Static and Dynamic Temperature Distribution of Heat Mats for Swine Farrowing Creep Heating
Laboratory and in-barn tests were conducted to study the thermal characteristics of electrical heat mats for creep heating in swine farrowing crates. An infrared imager was used to evaluate the surface temperature distribution and controllability of four commercial heat mats under constant environmental conditions. The effects of pig resting behavior on surface temperature distribution of the heat mat were elucidated by in-barn tests. Embedded temperature sensors facilitated the controllability of mat surface temperature. If either designed or operated improperly, electrical heat mats could contain hot spots (> 43°C or 109°F), which would greatly reduce the effective usable mat area for piglets. When piglets were lying on the mat with embedded temperature sensors, mat surface temperature rose in the occupied region and declined in the unoccupied region. The temperature difference between the two regions ranged from 7 to 12°C (13 to 22°F). Temperature feedback control maintained the mat temperature in a comfortable range for piglets. By comparison, a mat without temperature feedback control could become excessively hot (> 43°C or 109°F) for piglets.
This article is from Applied Engineering in Agriculture 16, no. 5 (2000): 563–569.