A History of Our Electric Radiant Heater (ERH)

Celmec’s Electric Radiant Heater (ERH) is a core part of our collection of Heatray products and possesses a number of standout features. With its slimline profile and non-glowing, low-intensity heat, ERH has become the most viable and aesthetically refined electric radiant heating solution across a broad range of hospitality, commercial, industrial and residential settings. Alongside our Heatray Umbrella Systems, we’re very proud of our ERH innovation and the superior level of comfort it offers.

Our ERH was the very first non-glowing outdoor electric radiant heating system at the time which helped position Celmec as a leader in the climate control industry. It was initially developed in 1998 to heat the outdoor undercover areas along Circular Quay in preparation for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Traditional, mushroom-type portable gas heaters had been disallowed by the Sydney City Council due to safety issues. Therefore, underground infrastructure for gas was installed with the intention of providing permanent gas heating.

Installed at Opera Bar as part of our Circular Quay project, our ERH provides a non-glowing, superior quality electric heating solution when installed into our Heated Umbrellas.

Celmec was called upon to provide a gas heating system that could be installed into existing collapsible umbrella structures and service the outdoor restaurants along Circular Quay. We were tasked with finding a solution that would create a comfortable dining experience to attract maximum patronage to the venue.­­­­

At the time, all our heating equipment was gas-fired, so gas heating seemed to be the obvious solution. However, after studying the requirements of the project, our team concluded that this would not be a commercially viable option. In light of the windy conditions, the intensity of heat, and the structural elements of the collapsible umbrellas, we suggested using non-glowing, electric radiant heating instead.

This would mean replacing the boulevard’s underground gas pipe network with electrical cabling to service the umbrella structures. “At first, we didn’t think the council would ever justify such an enormous modification to the circular quay project,” says Tom Schilbach, Managing Director at Celmec. “This would be an extremely costly and drawn-out process, and we were on a tight deadline for the Olympics.”

However, the council and the architects agreed electric heating was the best solution. Not only was it more suitable given the umbrellas’ low-proximity fabric systems, it also meant the umbrellas could be folded up at short notice without dismantling the whole heating system.

Our cutting-edge Heatray ERH system was installed at Quayside restaurant to enhance customers’ outdoor dining experiences together with weather protection.

Once our proposal was approved, we began designing a new electric heating product, which was modelled on our non-glowing, gas-fired Tube Radiant Heater (TRH). Equally, we had to develop an appropriate mounting system for the heaters and modify the existing umbrella structures to accommodate the ERH units, lighting and electrical cabling. These modifications would later influence the design of our Weather Controlled Umbrellas, which were developed after this project and tailored to our electric heating systems.

One of the many venues along Circular Quay where Celmec installed the newly designed Heatray ERH product was the Opera Bar. Sitting directly beside the Opera House with a scenic view of the Harbour Bridge, this prominent location has always been extremely popular among both locals and tourists – but without the warmth and comfort provided by our ERH installed in the venue’s collapsible umbrellas, they would not see the buzzing patronage it does year-round. Across the 300 square metres of outdoor seating, we fitted out 16 existing umbrella structures with ERH to heat and protect the area.

The slimline profile of Celmec's ERH ensured it was an elegant, unintrusive addition to Oysterbar that complemented the idyllic surroundings.

The entire Circular Quay project was very elaborate; devising a brand-new concept, and then seeing it through from product development to final installation, was no mean feat. There were also many architectural demands to accommodate. All electrical wiring had to be concealed, not just to meet public safety requirements, but to ensure that ERH created the right aesthetic. For this reason, we also opted for a slim profile, and an unobtrusive, no-glare design. Both features ensured ERH units integrated seamlessly into their surroundings and complemented Circular Quay’s elegant outdoor dining experience. It was a monumental task that required our engineering and manufacturing teams to work tirelessly.

“We are very proud of our work on the Circular Quay project. We successfully met all council and architectural requirements, and we’ve retained most of the original design today,” says Tom. “Celmec pioneered an outdoor electric panel heating system that has inspired across the globe. We were the first to do all this at the time and we were thrilled to see such a significant venue come to life.”