What Are The Different Ways You Can Build an Industrial Hot Oil Heater?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at American Heating Company is: What are the different ways you can build an industrial hot oil heater?

As designers, engineers, and manufacturers of high quality industrial heating systems, we know a lot about how industrial thermal fluid heaters are built! Here, we’ll delve into the two main ways hot oil heaters are constructed.

Helical Coil Heaters- How Most Manufacturers Build Industrial Hot Oil Heaters

Typically, industrial hot oil heaters are built using a helical coil design. A typical helical coil design can be seen below:

Helical Coil Heater
Helical Coil Heater

Helical coils are wound tightly within the radiant section of the heater, designated with an A in the accompanying graphic. Heat is transferred through direct radiation occurring on the inside surface of the helical coil tubes.

In the convection section of the heater, designated with a B in the image, heat is transferred via convection. This occurs only on the outside surface of the helical coil tubes.

Because of their design, helical coil industrial hot oil heaters offer limited operation at fluid temperatures over 400°F. They also tend to have a higher level of fluid degradation than serpentine coil hot oil heaters because their stack temperatures can soar to over 800°F when in operation.

The coils in helical coil hot oil heaters are closely grouped together, giving them limited room for expansion as they heat up. Though they are commonly used in many industries and the standard for many manufacturers, helical coil hot oil heaters can be challenging to repair when something goes wrong.

Because of these inefficiencies, we don’t typically recommend helical coil heaters, we do offer them to customers who absolutely require them.

Learn more about the inefficiencies of helical coil heaters here.

Serpentine Coil Heaters- How American Heating Company Builds Industrial Hot Oil Heaters

While helical coil industrial hot oil heaters are the norm for most heater manufacturers in the industry (and we do offer them to those who require them), at American Heating Company our standard hot oil heaters are constructed using a serpentine coil design.

AHC Serpentine Coil Heater
AHC Serpentine Coil Heater

Unlike helical coils, serpentine coils are wound with space between the tubes, making them more effective and efficient when it comes to heat transfer in the radiant section. As you can see in section A of the image above, heat is transferred to the front, sides and back of the coils within a hot oil heater featuring a serpentine coil design – as opposed to just the inside surface as occurs in helical coil heaters.

Within the convection section, designated with a B, heat is transferred to a large surface area, allowing serpentine coil hot oil heaters to operate with lower stack temperatures and higher efficiency than helical coil heaters. As a result, hot oil heaters built this way have a lower level of fluid degradation and a longer tube life.

Serpentine coil heaters offer a number of key benefits and advantages, which is why at American Heating Company we’ve made serpentine coil hot oil heaters our standard and we highly encourage our customers to invest in this type of heater.

Learn more about the mechanical benefits serpentine coils heaters have over helical coils heaters.

More Information About Industrial Hot Oil Heater Designs

In the market for a new hot oil heater and interested in further exploring your options when it comes to hot oil heater designs? You’ve come to the right place!

With decades of experience engineering and manufacturing heaters for companies in a variety of industries, we have the knowledge and insight you’re looking for – and we’d be happy to share it with you.

Want more details on why you should consider a serpentine coil design for your next industrial hot oil heater?

Check out the following resources for more information:

Serpentine Coil Technology: How Our Innovative Coil Design Sets Our Thermal Fluid Heaters Apart – Learn about the differences between serpentine coil and helical coil heaters and find out why it’s advantageous to invest in hot oil heaters that utilize serpentine coil technology.

Key Features and Benefits of AHC’s Serpentine Coil Thermal Fluid Heaters – Find out what sets our serpentine coil heaters apart from the competition and why so many customers have trusted our equipment for decades.

Looking for pricing information? Request a quote online or give us a call at (973) 777-0100.