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Innovation drives US heat work

08 July, 2015

Our colleagues at Weco International have truly been making hay since our successful joint outing together at the record breaking NPE show in Orlando, Florida, March 2015.

Some new Weco blood has been taking the Ceramicx infrared heating message out to American industry. New clam shell infrared ovens for shrink heating, new customer testing facilities at Weco; new studies showing great savings with IR heat sources – these are all helping to galvanise US manufacturing and boost sales.

Niche is increasingly key in sales and marketing and Weco’s niche focus – on automotive; on plastics thermoformers and polymer extruders – is paying off.

For us at Ceramicx, the US still retains its place as the world’s leading test bed for new ideas and new products. This is particularly true of much of the applications engineering work that we do for the US market. And now - with our new Herschel test instrument making great strides in all kinds of polymer product heat testing – the door is open for all kinds of further innovation.

One area that is looking ripe for revisiting is that of plastics to metal bonding: An IR heat source makes a quantum world of difference to this process. And with our Herschel test machine at the ready we can map out and demonstrate exactly how.

Both Weco and Ceramicx recently joined forces, for example, in deploying advanced IR heating technology for a leading US based manufacturer of high quality fittings for the global pipe industries.

The Herschel will allow us to take this technology one step further. In the original work, IR heat was used to effectively weld two materials together and to help reduce the customer scrap count within its current heating system for plastic to metal bonding.

Good flange production requires a heating source that will prep the surface in order to ensure a good fusion bond of both the billet and mandrel.  The new heating system therefore needed to be easily used within the company’s present equipment set-up and the heating system also needed to be able to enhance the production and quality of the existing product.

Custom-made solutions were devised when it became clear that an IR solution was needed in order to most effectively achieve the fusion/adhesion of the HDPE plastic to the mandrel/billet and to also develop an efficient mandrel preheat system.

As a result of discussions two systems were proposed:  A billet heating system and a mandrel heating system. The control system was designed as closed loop, with a single IR thermometer in order to provide optimum HDPE surface temperature for proper fusion.

Weco and Ceramicx firstly designed, manufactured and installed the billet system. The customer successfully ran the ceramic heaters on the smaller size billets currently in production and was pleased with the results.

The customer mandrel heating system now provides adequate energy/heat to the mandrel in order for proper and fail safe adhesion of the HDPE materials.

The success of the billet system now lays the ground for a successful installation of the mandrel system.

The project proves that IR heating solutions deliver cost-saving, accurate and targeted heat sources in the service of customer needs.

Post NPE 2015 and the expanded Ceramicx/Weco partnership is moving out into the US market, communicating these successes to the marketplace. In this way Infrared heating is shown to be a clear boost to the profitability of our customers.

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