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Cartridge Heaters: Basics and Operation Format

August 10, 2021
by Gordo Sales Team

Heating is a process that's required across numerous industries, and several different types of industrial heaters will be used for this process. One of the most common and well-known is the cartridge heater, which is used across metal, plastic and even immersion heating applications.

At Gordo Sales, we're happy to offer a wide range of cartridge heaters among our many process heating elements, serving several industries with these valuable products. What exactly are cartridge heaters, how do they work, and why are they preferred over other industrial heating types in many settings? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.

cartridge heaters basics operation

What is a Cartridge Heater?

Cartridge heaters refer to a variety of heaters that are shaped like a cartridge, or a tube in many cases. Typical industrial heating elements, on the other hand, will take on a more cylindrical shape that is very solid and has no openings. Heating element cartridges, however, have a hollow core that you can insert special materials into for conducting thermal energy (heat).

The shape and empty space help to make the cartridge heater compact, lightweight and easy for you to install in your application. For example, a heating element cartridge heater is much easier to carry around if it's meant for portable use as compared with a large solid metal base heater that can weigh up to 50 lbs (22 kg).

How Cartridge Heaters Work

Within the cartridge heater is a resistance coil, which is wound around a dielectric ceramic core and then even further encased in a metal sheet. From here, AC current is used to power the heater, heating up the resistance coil and transferring this energy to the metal sheath and then surrounding parts. This process is known as conduction, and is highly efficient compared to other styles.

Our next few sections will go over some of the reasons cartridge heating is preferred over alternatives in many industries.

Compact Setup

Maybe the single largest benefit of the cartridge heater compared to other types is how small and compact it is. Compared to a cylindrical heater, for instance, this style can save you a lot of space in your application -- not only in equipment itself, but also on your work table or floor.

Due to the smaller footprint that comes along with using cartridge heaters, you will be able to fit more of these units into one area. For example, you could have two heating elements in a small office space that would normally only fit one if they were cylindrical. For any metalworking shops, plumbing workspaces, and other settings where you're limited on space, this is a huge benefit!

For more on why and how cartridge heaters are used, or to learn about any of our process heating or industrial heating equipment, speak to the staff at Gordo Sales today.

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