Cartridge Heaters: What It Is and Applications It Used

Cartridge Heaters

The cartridge heater is one of the types of heating element, and it has the advantage of its versatile and efficient heating capabilities, which make them a critical component in various industrial and commercial applications. So, we will discuss what cartridge heaters are and their application on this page.


What are the cartridge heaters?


A cartridge heater is a compact electric heating device, typically consisting of a metal outer sheath, heating coil, and insulating material (such as magnesium oxide). Its primary function is to convert electrical energy into thermal energy, heating liquids, gases, or solid materials in various equipment and applications.


  1. High thermal efficiency. Cartridge heaters have good thermal conductivity, allowing for rapid heat transfer to the heated object.
  2. Easy installation. Due to their compact design, cartridge heaters are easy to install and replace.
  3. Accurate temperature control. They can meet precise temperature requirements for various applications.
  4. Broad applicability. Suitable for multiple industries and applications, such as plastic processing, packaging machinery, food processing, etc.


  1. Heat dissipation issues. In long-term, high-temperature operations, cartridge heaters may experience heat dissipation problems, requiring proper heat dissipation measures.
  2. Uneven heating. In some applications, cartridge heaters may need to achieve uniform heating effects.
  3. Customization requirements. Due to the diverse specifications and sizes, cartridge heaters sometimes need to be customized for specific applications, potentially leading to increased costs and lead times.

What applications do cartridge heaters use?


Cartridge heaters are commonly used in various processes for precise and localized heating. They are tubular heating devices inserted into drilled holes, supplying heat from the inside.


Typically, the diameter of cartridge heaters is slightly smaller than the diameter of the drilled holes into which they are inserted for easy installation. They can come in custom designs depending on the watt density requirement of the application.


High-density cartridge heaters are most suitable for injection molds, dies, and platens, whereas low-density cartridge heaters are best for packaging and labeling machines, heat sealing, and hot stamping. Nevertheless, they are usually used with thermocouples for better temperature control, especially at higher temperatures.


Here are some applications of cartridge heaters.


Plastic injection molding


Heaters play a substantial role in different processes in the plastic industry.

Cartridge heaters are the only type of heater used in plastic processing. For example, a cartridge heater is inserted into metal mold plates to melt and help break plastic resins in plastic molding. The molten plastic must remain molten at a relatively uniform temperature to achieve the specifications of the final product.


Plastic manufacturers use cartridge heaters mostly with steel or aluminum molds because these metals quickly distribute heat to large surface areas. Furthermore, steel and aluminum are relatively cheap and can be easily pierced with holes to hold thermocouples. Using thermocouples is essential to achieving the optimal operating temperature of the process.


Hot stamping


Hot stamping is a printing method usually used to make distinct marks on surfaces. It is known for its versatility and effectiveness. It can be applied to a variety of product materials such as plastics, rubbers, metals, wood, leather, and glass, to name a few. Hot stamping machines use low-density cartridge heaters to heat engraved molds or stamping dies, aiding the transfer of metal foils or pre-dried inks onto a surface. An exact temperature is required for the successful transfer of foil onto a surface, creating a precise marking on the product. Too low a temperature may result in the failed transfer of foil. On the other hand, too high a temperature may burn both the foil and the surface to be imprinted.


Medical equipment


The use of cartridge heaters is not limited to industrial processes. Cartridge heaters are also used in the medical industry for better patient care.


Patient warming blankets

Warming blankets are critical to the treatment of heart attack and stroke patients. With the use of a cartridge heater in warming blankets, more rapid and precise rates of reaching the target body temperature can be achieved, reducing the risk of going beyond temperature limits that may cause skin injury.


Dialysis machines

Dialysis machines require controlled heat for warming blood to body temperature before blood re-entry to the patient’s body. Cartridge heaters allow precise and accurate heat transfer mechanisms, improving patient comfort.

Listed above are just a few of the many applications of cartridge heaters. Other processes that use them include heating gases and liquids, laminating presses, semiconductor wafer processing, and food production. While cartridge heaters are most used by insertion into drilled holes to heat dies, molds, and other metal parts, they can also be used in liquid immersion applications where immersion heaters are typically used.


3D Printers


In 3D printers, cartridge heaters are often used to heat the nozzle and the bed. In a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer, a cartridge heater heats the printing material (such as PLA, ABS, etc. plastic) to the appropriate melting temperature for extrusion through a nozzle and forming a three-dimensional object. At the same time, the cartridge heater can heat the hotbed to ensure good adhesion between the printed object and the cradle, preventing deformation and falling off. In stereolithography, (SLA) 3D printers, cartridge heaters are also used to heat the resin for better print results.


Mold temperature controller


A mold temperature controller is a device used for mold temperature control, which is widely used in injection molding, die-casting, rubber, chemical, and other industries. The power of mold temperature significantly impacts product quality, production efficiency, and cost. The primary function of the cartridge heater in the mold temperature controller is to heat the heat medium (such as water, oil, etc.) to the set temperature and then transfer the heat to the mold through the circulation system to keep the mold temperature stable. Cartridge heaters’ excellent performance and reliability make them ideal heating elements in mold temperature controllers.


Plastic extruder


A plastic extruder is a device used to melt and extrude plastic into various shapes and is widely used in producing plastic products. The primary function of the cartridge heater in the plastic extruder is to heat the extrusion barrel to melt the plastic particles into a dense shape. Then, a screw in the extrusion barrel can evenly extrude the melted plastic material and form it through the mold. Cartridge heaters are usually distributed in different areas of the extrusion barrel for zoned heating and precise temperature control. During this process, the cartridge heater can maintain a constant heating effect, ensuring the plastic material’s stable melting and extrusion quality.


Hot air stove


A hot air stove is used to heat air or other gases and is widely used in drying, baking, heat treatment, and other fields. The primary function of the cartridge heater in the hot blast stove is to convert electrical energy into heat energy to heat air or gas. Cartridge heaters are usually installed in the heating chamber of hot blast stoves to transfer heat to the gas through efficient heat conduction and radiation. The heated gas can be used in various applications, such as drying materials, baked goods, and heat-treating metals. Cartridge heaters have efficient and reliable heating performance, can achieve precise temperature control, and ensure the stable operation of hot blast stoves in various scenarios.


To learn more about the best heating solutions available on the market, please contact us!



What must you pay attention to when using the cartridge heater?


After understanding the application of cartridge heaters, we can further discuss some precautions and maintenance methods for their practical applications.




  1. Choose the appropriate cartridge heater. Select a cartridge heater with a suitable size, power, material, and temperature control method based on the specific application and working environment.


  1. Installation location. Ensure that the cartridge heater is correctly installed in its designated position, avoiding heat transfer inefficiencies or heat accumulation due to improper installation.


  1. Preheating. Before starting the cartridge heater, ensure that the object being heated has reached a specific temperature to avoid thermal stress issues caused by significant temperature differences.


  1. Heat dissipation measures. In high-temperature applications, ensure proper heat dissipation measures are taken to maintain the regular operation of the cartridge heater and extend its service life.


  1. Overheat protection. In applications where overheating may occur, use overheats protection devices (such as temperature sensors and controllers) to prevent cartridge heater damage due to overheating.

What service can Hasteco offer you?


Hasteco offers a wide selection of electric heating elements used across many industries. Since 1999, we have been providing the best heating solution one can find.


Our advantage including:

  1. Quality assurance and advanced production technology.
  2. Competitive prices.
  3. Top and perfect seller service.
  4. Offer various heating coils.


Contact us by clicking the button below.

Sales representive Luke


As the devoted CEO of Hasteco, I've spent countless years nurturing my passion for heating elements. Warmly inviting you to connect & collaborate for cozy, tailor-made solutions. Get in touch!

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