Why Cartridge Heaters Fail

By understanding the most common reasons cartridge heaters fail, users can take preventative steps in their applications to achieve optimum heater life and lower equipment ownership costs.

Improper Fit
The most common cause of cartridge heater failure is an improper fit in the hole into which it is inserted. If the heater cannot dissipate the heat being generated and produced by contact with the sheath, the temperature inside the heater will continue to rise until the heater fails.

Moisture and/or Impurities
The MGO used in cartridge heaters is hydroscopic. Every time power to electric heaters is eliminated, an internal vacuum occurs which draws in air from the surrounding area. If moisture or impurities (oil, gas, etc.) are present, they can be drawn in to the heater, and cause a short circuit resulting in a heater failure.

Watt Density is Too High
If the watts/square inch is excessive, the heater will not be able to dissipate the heat and the heater will fail.

Incorrect Voltage Applied
The wattage of any electric heater varies as the square of the voltage. If a 120 Volt heater is powered on 240 Volts, the wattage will be 4 times greater than that for the same 120 Volt heater. Under normal conditions, this may result in heater failure.

Frequent Temperature Cycling
Rapid cycling of heaters from very low to very high temperatures shortens their life considerably.

About BCE
BCE is a recognized leader in manufacturing and applying resistance heating elements in many industries, including medical, analytical, packaging, process, food equipment, and aerospace. BCE's extensive standard and custom product lines include:
  • Cartridge heaters
  • Immersion heaters - ideally suited for heating various liquids
  • Air process heaters - for providing hot air and gas up to 1,400 degrees
  • Stainless steel strip and thin strip heaters in various sizes
  • Self-contained one-piece assembly coil and rope heaters
  • Tubular and finned tubular heaters - specially built to resist impact, vibration corrosion and temperature extremes
  • Band heaters for a multitude of applications
  • Ceramic and crankcase heaters
For more information, visit http://heater.belilove.com or call (510) 274-1990.