Induction heating does not require open flames or physical contact. Instead, hot air, radiant heat, or a hot soldering iron are employed, which is why it’s considered an environmentally sound industrial practice. As a result, heating remains constant, unaffected by variables like contact resistance or changes in heat transfer rates due to changing surface conditions. The magnetic field does not affect materials that are non-conductive, such as plastics or ceramics, and can be placed close together with the heating area without harm. All this makes induction heating a superior option to open flame heating and is more cost effective.
How Induction Heating Works?
Induction heating applies electromagnetic induction to conductive materials, like steel, copper, silver, and gold. Coils create electromagnetic fields that cycle through the metal at varying frequencies. Sometimes multiple coils cast multiple fields, creating interconnected eddies of electromagnetism. The rapid cycling of the fields builds up heat inside the material until the integrity of the material fails, and heat build-up changes the properties of the metal.
Steel hardens. Gold melts. Copper pipes adhere to one another. That’s how induction heating works.
Because induction heating is a clean and non-contact process, manufacturers can use it in a vacuum or inert atmosphere. The core benefit is significantly greater energy and material efficiency and a higher degree of safety compared with other methods.
The concentrated, controlled heat of an induction heating manufacturing process is simple. With induction, the part to be heated is never directly exposed to flames or another heating element. This contactless process heats an electrically conductive metal and generates electric currents inside the metal using the principles of electromagnetic induction. Circulating eddy current flows against the electric resistivity of the metal part, producing accurate and localized heat without any direct contact between the part and inductor. The current flow combined with the resistance properties of a conducting part results in the heat production inside the part itself, with no thermal inertia, and without any loss in conduction. Induction is a perfect solution for this process, as induction makes it possible to have uniform and accurate heating.
The proper heating pattern is achieved by shaping a coil in a particular shape based on testing and the customer’s needs. As a result, heat is uniform from cycle to cycle and piece to piece. In addition, variations in input energy are compensated for automatically.
Several material properties influence induction heating performance, the two most crucial being electrical resistance and relative magnetic permeability. In addition, factors such as workpiece geometry and materials, the electrical frequencies used to heat, process temperatures, and manufacturing requirements all affect the process.
A well-designed induction heating process considers the heat-generating material’s properties, including its resistance, permeability (magnetic properties), part geometry, mass, and required heat-up rates. The characteristics of the induction device are then selected to meet heating requirements. In addition, operating frequency, rated capacity, powerhead configuration, energy density, and total efficiency is considered.
Industrial Induction Heating
There are many industries to which induction heating is applicable. For example, in the energy and environmental industries, induction has proven to be beneficial. It’s used within the renewable energy industry in windmill and solar panel production. In addition, induction is used in many nuclear energy-related processes. The packaging industry uses induction heating technology for efficient, reproducible, non-contact cap sealing. Appliances and HVAC manufacturers have in recent years moved toward induction welding. Induction Brazing is the perfect solution for large volumes of repeated joins. Our equipment provides instantaneous, steady, constant heating under fine controls, without the presence of open flames, which leads to increased safety and reduced environmental impacts.
FOCO has years of experience providing induction solutions for large manufacturers within these industries. Our team has expertise developing custom systems to integrate on existing production lines, as well as being capable of developing new, turnkey systems.
Applications for Different Types of Heating
Hardens steel parts. Most automotive part casings go through induction hardening and tools like axes and shovels. Read More
Joins two pieces of metal together. For example, copper pipes and fitting are heated by brazing during manufacturing until the outside metals fuse. Read More
Melts metal to precise temperatures. Gold, silver, and copper used in jewelry, circuit board, and other manufacturing is melted to the desired temperature to prevent the loss of alloys. Read More
The metal billet is induction heated prior to the forging process so that it is easily deformed. Read More
Increases the flexibility of metal. Induction annealing is used to heat aluminum and steel tubing for coiling. Read More
Induction Heating Decision
Once you have all the costs in mind, induction heating is usually the best and more cost-effective heating alternative in the long run. Energy is directed to the only parts that need heating and has a much higher efficiency rating than fossil fuels or radiant heating systems. In addition, little heating time is required, tanks do not need to be changed, and heat is left on when parts are not present.
When the heating operations are consistent, the probability of failure is vastly reduced, allowing companies to meet productivity and sustainability goals using a proven technology with a bright future—a better way to generate heat and contribute to a better world.