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Engineer Talk

by Roland Morales

At Tutco-Farnam the majority of our custom designed heaters use mica board machined to meet the customer’s specifications. A variety of types and thicknesses of mica are available and are selected for use based on the parameters required. Design variations using mica are virtually endless and can be customized to fit most applications.

by Jared McPherson

At Tutco-Farnam Custom Products, we manufacture many different types of heating products. These heaters are used in all sorts of applications. One of our standard heaters is the Cool Touch 200 (CT200). These Cool Touch heaters are part of the Heat Torch family, which are offered in a variety of ...

by Jerry G. Sain

As you can tell, there are many variables to consider in the design of a heater coil. The goal is to balance all of these factors and to select the coiling parameters best suited to the application. As our customer, you can leave all of this to us. Heaters are our business, so we have the know-how and experience to produce the best.

by Dexter Diepholz

​For a typical convection air heating application, the air temperature and the volumetric air flow entering the heating element, and the power produced by the element are known or can be specified. The desired air temperature out of the heating element is achieved by commonly adjusting the power and/or the air flow.

by Jerry Sain

​As the name suggests, a surface heater is a device that raises the temperature of a surface. Now in the world of heaters, surface heaters aren't really very sexy - they often consist of little more than a few pieces of mica and some wire. But throw in a thermocouple or a diode and some creative geometry, and they can get down-right interesting.

by Kevin Green

​Grounding is often treated as an afterthought, but not all grounds or ground connections are the same. Too often we just assume that any ground connection will be a ‘good’ one. Grounding a device generally serves two purposes. The first is to provide a safe path for current flow in the event of a short circuit. The second is to provide a true “zero voltage” reference for the circuit.

by Dexter Diepholz

The majority of Tutco – Farnam Custom Product’s heaters are used to heat an air flow. When determining the power required to heat a stream of air, invariably two questions will come up.

by Patrick Laws

Once process equipment is designed and placed into service, the importance of each individual component is frequently forgotten. Unfortunately, heaters often find themselves in this situation until there is a failure. Since heaters usually play an integral role within the application, any failure can rapidly expand to a major issue or shutdown. The good news…many of these disasters can be avoided by increasing the mean time between failures!

by Adam Berlet

Thermodynamics, specifically heat transfer, is used throughout our daily lives, but not always thought of.  A common practice of cooking breakfast would be one simple example.

by Shawn Gibbs

​When designing an electric heating system for industrial processes, many factors must be addressed. These factors routinely include required power, location, ducting, air source and controls, but circuit protection is often overlooked.  Proper circuit protection is of utmost importance not only for safety, but also to avoid costly down time and repairs to the system.  Electrical branch type and size of protection are important considerations when adding circuit protection to a heating system.  Depending on the type of controls employed speed of operation can also be a factor.

by Jerry Sain

As the name implies, duct heaters are generally designed to be installed into ducting. They are usually installed through the side wall to cause air in the duct to he heated as it flows around and through the open-coil elements. Duct heaters made by Farnam are not for HVAC use. They are for industrial type applications and are not built to the standards required for the typical residential HVAC. For HVAC applications go to

by Dennis White

In the heating industry we are often asked what is the difference between a distributed wattage heater and a zoned heater. These various construction techniques can be applied to many different types of conduction heaters such as cartridges, ceramic and mica strips, and band heaters. Almost any heater that uses a wound coil can use one of these construction methods of controlling watt density. Before beginning, some definitions should be discussed.

by Kevin Green

Sometimes, when all the design work is done, the heating element is too fragile for either the assembly process, or field operation. This can occur when making a low wattage heater that uses a high voltage.

by Ian Renwick

By following a few rules-of-thumb you can determine the wattage requirement for your application.

Calculating the wattage requirements to heat a system is a straightforward process as long as all the parameters of heat energy flowing in and out of a system are considered. Heat requirements that must be considered are:

  • Initial heat for startup of the system, usually from an ambient temperature to a desired processing temperature.
  • Heat losses to the environment due to conduction, convection and radiation.
  • Heating of material being processed during operation.
  • Heating of material flowing through the process such as a liquid that will be heated and pumped to be used elsewhere.
  • Losses due to phase changes of materials, either during initial heatup or while processing (melting a solid to a liquid or boiling a liquid to a gas).

by Dexter Diepholz

Watt density is a useful measure when considering the various types of heating elements available. Tutco-Farnam Custom Products manufactures open coil elements which are generally used to heat a gas flow, such as air or nitrogen.