Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ about RF heating & drying

What is RF heating/drying?

Radio Frequency (RF) heating is a technology wherein rapidly varying electric fields produce heat within a targeted material. Radio Frequency heating (also known as dielectric heating) shares much in theory with a domestic microwave oven, however, it is very different in practice with significant advantages when employed on a large scale. Learn more about RF heating/drying.

What frequency should my system be operating on?

Aethera can supply high power generators at 7 MHz and below and we expect to offer 13.56 MHz generators in the near future. These frequencies offer a substantial advantage of reduced capital cost and improved energy efficiency. Many systems working at 27 or 40 MHz may be converted successfully to lower frequencies. Aethera has also worked with third-party generator suppliers to develop RF heating systems at frequencies up to 100 MHz. To find out what frequency you should be operating on, contact us.

Frequency vs. power: What’s the difference?

Power is the specification that determines the amount of heat the generator can deliver to the product. Aethera defines power at the generator output while vacuum tube suppliers typically rate power based on the DC input power to the vacuum tube. Due to the relatively poor energy efficiency of a vacuum tube generator, an Aethera generator will typically deliver 40% more heating capacity compared to a vacuum tube generator of the same power rating. Frequency refers to the number of times per second that the RF wave vibrates. For example, a 7 MHz generator produces 7 million vibrations per second. In most cases, a given product may be processed effectively over a relatively wide range of frequencies.

FAQ about solid-state power

What is a solid-state RF power generator?

A RF (radio frequency) power generator is an electronic device that converts AC power from the power grid into radio frequency power for heating or other similar purposes. When a RF power generator is solid-state, it utilizes transistor technology as opposed to vacuum tube technology. To learn more about the difference between solid-state and vacuum tube technology, download our quick reference guide.

What ROI (return-on-investment) can I expect from switching to solid-state?

Energy costs are typically reduced by 50% after upgrading to solid-state. Additional savings will result from reduced product waste and improved product quality. Also, the cost of downtime resulting from vacuum tube system failures should be considered. A solid-state generator will have greatly reduced downtime. To find out how much you could save by upgrading to Aethera solid-state power, contact us.

Is the quality of my product affected by my generator?

An Aethera solid-state generator has a sophisticated control system that measures the RF power thousands of times per second assuring repeatability and reducing process variations. Having a repeatable process will improve product quality. To find out how to improve the quality of your product, contact us.

What is the product lifespan of a solid-state generator?

It is possible to operate a solid-state RF generator for 20 years with minimal repair and maintenance. Contact us to learn more.

Is my heating/drying system compatible with a solid-state generator?

Most systems can be upgraded to solid state although costs may vary depending on the frequency required and the complexity of the upgrade. To find out how you can upgrade to solid-state, contact us.

What’s the difference between solid-state and vacuum tube technology?

Solid-state technology produces RF power using transistors as opposed to vacuum tubes. The vacuum tubes used in many RF power generators are high power versions of the vacuum tubes used in early radio and television receivers.
Thanks to recent technology advances, solid-state RF power generators can compete with the capital cost of vacuum tubes while offering substantial operational benefits.
Solid-state generators can operate trouble-free for many years while vacuum tubes fail many times more often*, resulting in system downtime and lost production capacity.
Modern solid-state equipment offers greatly improved energy efficiency that can reduce electrical costs by 50% or more. Reducing electricity use can also help businesses reduce their carbon footprint.
An Aethera solid-state RF generator uses digitally controlled amplifiers which allow the power to be adjusted exactly. At the same time, the control system monitors and adjusts the power thousands of times per second, compensating for external variations and resulting in greatly improved process control. This will result in improved product quality and consistency.
Solid-state RF power equipment is smaller than tube equipment and can help save floor space.
(*) As published in MIL-HDBK-217F, the US military publication for predicting equipment reliability, a vacuum tube rated greater than 2000 watts has a mean time to fail (MTTF) of only 4000 hours or 167 days. Comparatively, a silicon MOSFET power transistor rated greater than 250 watts has a mean time to fail of 16 million hours or 1826 years.
To learn more about the differences between solid-state and vacuum-tube generators, download our quick reference guide.