Blog | February 14th, 2018

How FLX Self Regulating Heater Cable Works

How FLX Self Regulating Heater Cable Works

Cables carry electricity. If they’re not conducting power, they’re supporting a load or retaining something. Just to mix things up a little, FLX self-regulating heater cables shy away from both of these applications. As the title implies, this type of stranded wiring is designed to emit thermal energy, which makes the product an ideal match for the coolroom industry. That being said, how do these self-regulating strands work?

An introduction to Basic Electrical Principles 

What if we designed a circuit that was built to make heat? Well, it turns out this electrical part has been around for a long time. Look at the electrical elements on a common cooker. These are resistive wires. Coated with a copper sheath and a fine layer of magnesium oxide powder, coiled electrical elements glow red hot when they cook and boil things. An FLX self-regulating cable uses this same principle, but the emitted heat is meant only for freeze protection, not cooking.

Designing A Freeze Protection Solution 

A cable coils around a pipe. It’s hooked into the power supply, but the current flowing in the line is slight. Used in a walk-in freezer, the resistive energy produces a slender 10°C heat envelope around the strands, so all nearby contact surfaces retain an above zero temperature level. Remember, the sudden entrance of warm outdoor air, perhaps due to a door opening, tends to cause icy sticking. The air melts the ice, it hardens when the door closes, and it refuses to open the next time someone needs entrance into the freezer. By mounting FLX self-regulating cabling around the door frame, this ice sticking problem is solved.

Where’s Does The Self-Regulating Feature Enter? 

Electrical principles regulate the wire. Inside that wire, twin cables are separated by a special plastic core. If the ambient temperature drops, the special plastic conducts more efficiently. Then, if the outside temperature rises, the plastic becomes an insulator. It’s a clever trick, one that ensures this heating cable can control its output without requiring the services of a bulky circuit thermostat.

Five layers of self-regulating wires and insulation shape FLX heating cables. An outer layer of plastic covers a metal braid. Under that woven copper, there’s another jacket of plastic insulation. Below these flexible layers, the real heating magic exists. It’s in here that the insulating plastic core and twin rail wires produce just enough self-regulating heat to stop a freezer door from jamming. Used in pipes, underfloor conduits, and more, this self-limiting feature makes the simple cabling a desirable freeze protection accessory.

Mark Connelly
C&M Coolroom Services
E-mail: markconnelly@cmcoolrooms.com.au
Mobile: 0412 536 315

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