In this month's issue, we bring you articles that offer practical solutions and straightforward answers about flexible heaters, temperature dataloggers, infrared heating and other topics.

In “Using Flexible Heaters,” Michael Zak of Thermion Systems International, Stratford, Conn., notes that flexible heaters have been used in an array of niche products and applications for many years. They can be found in consumer appliances, electronics, medical diagnostic equipment, agricultural products, automotive, military applications, semiconductor and industrial processing. If you think a flexible heater might solve your challenging heating application, Zak suggests as your starting point, always determine the maximum operating temperature for your application and select a heater that matches it. As with most products, overengineered components can increase the cost of the final product and reduce sales margins.

“Food-Grade Logger Optimizes Process” explains how a temperature datalogger is used at National Raisin, Fowler, Calif., for temperature verification during various process steps. Dataloggers, which have long been used in food processing plants for ambient temperature monitoring and climate control systems troubleshooting, are now becoming a more integral part of the process itself.

In “Taking the Mystery out of Infrared Heating,” Douglas Canfield and Frank Lu of Casso-Solar Corp., Pomona, N.Y., provide 10 tips that can help you answer your questions about radiant heating and help you determine whether it is right for your process.

Good operating practices with thermal fluids are the focus of “Heat Transfer Fluids Do's and Don'ts.” Heat transfer fluids (also known as hot oils or thermal liquids) are manufactured from highly refined petroleum, synthetically formulated hydrocarbons or siloxanes (silicone). Able to provide high temperatures at very low system pressures, heat transfer fluids offer safety, low maintenance and extended operating lifetimes as major benefits.

Columnist Dick Bennett looks at the “correct” process temperature in “What Temperature Is It, Really?” Bennett notes that the correct process temperature is what we perceive it to be. The relationship between surface and core temperatures will vary widely, depending on the thermal properties of the load, its dimensions and whether it contains moisture or solvents that have to be driven off.

In “What's That Process? Part 3,” columnist Darren A. Traub tackles extrusion, the process of forming a material into a predefined shape under pressure and commonly at elevated temperatures. While this is a simple definition of the process, extrusion and its many forms are quite complex. Not only that, but Traub notes that extrusion is used in such a variety of industries, forming so many differing products under such diverse conditions, that one definition hardly fits.

Finally, in “Reducing Your Oven's Hazards, Part 2,” Ted Jablkowski, P.E., of North American Mfg. Co. Ltd., Cleveland, concludes his over-view of key points of the requirements for safety-shutoff valves in combustion systems.

Linda Becker
Associate Publisher & Editor