Air Heater Retrofit for Ink Drying
We have a customer who makes high-performance ink drying equipment for commercial printing operations. Many of their units dry ink with hot air. The customer wasn’t happy with the tubular heaters they were using to heat the airflow.
Project and Challenges
Our customer makes air knives used to dry ink on a moving web. There can be a series of them that span a room on a single piece of drying equipment. Each air knife is roughly the size of a kitchen table. Within each air knife are tubular heating elements that directly heat the airflow. Each air knife has fixed dimensions within which to contain a heating source. The customer couldn’t pack enough wattage into the enclosure for some applications and the heating/cooling cycles were taking too long.
Solutions and Their Impact
Tutco-Farnam designed a custom heating coil assembly that provides a higher watt density within the air knife enclosure. Our coil assemblies expose more surface area to the airflow allowing us to pack more wattage in the same space.
The heat transfer from the heating element coil to the air is almost instantaneous. Tubular heaters are slower to heat up and cool down because the heat energy has to pass through an insulator and a sheath before it comes into contact with the air. Our new heating element assemblies heat up 75% faster.
The new design is also retrofittable offering easy field replacement. The maintenance person merely pulls the old tubular and installs the new open coil heating element. As an additional side benefit, the units now weighed half as much, making them easier and safer to move and install during production.