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Flexible Heater Overview

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Flexible heaters are just that…heaters designed to be flexible enough to accommodate tight areas and intricate geometries that need heating properties. These highly-customized heaters are engineered specifically to meet your specific requirements. They’re thin, bendable, and can be designed using the most complex shapes, geometries, and curves to fit almost any type of application.

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Flexible Heater Overview

  1. 1. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability Flexible Heater Overview What They Are, Different Types, and Where Are They Used
  2. 2. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 2 Introduction to Flexible Heaters  Flexible heaters are just that…heaters designed to be flexible enough to accommodate tight areas and intricate geometries that need heating properties.  These highly-customized heaters are engineered specifically to meet your specific requirements.  They’re thin, bendable, and can be designed using the most complex shapes, geometries, and curves to fit almost any type of application.
  3. 3. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 3 Introduction to Flexible Heaters  Flexible heaters have excellent heat transfer properties, have the ability to be directly bonded to areas needing heat, provide quick optimum temperatures, uniform heat distribution, and high-watt densities without sacrificing efficiency or dependability.  There are multiple types of flex heaters, but this presentation will focus on the 2 most prevalent, silicone heaters and polyimide heaters.
  4. 4. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 4 Silicone Rubber Heater  Silicone rubber vulcanized around a wire wound element, or an etched foil element.  Can be designed to exact shape and size needed.  Thin construction allows application fit in limited spacing.  Moisture and chemical resistant to provide longer heater life.  Heat transfer is rapid and efficient.  Decreased wattage requirements compared to conventional heaters.
  5. 5. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 5 Polyimide Heaters  Polyimide material laminated around an etched foil element.  Thin construction allows application fit in limited spacing.  Excellent tensile strength, tear resistance, and dimension stability.  Resistance to fungus and chemicals.  Solvent resistant.  Offers thermal stability over a wide temperature range.
  6. 6. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 6 Heater Specifications Silicone Rubber Heaters Polyimide Heaters Sizes from 1”x1” to 18”x24” 1”x1” to 12”x12” Min/Max operating temperature -70˚F to 392˚F (FEP) -319˚F to 392˚F. (FEP) Nominal thickness .030” .007” Maximum resistance density 200Ω/in² 450Ω/in² Maximum watt density 60W/in² 50W/in²
  7. 7. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 7 What is Watt Density?  Watt Density equals heat flux. The amount of heat (watts) per unit area (in²).  It’s expressed in watts per square inch of heater surface, and determines the heater's operating temperature for a given set of conditions.  Low Watt Density -- If the watt density is too low the heater operating cost will be high – Poor efficiency  High Watt Density -- If watt density is too high this could cause the heater to fail, cause damage to the material being heated, or the element may burn out. – Poor life Tip: When in doubt between two watt density choices, choose the lower one.
  8. 8. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 8 Low Watt Density 2W/sq’’ 4W/sq’’  Longer Heater Life  Higher Price to Operate
  9. 9. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 9 High Watt Density 8W/sq’’ 16W/sq’’  Shorter Heater Life  Cheaper to Operate
  10. 10. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 10 Types of Heater Elements Design – Wire Wound  Unlike etched foil element, there is no restriction on overall size.  Wire is high resistivity and usually made of a nickel chromium alloy.  Thicker and has reduced watt densities compared to etched foils.
  11. 11. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 11 Types of Heater Elements Design – Etched Foil  Rectangular cross section exposes more of the heating element to the contact surface, than wire wound.  Allows for thinner overall heater.  Size is restricted to “etched panel” size, typically 12”x12” (11”x11” actual foil element), or less. Slightly larger sizes can be reviewed for manufacturability.  Etched foil allows tighter spacing element, allowing for higher watt densities and higher temperature operation.  Multiple heat zones possible.
  12. 12. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 12 Types of Elements  Multiple metal and alloy options to meet desired total resistance and correlating wattage output based upon the voltage applied.  Wire wound elements are typically high resistance nickel chromium alloys or copper-nickel-manganese alloy.  Etched elements, high resistance options such as stainless steel 304 and Inconel 600 (Nickel Chromium alloy)  Medium resistance option such as CuNi44.  Low resistance options such as pure copper foil.
  13. 13. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 13 Mounting Methods  The most popular form of mounting for flexible heaters is pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA).  It should not be used for applications exceeding 400°F (205°C) on silicone rubber and 300°F (150°C) on polyimide.  Heaters with PSA should be stored no more than 6 months before installation.  Other forms of mounting include RTV silicone adhesives, rubber and nylon grommets, and Velcro fasteners.
  14. 14. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 14 Value Add Connectors and Designs 1. Application of connectors, such as Molex or Tyco. 2. Vulcanization to other materials such as aluminum, steel, etc. 3. Punch press capabilities for complex shapes. 4. PSA application for fixturing.
  15. 15. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 15 Certifications and Compliancies  Epec flexible heaters are UL and CE certified.  Certified under UL standard KSOT2 (Heaters, Specialty – Component)  Certified for UL, Canada  UL example = Manufacturing logo, heater type, manufacturing part #  If part is to have UL printed on it, it MUST be required at quote.  CE certified under EMC Directive 2014/30/EU  Epec flexible heaters are ROHS and REACH compliant.
  16. 16. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 16 Industry Applications  Medical: Blood warmers, dialysis units, heated bedding.  Automotive: Heated mirrors, heated batteries, heated gear boxes.  Industry: Heated solutions and chemistries, heated raw materials.  Consumer: Lithographs, aquarium equipment, lenses/video equipment.  Refrigeration: Condensing trays, fan rings and motors.
  17. 17. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 17 Q&A 1. What are the max/min operating temperatures for each heater type? – Silicone -70˚ F - 392˚ F (continuous use) FEP adhesive – Polyimide -319˚ F - 392˚ F (continuous use) FEP adhesive 2. What is the nominal thickness of the flex heaters? – Silicone is 0.056” for wire wound and .030” for etched foil – Polyimide is .007” (no PSA) 3. What are maximum watt densities? – Silicone is 60 W/in² Polyimide is 50 W/in² 4. What are lead times? – 20 days new part numbers, 15 days repeat orders, 15 days prototypes.
  18. 18. Manufacturing That Eliminates Risk & Improves Reliability 18 Thank You

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