Flexible Heater Selection Guide

An Introduction to Etched Foil, Flexible Heaters

In this guide we discuss the different types of flexible heaters available and compare their typical specifications, applications, and merits of each type.
If you still have a question, then please ask us via contact form or give us a call on +44(0)1865400514.


1. Basic construction of flexible heaters
2. Flexible heater selection guide

Basic construction of flexible heaters

Flexible heating elements consist of an etched foil resistive heater circuit which is laminated between two layers of insulating material.

Some insulation materials and heat ranges also allow the addition of a self-adhesive layer, for ease of application.

Flexible heating foils designed and supplied by Carlton Thermal Systems Ltd are manufactured by Zoppas Industries and start with a minimum thickness of just 0.15mm.

This thin design and the flexibility of the heating elements and insulating materials allow them to be shaped to fit almost any type of equipment.

The heaters can be applied to most complex shapes, curves, or pipes without sacrificing efficiency or dependability.

Flexible heaters can generate a heat up to 350°C and provide fast heat-up and cool-down rates, ensuring uniform heat distribution at various watt densities. Heater can be supplied complete with:
  • Lead wires insulated with silicone, polyimide, PFA, etc.
  • Connectors to allow fast installation to existing wiring looms
  • Controls and thermal protection such as thermostats and thermal fuses
  • Built-in temperature sensors: thermocouples, PT100, PT1000, thermistors

Flexible Heater Selection Guide

The range of sizes and insulating materials available for flexible heaters, coupled with different operating voltages and heating capacities, makes the number of options available almost infinite.

The table below compares the general specifications available for common insulation types:
Polyester Silicone Polyimide Mica
Voltage Range 700 AC/DC (1 or 3-phase) 700 AC/DC (1 or 3-phase) 400 AC/DC (1 or 3-phase) 400 AC/DC (1 or 3-phase)
max Watt Density (controlled) 0.50 W/cm² 5.0 W/cm² 7.5 W/cm² 5.0 W/cm²
Watt Tolerance (EN 60335-1) -10%+5% -10%+5% ±2% -10%+5%
min Thickness 0.30 mm 0.30 mm 0.15 mm 0.80 to 1.20 mm
Length Piece 10 to 2700 mm 10 to 2700 mm 10 to 600 mm (FEP), 10 to 2000 mm (acrylic/epoxy) 50 to 1200 mm
Length Roll 150 m N/A N/A N/A
Width 10 to 600 mm 10 to 600 mm 10 to 600 mm 50 to 600 mm
max Continuous Operating Temperature 95°C up to 250°C, 175°C adhesive 200°C (FEP), 150°C (acrylic/epoxy) 350°C
min Ambient Temp -50°C -50°C -50°C -50°C
Protection Class up to IP65 up to IPx5 up to IP67 up to IPx4
Adhesive Option Yes Yes Yes No
RoHS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Approvals UL, VDE UL, VDE UL, VDE UL
Applications Laboratory equipment
Medical devices
Railway application
Health care beauty
Catering equipment
Heating and conditioning
Laboratory equipment
Medical devices
Health care beauty
Catering equipment
Chemical cleaning
Laboratory research
Medical application
Aerospace and defence
Optical equipment
Laboratory research
Medical application
Food equipment
At Carlton Thermal Systems we have many years of experience in air quality measurement and control applications, please call +44 (0) 1865400514 or contact us for help with your application.
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