaters meet an array of industrial demands and can be customized to exact temperature and watt density requirements.
Industrial infrared heaters have many potential applications. They are perhaps best known for heating industrial spaces. These heaters are roughly 40 to 50% more energy-efficient than other heating appliances, and will help you save money in the long run.
One of the less well-known applications of infrared heaters is heating liquids. Metal-sheathed heaters are the only type of heater that can take on this challenging job. Metal-sheathed heaters are often used to heat water, but they can also heat corrosive liquids, as well as acid or alkaline solutions.
While infrared heaters first became popular for heating spaces, they are increasingly being used to heat objects. Quartz heaters are often used for these applications because of their high operating temperatures, quick warm-up times, and small size. Many food processing companies use quartz heaters to heat up food.
Additionally, many medical companies now even use quartz heaters to heat up blood, which can separate platelets and blood cells.
Lastly, some automotive manufacturers are now making use of specialized infrared heaters to cure the epoxy that binds the components of their vehicles.
Industrial infrared heaters have many uses—the real challenge is finding the right one for your specific application.
How to Choose Between IR Heaters
Choosing between IR heaters may seem overwhelming at first, as the different types of infrared heaters have similar characteristics.
When choosing an IR heater, you should consider its price, the application you need it for, and any size constraints.
If you are looking for the most affordable type of infrared heater, a ceramic heater is your best bet. Ceramic heaters are good for most space heating applications, but they are not ideal for certain specialized applications (e.g. heating up objects versus an area).
You should opt for a metal-sheathed heater if you need a heating unit that can be submerged in liquid.
If you need the most powerful heating solution possible, double tube quartz heaters are best for your application. However, you should keep in mind that single tube heaters quartz have a longer service life.
Find the precise industrial heater design you need to restore your industrial process or improve your production line. At Hi-Watt, we specialize in leading electric infrared heaters to provide efficient heat for a variety of uses. Compare these basic heater types to discover the most effective solution for your heating needs.
Custom Heating Solutions
If you don’t see an electric heater option that fits your specifications, ask about custom heater designs. Our team at Hi-Watt can fabricate heaters using a range of materials and expert designs. Choose a carbon steel, aluminum or stainless steel design and work with our team to create a submersible or radiant heater for your exact industrial needs.
A custom heater offers the same rugged dependability and extended service life of our name-brand heaters. Because your custom heater is manufactured by our team, we can easily provide any maintenance or emergency repair needs with affordable parts.
Custom heating designs are flexible enough to handle your particular industrial need. Our electric infrared heaters work with a range of industries and provide reliable, consistent heat for heating rooms or for use with industrial applications. Don’t settle for generic, expensive heating systems, but invest in a heater tailored to your company and your industrial process.
Find the Right Heater With Hi-Watt, Inc.
Compare industrial electric heaters and discuss your heating needs with our team today. Contact us at Hi-Watt to learn more about radiant heat options, custom heater designs or industrial heater repair services. We offer industry-leading options at affordable rates to keep your business moving forward.
Hi-Watt is Michigan’s leading distributor of heating systems. Established over four decades ago, clients continue to trust us with their industrial heating solutions. If you’re not sure what type of infrared heater is best for your business or applications, call (855) 467-5628 or fill out our online form, and a member of our team will get back with you as soon as possible.