Ensuring Longevity: How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Cartridge Heater

cartridge heaters

Cartridge heaters are tube-shaped industrial heating elements usually inserted into drill holes for heating metal parts. Their capability of effective energy transfer is the main reason for their standout performance in heating processes. They are considered long-lasting and durable heating elements owing to their premium manufacture and their surety of minimal heat dissipation.

So, if you need to buy a new cartridge heater after the failure of the previous one too quickly, it’s time to ponder! In this article, we have highlighted multiple tips and tricks for increasing cartridge heating element life span, reasons why they fail, and more. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s just delve into this worthy information and explore what awaits.

cartridge heaters

What to Know About Cartridge Heaters?

Cartridge heaters are widely used for localized heating in 3 D printing, plastic welding, molding processes, and die casting. You can obtain them in a variety of watt densities to meet the application requirement. The structure includes a resistance coil wound around a ceramic core. This entire setup is then wrapped by dielectric and encased in a metal sheath.

Cartridge heaters operate at various watt densities, including low, medium, and high ones. The work involves the transfer of powered heat from the core to the sheath that heats the sheath and, eventually, the metal interior in which the heater is inserted. This heat is used in a variety of applications. Some of them are listed below; let’s have a look!

  • Heating dies, molds, and platens
  • Hot stamping
  • Laminating presses
  • Heating equipment
  • Semiconductors, etc.

In short, these heaters find diverse applications in industries, being an important and reliable component of heating systems.

What’s the Normal Life Span of Cartridge Heaters?

The normal life span of cartridge heaters is expected to be over 1000 hours. To be precise, life span is dependent on two important factors. These include the maximum recommended sheath temperature. For a standard heater, it’s 648°C (1200°F).

Secondly, the highest ambient temperature of the selected termination. You can obtain precise info from the cartridge heater manufacturer.Give this article a quick read to learn how to use a cartridge heater.

Why do Cartridge Heaters fail?

Besides hopping straight onto the essential tips for maximizing the cartridge heater life span, let’s first take a look at the reasons why a cartridge heater fails.

Lack of Proper Heat Sinks – High-watt density heaters lack proper heat sinks, leading to the premature failure of the heaters. You should source your heater from a renowned manufacturer like HASTECO, as these often include a heat sink to manage the heat transfer and avoid failure.

Going Behind Cheap Products Quality – Sometimes, buyers prefer looking for cheaper options, overlooking quality. This leads to them being pranced by manufacturers that deliver low-quality products with tags of premium discounts. So, beware of such sellers and research well before opting for any option.

Incorrect Voltage ­– Sometimes heater might fail due to incorrect voltage application. Every heater has specified if you switch a 120-volt heater to 240-volt one, doubling the voltage, you will surely end up with a burnt heater.Here is why cartridge heaters are referred to as the future of heat processing.

5 Key Tips to Maximize Cartridge Heaters Lifespan

After having a look at the reasons for the cartridge heaters, you must wonder how to prevent it, increasing the life span of the cartridge heaters. If that’s the case, we have got you covered in the section below. Give it a quick read to ensure you make the most of your premium quality heater.

Tip 1: Avoid Contamination

Ensure to avoid contamination, as it could lead to short circuits. Contaminants vary from gases to liquids, for instance, lubricants, sprays, and oils. Some examples of contamination include the negative impact of air impurities and moisture, as the heater intakes air when expanding and contracting. However, you should ensure to get a cartridge heater with well-equipped dealings.

Moreover, if you apply a release agent to conveniently remove the heater from its hold, dry it before inserting it into the hole. If left untried, liquid can flow through the lead end into the lead insulation, leading to failure as soon as the power is applied. However, when looking for lead options, stick to Teflon wire insulation to reduce the chances of liquid contamination.It might work for some, but it’s not a reliable solution. Also, your lead end must be maintained at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

cartridge heaters

Tip 2: Ensure Snuggle Fit for Cartridge Heating Element

When looking for cartridge heaters, most buyers don’t consider the size requirements, ending up buying loose-fitting heaters. These can fail much earlier than their expected lifespan. Reluctantly, the heater isn’t well-fitted into the bores it’s inserted in, leading to heat dissipation. This excess heat heats the heater’s body, causing its resistance wire to break.

Ideally, your mold’s diameter must be over 0.1 mm bigger than the diameter for optimal and swift heat dissipation. If you intend to use a cartridge heater as an immersion heater, consider velocity and the fluid passing over the heater.

Tip 3: Prevent Excessive Cycling

Excessive cycling causes the temperature to rise, reducing the life span of the cartridge heater. Element wire oxidation is triggered at elevated temperatures, which creates an oxide coating that prevents further oxidation if the temperature remains the same. However, if there’s a sudden fall in temperature, the oxide coating wears off, exposing fresh material for further oxidation; this continuous cycling reduces the wire’s diameter over time.

Consequently, the wire’s temperature is increased to the extent that its resistance goes beyond the bound, melting the wire and breaking the circuit or melting the wire insulating, leading to short. You should rely on a top-tier cartridge heater manufacturer to avoid indulging in this cycling hassle. These pay special attention to comparing their products with others, counting the cycles to failure, and improving their performance.

Tip 4: Consider Heater Watt Density

Watt density is the dissipation of wattage per square inch of the heated sheath surface. Getting a high-wattage heater than required results in the controller regulating temperature, maintaining a higher temperature when ON, and turning OFF the heater when required. This often switching can lead to shortening the cartridge heater’s life span. So, you should prefer getting low wattage heater instead.

Here is a detailed description of how high-watt density heaters can impact the performance and structure of the heating element and the rest of the components:

  • Heater failure
  • Causing damage to the material to be heated
  • Causing damage to the heater and its components due to overheating

Tip 5: Efficient Power and Temperature Controls

Most people tend toward getting economical power controls instead of the efficient and practical ones in a bud to save as much money as possible. However, this approach does not always help, as economical switching can result in thermal fatigue and oxidation. Get your hands on heaters with more reliable and premium power controls.

Another important factors are temperature control. If you want to use high-watt density heaters besides knowing about their heating issues, you need to invest in top-notch temperature controls. As explained earlier, the issue caused by these heaters is the temperature lag between the heater and the sensor.

cartridge heaters

Wrapping It Up!

Cartridge heaters come with different watt densities, and premature failure issues are mostly faced by ones with high watt densities. It’s because they do not have a proper system for heat dissipation, causing melting and burning out of the cartridge heating element or other components. Other possible reasons for failure and the solutions to prevent them are listed in detail in this comprehensive article.

That was all you should know to increase the cartridge heater life span. From normal life expectancy to the reasons for failure and tips to prevent it, we have shed light on everything to make things much easier for you. Hope you found this find worth reading; stay tuned for more such informative guides.


Hop on below to have a look at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions!

1.   Why Is My Cartridge Heater Not Working?

The most common reason for the failure includes improper fitting of the heater into the hole it’s inserted in. For a detailed look at the possible reasons for cartridge heater failure, give the above guide a quick read.

2.   What is the Maximum Temperature for a Cartridge Heater?

Typically, cartridge heaters can work at any temperature, whether low, medium, or high. But the maximum temperature reached for the heater is up to 1400°F.

3.   How Do You Test a Heater Cartridge?

Grab a multi-meter and utilize it to measure the resistance of the heater cartridge. Make contact with the wires using probes to test the heater.


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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