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Min

Element Support Tubes

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Min    775

Anybody know anything about the pros and cons of supporting kiln elements like they do in some kilns from european and asian countries? My first thought is the likelihood of banging into them with a shelf, higher manufacturing costs and more labour intensive to change elements? Seems the heat loss into the softbricks would be less therefore resulting in lower operating costs. I'm thinking there has to be a reason they are being made like this. The Nabertherm one in the picture below is rated to 1340C.N1500_fmt.jpg

 

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MatthewV    258

The ones I used in New Zealand worked very well. The loops were larger and had heavy gauge element wires. This means elements last longer. Replacing the elements was pretty easy too.

The kilns I used didn't have door elements. The side ones were easy to avoid touching when loading.

 

So no, I don't know why American kilns are made this way.

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Min    775

Excellent point about using heavier gauge wire. We wound our elements for our old front loader with 12 or 13g, fired approx twice a week to ^6 and the elements usually lasted around 4 years. On our Euclid/Pottery Supply kiln I'm guessing the elements are about 16g, the elements last about a year. 

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neilestrick    1,378

Word on the street is that the element tubes are fairly expensive and fragile, and the construction methods to support them increase the costs quite a bit, but they are good for heat transfer since they're not hidden inside a groove in an insulating brick. Based on the damage I see in kilns, I guarantee people would be breaking them like crazy, and I would not enjoy repairing them.

 

You can definitely get longer element life than standard elements, it's just not generally cost effective for the manufacturer to beef them up. There are other things that can be done to improve kilns, but it all drives up the price. It's all about finding a balance between functionality, durability, and marketability.

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Tim T    46

Isn't there also an element of keeping the purchase cost low, even if the maintenance costs are higher? Elements using thicker wire would push the purchase cost up, even if the the ongoing maintenance costs from less frequent element replacements were lower.

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