Evaporator Heater for Vending Enclosure
We have a customer that makes air conditioners for product vending enclosures. These A/C units drip water. When evaporation doesn't happen quickly enough the drip tray overflows and the enclosure leaks water on the floor. This project had many tough requirements and no takers. Tutco-Farnam stepped up to the challenge.
Project and Challenges
The intention of the heater is to expedite the evaporation of condensate in the drip tray, preventing an overflow of water. This project required a heater (including the entire assembly) that would fit into a very tight location within the tray.
The heater will be sitting in water and needs to be submersible, which also means we can’t use any fiberglass in our silicone. The drip tray is not always filled with water though. When empty the evaporator heater is going to get very hot. Some method of temperature regulation would be required. Because of the small space there is no room for a sensor to tie back into the control system. We couldn’t even put a thermocouple for feedback.
Solutions and Their Impact
Tutco-Farnam came back to the client with a custom flexible waterproof heater. We bonded raw silicone rubber (no fiberglass) and sealed the edges to ensure it is submersible. We put a PTC thermistor on the surface of the heater with a cut-off switching temperature and PSA on the bottom for easy installation.
Now we’ve got a small self-regulating silicone rubber heater that will switch itself off if it gets too hot. Our heater fits into a tiny space and helps the water to evaporate fast. In the field, a technician is easily able to install the heater. No more water running on the floor and the heater never gets too hot.