Cable Heater Cuts Grooves In Styrofoam Packing


Styrofoam packing racks had been machined with grooves to hold the fluorescent lamp tubes. This proved a slow and expensive process. The manufacturer began to investigate using heaters to cut the grooves. The first effort was a bare resistance wire. That method was eliminated when the wire could not maintain tension for a proper cut, and posed an electrical shock hazard.


A Watlow 0.125-inch (3 mm) diameter cable heater in a sinuated form. The customer receives the units in a straight length and bends it in house over their mandrels. The 1000°F (540°C) temperature cuts through the foam and burns the residue off the sheath. The magnesium oxide insulated cable heater eliminated the electrical shock hazard, simplified mounting and maintained its shape at operating temperature.