This is the third installment of the mini-series Why Radiant Heat Rocks!. In this series I’m highlighting some of the more unusual applications for which radiant heat excels over the more traditional hot-air approach to heating.
Wood Shingle Mill
We received a call one day wondering if we could help with a particular problem. A shingle mill had an issue on their production line. At a particular point in their process a worker had to manually handle blocks of wood, passing them repeatedly over a blade.
In winter this job was particularly hazardous since the building was unheated and the blocks of wood came in from the storage yard frozen and covered with snow and ice. The worker’s fingers would quickly get numb from the cold and the handling of the frozen blocks.
Gloves and similar methods didn’t work. Gloves reduced the worker’s ability to handle the lumber with dexterity, or would fetch up on the rough-sawn material. Blowing hot air into the area didn’t do it either. The hot air would just rise away, leaving the worker just as numb as if the hot air system wasn’t there.
The biggest concern was safety, though. Once the worker lost the required dexterity in their fingers, they ran a very high risk of getting those fingers caught in the machinery. Whirling blades. Lost fingers. The mill rep painfully quipped that “there wasn’t a piano player in the plant”. Ouch.
Radiant Heat To The Rescue
Radiant heat warms object directly. It naturally travels from the warm source to the cold objects around it – which includes people, their arms, their hand and their fingers. So it was a simple matter of placing a few radiant heating panels directly above and below the workstation and controlling it with a simple switch. The radiant heat enveloped the worker in a curtain of warmth.
The results were clearly outstanding. With sufficient radiant heat in place, workers (and their fingers!) remained nimble throughout the shift and accidents dropped like a rock.
It was a simple and inexpensive solution that only radiant heat could have solved. And the town’s piano teacher is now back in business.