Level Up on Hotplate Safety

Heidolph is committed to a higher safety standard in chemistry lab equipment.  The Hei-Plate hotplate line is designed with the safety of the user and product as its main priority.  The features included will not just mechanically increase safety but also give feedback to users to assist with their own safety practices.

Features

­        Two independent safety circuits: The Hei-plates is designed with two independent safety circuits.  This means that if either the hotplate top or the temperature sensor exceeds your set temperature by 25 degrees the hotplate will automatically shut off.  Shutoff will also occur if the difference between the two exceeds a threshold and if the probe is no longer immersed in your media in cases where your sample evaporates completely.  By having two independent circuits for cutoff, you have to overheat protection from both your hotplate and from the temperature in your medium.

­        Residual heat indicator:  The heating button on the Hei-Plate will illuminate when heating occurs.  In order to give users an idea of temperature from a distance, when heating is disabled the heat button will continue to blink orange to warn from a distance that the hotplate is still hot.

­        Automatic shutoff:  The Hei-Plate has automatic shutoff measures in the case of short-circuit, damage, or removal of the temperature sensor.  The unit will shut off completely.

­        Rotation speed ramp:  In order to protect from splashes and burns, the Hei-Plate has a ramp in the rotation speed.  This gradual speed-up period gives you more control over the stirring while also stopping the magnetic stir bar from decoupling.

­        Separate illuminating Heat switch:  Hei-Plate heating does not begin once the hotplate is turned on, rather when a separate switch is used.  This is to make heat up a completely intentional procedure, while also giving an indicator as to when heat up is occurring.

Fire-resistant aluminum die-cast housing:  The housing of the Hei-Plates is made out of durable die-cast aluminum, giving it increased resistance to fumes, liquids, and vapors, while also preventing fires from occurring.

­        Kera-Disk coating:  The Kera-Disk top plate on the Hei-Plates are made of aluminum for immediate heat transfer.  The aluminum top is coated in ceramic in order to make it chemically resistant and scratch-proof - leading to a longer lifespan of the hotplate.

­        Hermetically sealed housing:  The sealed housing design of the Hei-Plates prevents the internal components of the Hei-Plates from being damage by liquids, fumes, and vapors, preventing corrosion.  All mechanical and electronic components are protected against aggressive environmental conditions.

Why does it matter?

Heating inside a lab environment is a simple task.  When it comes to heating, however, even the smallest mistake can lead to disaster.  Heidolph’s goal is to minimize the risk of this happening, mechanically or in user methodology.  Previous hotplate fires and disasters could have been prevented with some of the above safety features.

­        PennEHRS: July 2014: A Chemistry graduate student entered the lab in the morning and found that his fume hood was on fire.  The fire originated from a hot plate that was left plugged in overnight but was reportedly not turned on or being used for any experiment at the time. The suspected cause was a malfunction of the Corning model PC-320 hot plate, which may have spontaneously heated to maximum temperature.

o   A separate heat switch combined with independent circuits prevents the hotplate from tuning on without the heat button being depressed.

o   Automatic shutoff in the case of a short circuit or damage to the hotplate will also prevent the hotplate from running if a faulty outlet causes heat up of the plate.

­        PennEHRS January 2016: A graduate student in the Chemistry Department reported that her Corning PC-420D hot plate unexpectedly heated to a high temperature during an attended operation.  The temperature was being monitored by both a thermocouple probe connected to the hotplate and an analog thermometer.  The temperature of the hotplate spontaneously spiked beyond the target temperature of 80C, causing a small fire, which was quickly extinguished.

o   With Independent safety circuits, the hotplate would have shut off if either the top plate or the temperature probe exceeded the target temperature.

­        BerkeleyEH&S: A chemistry researcher was using an older model hot plate to heat an oil bath to 120-150°F. He borrowed the hotplate from someone else and was not familiar with the temperature controls. On this particular hot plate, the temperature dial could go around from “LO” to “OFF” and back to “HI” heat. The researcher thought he had turned the hotplate “OFF” but it was still in the “ON” position and 30 minutes later the mineral oil bath ignited.

o   A separate illuminating heat switch will prevent confusion as to whether a hotplate is on or off.

o   A hotplate with an external temperature sensor will allow you to monitor the temperature of your medium, as well as the temperature of the hotplate.  With independent safety circuits, the hotplate will shut off in case of a runaway heat up.

Conclusion

Heidolph’s goal is to create hotplates that hold up to a higher level of safety standards.  Heidolph Hei-plates are all backed by TUV NRTL certification as a testament to their standards.  All Heidolph Hotplates are also certified for continuous 24/7 operation.

Want to learn about more ways the Hei-PLATE Series can improve the way you do research? Check out their upcoming webinar HERE.

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