Heaters are one of the primary products that we sell to our clients; we design different types of heaters such as band heaters, cartridge heaters, tubular heaters, immersion heaters and other types depending on the needs of our customer.
Acrolab was asked to develop a multi-zone split heater (3 zones) and capable of operating at a temperature of 700°C. This style of heater was not available from any of the existing heater manufacturers.
Based on test results, the heaters were not operating in an optimized manner and Acrolab was contracted to solve the problem.
Split Heaters Are Not Normally Multi-Zoned
Due to several limitations in the manufacturing process, split heaters are neither designed to be multi-zoned nor are they capable of operating at 700°C. This new multi-zone design would be both a challenge to manufacture and achieve an operating temperature of 700°C. It was anticipated that the maximum operating temperature required for the heater would be a limitation with this new design. Based on our experience we knew that there would be a high potential for heater failure with a multi-zoned design.
Engineering Team on the Project – Overcoming Issues
After receiving the request from the customer the engineering team at Acrolab met to discuss a concept design that could potentially be manufactured. The concept design was approved by the customer and an initial set of heaters were manufactured to be sent to the costumer for their prototype tool run.
Even though all heater diameter and radius measurements met tolerance on the initial build, there was an unanticipated fitment issue as a result of the customer’s drilling practices and capabilities. This issue was recorded in the report for future references, a jig was made to match the drilling hole size, and the customer was able to test the heaters individually.
When the client tested the second build there were issues related to the short-circuiting of the heaters, and the design was revised and the wattages were adjusted accordingly.
Acrolab’s engineering team came up with a new design which provided for two different solutions, these designs were provided to a manufacturer and the sample heaters were built and shipped to Acrolab for validation testing.
Testing Lead to Confirmation
The testing confirmed that our design was feasible but that there were still limitations to building multi-zone, high temperature split heaters. The main limitation based on our testing results was that even though we could manufacture a multi-zone split heater, the maximum operating temperature could not achieve 700°C.
The heaters were tested and we confirmed that the multi-zone design was effective with respect to wattage distribution, however operating temperature was limited. We provided additional design recommendations to the customer based on the test results as well as alternate solutions to assist in their application.