Process industry

Heating Applications in Industrial Process

Using heat to manufacture or create something is what industrial process heating is all about. Manufacturing processes consume a large amount of energy. In its simplest form, industrial process heating is the use of heat to manufacture or create something. The manufacturing sector’s energy consumption is widely driven by process heating operations. We’ll define industrial process heating, the industries that utilize them, and their requirements.

What is industrial process heating?

Process in which electrical energy is converted to heat thermal energy directly used in the preparation or treatment of materials used to produce, treat, or modify manufactured goods is referred to as an industrial process heating. An electric heater uses the joule heating principle to convert electrical energy into heat. Industry employs a diverse range of processes that make use of various types of heating systems. Process heating solutions are required for all industries. Process heating is used in a wide variety of industries like Automobile, Laboratory & Analytical Industry, Food Processing, Defense Industry, Packaging as well as Plastics industry, Chemical Industries, Oil and Gas industry, and many more.

Marathon Heater designs and manufactures process heating systems for heating applications in a wide range of industries that are customized to the requirements of each of our customers, ensuring efficiency, safety, and reliability as well.

Types of process heating

On the basis of the type of energy consumed, process heating can be categorized into four types: fuel-based, steam-based, electric-based, and hybrid systems (a combination of different energy types). Process heating involves one of three methods for heating a material by transferring heat from a heat source, namely conduction, convection, or radiation, or a combination of these methods.

  • Steam based: In order to accelerate heat transfer, steam-based heating systems inject steam into the process directly or indirectly through heat pipes or tubes that are in direct contact with the process fluid.
  • Fuel-based: These systems produce heat energy through the combustion of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels and then transfer that energy to fluids to be processed using direct or indirect heating.
  • Hybrid based: Hybrid-based heating systems generally involve a combination of different energy types for efficient heat transfer. It is opted for its higher efficiency as well as better production rate.
  • Electric based: Electric process heating systems also use direct and indirect methods for heat transfer. An electric heater that works on the joule heating principle converts electric current into heat in this process. In the direct method, electrical current is made to flow through the substance, where heat is generated due to resistance. Whereas conduction, convection, or radiation processes are used to transfer the heat in the indirect method. The most common uses for electric heating systems include melting, forming, drying, curing, and heating, etc. The temperature of liquids and gases within the whole process is increased by means of electric process heaters.

Need of process heating in Industries

Due to the over-exploitation of non-renewable sources of energy, there is a major scarcity of these resources, which also results in harmful NOx and carbon emissions. Therefore, there is a significant need to decarbonize industrial manufacturing processes by using electrified heating systems where low or zero carbon electricity is used as an alternative to fossil fuels. Steam, electricity, and renewable energy sources like solar energy, biomass, etc. are few sources from which energy is obtained and converted to heat. There is extremely little residual ash product left for disposal after process. Electric heaters can provide effective solutions for low-to-medium heating applications.

Industries that use process heating

  • Oil & Gas Industry: Offshore as well as onshore drilling, downhole heating, hydraulic fracturing, and maintaining petrochemicals’ viscosity.
  • Packaging & Plastics: Heaters are used in form-fill-seal machines, portion packaging, tamper-proof packaging, extrusion, and softening polymers to reshape them.
  • Power Plants: Process air heaters for inlet housing, superheating, sulphur reduction, catalytic cracking and regeneration, gas dehydration, etc.
  • Aerospace: Heating systems are used to heat air in turbine systems, batteries, engines, cockpits, etc.
  • Food and beverage: Applications include fryers, ovens, grills, deep fryers, hot plates, and steam tables.
  • Medical field: Heating of blankets, jackets, flasks, monitoring of equipment in laboratories, fluid as well as blood warming, etc.
  • Automobile Manufacturing: Heaters are used for making automobile parts, such as clutch plates, brake shoes, etc.
  • Building & Construction: Hot water temperature maintenance; freeze protection; frost prevention; pipe freeze protection.
  • Defense Industry: Heaters are generally used in fuel preheating processes, temperature maintenance in cold regions, as well as lube oil heating. 
  • Rubber Industries: Heaters deliver the ideal solutions in vacuum pressing, gaskets, boots, and injection molding. 
Industrial process heater

Process involved in heating

Heat is generated by industrial heaters by converting energy from fuel or other sources. Industrial heaters use one of the three basic heat transfer methods: conduction, convection, or radiation. Conduction or convection are commonly used in lower temperature processes, whereas radiation is used in operations involving very high temperatures.

  • Conduction: In general, conduction refers to the process of heat or energy being transferred between two particles that are at different temperatures. The transfer of heat from one solid particle to another is known as conduction. Conduction is also known as heat conduction or thermal conduction.
  • Convection: Thermal energy is transferred through a fluid or medium in the form of a free-flowing or forced convection current. This flow starts at a higher temperature and ends at a lower temperature. Convection is the primary mode of heat transfer in liquids and gases.
  • Radiation: It is the process of transferring heat indirectly via electromagnetic waves and doesn’t involve any physical contact between the heat source and the substance. Moreover, radiation happens in a transparent medium or vacuum. The third major way of heat flow is radiation.

In conclusion, conduction transfers heat through solids, convection transfers heat through liquids as well as gases, and radiation transports heat through empty space, even a vacuum.

At Marathon Heater, we develop and manufacture a broad range of process heating systems for different applications in industrial processes. Contact us at to know more on range of electric heaters manufactured by us.