12 Channel NEMA 4 Temperature Recorder

The Maintenance Mgr. of a steel plant in the Midwest called with an application for a portable recorder that can measure, record, save and print temperatures of 12 zones in a high temperature oven. We knew we could do it because we recently put together a similar portable recorder for an asphalt plant here in Pennsylvania. That customer wanted a recorder with both type K and type J thermocouple inputs with a strip jack panel for quick disconnect in the field. They use it to provide asphalt production temperature documentation to the state of Pennsylvania when doing a state funded project.


Manufactured for a Steel Plant

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Manufactured for An Asphalt Plant

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One of the challenges was to find a suitable enclosure to house the recorder. Recorders are typically long and narrow. A recorder 6″ x 6″ x 10″ long would require a very large enclosure due to the 10″ depth. Deeper panels generally have a large front panel. Fortunately, we have access to a custom panel manufacturer that supplies us with handmade fiberglass and metal enclosures fabricated to fit the instrument perfectly – and no larger. We even specify front and back hinged doors which facilitates access to the chart and pen up front as well as downloading data to a memory stick. The customer can also easily access wiring through the back door. And of course a nice ergonomic handle for toting it around.

It turned out beautifully. Another satisfied customer. Have a look for yourself –


W. H. Cooke Tackles Global Climate Change

W. H. Cooke was contacted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee to quote and supply special high accuracy multipoint temperature sensors for the “SPRUCE” project in Bovey, Minnesota. The sensor assemblies were quite special, took approximately 4 months to procure materials and build. They were all tested prior to being loaded into a van and driven 1250 miles to the job site by Wayne Cooke Sr. and his brother Gary Cooke. Once they located the site (deep inside the Marcell Experimental Forest) the sensors were unloaded and all 50 checked for proper output and to make sure connections were secure after the long overland trek. They were then stored in a mobile trailer for installation at a later date. Read the original story of the SPRUCE project at Northland News Center, republished below.


Bovey, MN (NNC- — Questions about global warming may find answers at a research site north of Grand Rapids. That’s where scientists have begun an unprecedented study into how warming temperatures affect ecosystems.

“This is the grandest, most ambitious, climate-related experiment ever attempted on the planet,” said USDA Forest Service research scientist, Randy Kolka.

Since 2009, Kolka, Paul Hanson with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and other researchers have been working on the SPRUCE.

An acronym for Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climate and Environmental Change Experiment, SPRUCE will measure how peat land ecosystems respond to changing temperatures. Ten, 35–foot chambers in northern Minnesota’s Marcell Experimental Forest will be warmed to different temperatures, ranging from zero to 16 degrees Fahrenheit. Some chambers will have elevated levels of carbon dioxide.

Scientists started warming SPRUCE on August 13. They celebrated the project Wednesday by inviting community members to tour it.

“Our temperature gradient that we’re using is going to really inform these global circulation model, the models that predict our future climate,” said Kolka.

Just as important is the experiment’s location, in the peat lands of north ern Minnesota. Peat lands make up just three percent of the earth’s land surface, but they contain about 30 percent of the carbon found in soil. It’s all that carbon that makes the ecosystems so critical in studying global climate change.

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“The two important greenhouse gases that are leading to the warming of our planet are carbon dioxide and methane,” said Kolka, “Those greenhouse gases come out of these peat land ecosystems.”

“Lots of old carbon, lots of uncertainty of what happens to it, if in fact it were faced with warming at various levels,” said Hanson to a group during Wednesday’s open house.

It’s uncertainty that scientists hope to clear up as they spend the next ten years conducting the experiment.

The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Applications, Dalton

Extrusion Die Heating

(Article reprinted courtesy of our partners at Dalton Electric Heating Company.)


Extrusion machines can be fitted with a variety of dies. A continuous sheet of plastic employs the use of a sheet die, sometimes called a hanger dies, due to the clothes hanger shape of the plastic channel to the extrusion lip of the die. The die must be heated to keep the plastic viscous and this is accomplished by cartridge heaters.




Heaters are installed from the back of the sheet die, extending toward the lip of the die where the plastic is released as a sheet. The Watt-Flex® cartridge heater has several distinct advantages over conventional cartridges. The hot tip feature of the Dalton heater gets more responsive heat to the end of the bore and the lip of the die for greater production control.


And the sheet die generally has a closed bore, sometimes with a small knock-out hole for stuck heater removal. The Watt-Flex heater will expand in the bore for better heat transfer and contract for ease of removal. Better performance and no seized heaters!



Fishing With Thermocouples


At W. H. Cooke & Co., we get phone calls in regards to thermocouple applications from engineers, purchasing agents, maintenance folks, and in this particular case, a fisherman named Frank. This gentleman is a fisherman in the Great Lakes region and he told me that he has found that the fish like to swim below the surface of the water in a specific temperature range.


He was looking for a way to detect the temperature of the water where his hook will be. We designed a thermocouple for him that he could attach to his line, just above the hook. We used a 1/2” x 1/2” stainless steel hex nipple fitting to act as a sinker with a small probe exiting the front of the bore of the nipple. Water resistant epoxy was used to seal the front of the nipple as well as the back of the nipple where the waterproof Teflon leads exited. Back on the boat, we sold Frank an Extech TM100 that he could use to read the thermocouple.


Now, he lets out enough line from his rod until he hits the depth where he knows the fish are biting and reels them in. Frank is a 21st century fisherman and while we don’t expect that everyone is ready to attach a thermocouple to their line and cast out, perhaps we can help you with a different unique application. You dream it, we’ll make it.

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