How It’s Made: Hydrofarm Heat Mats

imagesSure, you can find cheaper heat mats on the market, but you won’t find better ones than ours, which employ an exclusive manufacturing process that’s really kind of awesome in a “how’d they do that?” kind of way.

 

 

images-3First off, our mats use USA made materials and are UL/CSA listed. Safety first, especially when there’s electricity involved, right?

 

 

 

Hydrofarm’s heat mats utilize a 5 layer construction and a bonding process that secures not only the internal layers, but makes the entire mat waterproof and durable in a way that the cheaper knockoffs are not. Typically, those mats are just edge heat-sealed, a method which is prone to losing its seal and doesn’t secure internal electrical components in the way that our multi-layer heat bonding process does.

Let the bonding begin!

First off, the bonding components in Hydrofarm’s heat mats are solderable alloys. That’s a good thing. We make the heating element, then sandwich it between two high temperature PET sheets (that’s Polyethylene Terephthalate, but who wants to write all that out?), which are coated with a special adhesive for accurate and permanent layout of the heating lines.

Now the sandwich IS the heating element and since it’s transparent, we can (and do) visually check that no lines are too close or touching, or have knots. Electrical values are tested at this point.

The “sandwich” is then placed between two sheets of 24-gauge flame retardant PVC sheets and fused in an industrial oven, which creates a solidly bonded piece that cannot come apart or de-laminate.

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More testing ensues! This time for electrical resistance. Everybody say ohm.

 

 

 

image-3.phpThen the cord/strain relief is attached, cup is molded. Resistance is tested once again, then connected to the voltage for amperage verification to resistance, test #3.

Then, because three tests clearly aren’t enough for us, we test for dielectric strength at 1500 VAC while the mat is immersed in water, which is salted. Not for taste, silly, but for faster conductivity.  That’s test #4!

High quality materials, a unique process, testing and more testing; that’s how the best heat mats on the market are done.