Preserving food safety and hygiene: Process heaters for the food industry

13 December 2019 (Last Updated December 13th, 2019 09:51)

Controlled, even heat transfer is essential for regulated temperatures when working with water, oils and solvents, as well as the ability to maintain safe temperatures when storing or transporting food.  

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Preserving food safety and hygiene: Process heaters for the food industry
Process heaters directly heat liquids as they pass through the appliance. Photo by NavinTar on Shutterstock.

Controlled, even heat transfer is essential for regulated temperatures when working with water, oils and solvents, as well as the ability to maintain safe temperatures when storing or transporting food.

There are a number of heating solutions available to the food industry that meet the specific requirements for food safety regulations. Process heaters, thermal fluid heaters, water heaters, vaporisers and steam generators are all used across the industry.

What is a process heater?

Process heaters directly heat liquids as they pass through the appliance. The product makes contact with hot pipe surfaces, the temperature of which is externally controlled.

There are a number of different systems and techniques for distributing heat, including electric currents, convection air, direct fire or water. Depending on the applications, process heaters may use serpentine coils, helical coils or fire tubes.

Electric process heaters

Electric circulation heaters are used to directly heat liquids or gases for a number of manufacturing and processing industries, including food applications. They offer high thermal efficiency, have a small footprint and are low maintenance.

Heat is generated in the appliance’s chamber using an electrical current that flows through sheaved resistive elements. When gas or liquid passes through the heater, it comes into direct contact with the surface of the hot resistive elements. A semi-conductor-controlled rectifier is used to control the temperature.

Heatec manufactures tailor-made electric process heaters. The highly thermal efficient heaters are customised regarding watt density (the surface area of heating elements), electrical power configuration and construction material. They feature baffles in the chamber for turbulent flow, insulation to reduce heat loss, a cool section and an SCR control panel.

Convection heaters

Surfaces can also be heated using air convection currents. Material is heated when it flows through the appliance and makes directed contact with the hot surfaces.

Air convection currents continuously circulate a system as heated air molecules rise and displace cooler molecules. When air temperature molecules are pushed down near the heating element the cycle continues.

Heatec’s Convectec brand ensures controlled temperatures as heated surfaces cannot exceed 5F. Output can range between two and 100 million Btu/Hour. They are utilised by a number of industries, from oil and gas to food production.

Heatec

Heatec manufactures heaters, tanks and related products for a range of industries, from oil and gas to food production and pharmaceuticals. It also supplies replacement parts and field supports for its products.