An infrared heater is a type of heater that emits infrared heat in the form of waves across a band of medium and long wavelengths. These heaters are designed to heat materials using radiant heat transfer. The material that is to be heated absorbs part of the heat energy and reflects the rest of it. The absorbed energy heats up the product or material. The infrared heater also uses reflective shields to direct the radiated energy onto the product with considerable accuracy. Electromagnetic energy can be directed into specific patterns by reflectors for use in a wide range of applications.
Energy efficiency is generally stated as the ratio between the amount of energy produced and used versus the amount of energy which actually goes into the product. In an electric infrared heater element nearly 60 percent of the energy ends up in the product. In a standard convection heater element is approximately 20 percent. A benefit of infrared heat is that it heats the object, not the air. This makes infrared heaters more efficient and quicker than conventional convection type heating. The heat energy that is generated by the infrared source is transferred straight to the object. Convection heating transfers the energy to the air first before going to the object.
Infrared heaters enable manufacturers to have precise control over their processes because the voltage to an infrared heater can be varied. By varying the voltage, you can control the amount of energy that is directed at and absorbed by an object. This lets you make sure the products reach and maintain the proper temperature and/or dryness levels. You can control this either manually or automatically and it gives you a better level of quality control than conventional methods.
A vast majority of infrared heaters that are used for industrial applications use the infrared portion of the electromagnetic spectrum – between 1 and 10 microns. Infrared heating is efficient for many types of industrial processes such as pre-drying of the material, drying, curing, heat setting, glass annealing and thermal bonding. The high levels of energy efficiency and low power and fuel costs have made this mode of heating very popular. Important parameters to be considered in an infrared heater are the maximum operating temperature, the maximum AC voltage and the watt density.