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Induction heating is a manufacturing process normally used to bond, harden or soften conductive metals. The advantages of induction heating - speed, accuracy, repeatability and economy - often make it the preferred choice for brazing, soldering, heat treating, bonding and many other applications.
With most other heating methods, an open flame is directly applied to the part. Time and temperature are often difficult to control. Induction heating is non-contact; heat is "induced" within the part itself by circulating electrical currents. There is no product contamination because the part never comes into contact with the heat source.
In a basic induction heating setup, a solid state RF power supply sends an AC current through a copper coil, and the part to be heated is placed inside the coil. When a metal part is placed within the coil and enters the magnetic field, circulating eddy currents are induced within the part. These currents flow against the electrical resistivity of the metal, generating precisely localized heat.
A basic induction heating system includes the power supply and induction coil. Some type of cooling mechanism is also required to remove waste heat from the system. Normally a water chiller or heat exchanger is used, but some power supplies utilize forced air cooling. #017
Power supplies and complete turnkey induction systems are available from a wide variety of manufacturers at various power levels. Small 1-2kW models effectively heat small parts; larger parts generally require more power, which increases the size, weight and cost. The power supply's operating frequency can range from 3kHz to 60MHz; Low frequencies in the 3 to 50kHz range are most effective for heating larger parts which require deep heat penetration. Relatively higher frequencies, up to 450 kHz, are more effective for smaller parts.
Fairview Coil Fabrication has worked with a wide variety of systems from many leading manufacturers. We'll be happy to provide you with an unbiased system recommendation - just let us know your application and process requirements and we'll give you our best advice.
Coil design is one of the most important aspects of an induction system. A well-designed coil provides easy part handling, maintains the proper heating pattern and maximizes the efficiency of the induction heating power supply.
Induction coils are normally made of copper tubing - an extremely good conductor of heat and electricity - with internal diameters ranging from under 0.10" to over 5'. Coils are usually cooled by circulating water, and are most often custom-made to fit the shape and size of the part to be heated. So coils can have single or multiple turns; have a helical, round or square shape; or be designed as internal (part inside coil) or external (part adjacent to coil).