Industrial ovens are thermal processing machines. Ovens use heat to treat materials in many ways. The name for a given heat treatment process reflects the kind of property changes that occur in a product when it is heated; drying, baking, and dehydrating are processes of moisture removal, curing is the process of strengthening, and firing is the process of hardening ceramics. Industrial ovens are also used to activate adhesives, gel and fuse materials together, heatset, heat shrink, preheat, sinter, melt, laminate, and thermal bond materials.
Industrial ovens may be used for a broad variety of applications. These include powder coating, drying, baking, curing, and many others. These ovens are capable of reaching a wide range of temperatures. Higher temperature industrial ovens may be used for drying materials and are sometimes called kilns, though they do not reach temperatures quite as high as traditional ceramic kilns. Lower temperature industrial ovens may be used for baking or curing and are found in places such as factories or bakeries. Industrial ovens come in many shapes and sizes; some come designed similarly to a home oven, while others are large enough for people to walk into them. There are also some industrial ovens that have a conveyor running through them in order to heat mass quantities of items over a short span of time.
Industrial ovens vary greatly in size and shape. Some are very large and contain many shelves and could be used for baking many loaves of bread at once. Ovens may be installed in large trucks or on carts for portability. The one thing all of these ovens have in common is they are all temperature controlled according to their purpose. Industrial ovens specifically designed to remove the moisture from objects placed inside are called drying ovens. Industrial ovens designed for curing are made to cause chemical reactions between the coating and the product itself. Like ovens found in homes, some industrial ovens are designed specifically for food production. Although industrial ovens used for food production are typically much larger and reach temperatures much higher than the average domestic oven, the method of baking food is the same.
Heat is a major factor in all manufacturing industries. Virtually every product engaged in the production process requires heat introduction at some point. Among the major sources of this form of energy are industrial ovens. They are hot and insulated chambers utilized in industries for drying, baking, or treating various parts or components before, during, or even after their creation.
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Benefits of Using Industrial Ovens
Industries utilize ovens for a variety of reasons:
- They are air flow efficient. Ovens allow temperature uniformity in all areas of the device. Substantial airflow guarantees a smooth performance. This is important since airflow is a critical factor in the proper functioning of the machine.
- Using these devices in industrial capacities offers easy temperature management, which ensures that work is done well. There are fewer chances of uneven temperature distribution, which could affect the overall application.
- Manufacturing ovens are cost effective. Electric types are inexpensive and are ideal when less capital investment and minimal upkeep is desired.
- The ovens are perfect for fast heat waves in raw materials without the exhaustion of too much power. This allows for the accomplishment of several tasks within short periods.
- Most ovens are designed with stainless steel cabinets. As a result, they are durable, have a high performance, and are extremely reliable.
Industrial Oven Applications
The number of applications for industrial ovens is almost infinite. They are used in the electronic industry for degassing epoxy resins, reacting elements, and other purposes. Food and beverage companies also use ovens for sterilization of items before packaging and other purposes.
Other industries that use ovens include:
- Pharmaceutical and medical, for chemical reactions, sterilization, and incubation of samples.
- Research and Development for temperature grading and other functions.
- Plastic for melting, shaping, or aging of products.
- Aerospace and automotive for various stages that require thermal energy such as creation of components and parts.
- Steel for iron melting.
In applications that require temperatures above 2000 degrees F, an industrial furnace is ideal. Furnaces require large spaces, and the desired temperature is introduced directly into the chamber, unlike ovens that utilize a system of ductwork to distribute hot air onto the raw materials being processed.
History of Ovens
Technology has changed greatly since the first use of ovens. The first ever ovens date back to 2900 BC in Central Europe, where they were utilized in boiling and roasting pits in yurts for mammoth cooking. Later on, the pits used hot coal covered in ashes. By 3200 BC, almost all settlements had hearths used in food cooking and brick making. Ovens were later employed as kilns for pottery and bread baking; this was introduced by the Greek.
Many years later, instead of ceramic and earth ovens, fireplaces with cauldrons were used. Transitions occurred, and ovens were either using wood, coal, or iron gas, and later, electricity. The early 1700s saw the introduction of the Stewart Oberlin iron oven, which was smaller and had a chimney of its own. During the earlier years of the 19th Century, coal ovens were introduced, and years later, gas ovens came about. James Sharp patented the first ever gas stove in the year 1826. The AGA cooker invented in 1922 by Gustaf Dalen was an improvement of the gas stove.
Since then, further advancements have followed, and although the first electric ovens were invented late in the 19th Century, power was not yet as extensive as it is today. The introduction of high-tech ovens began with Percy Spencer’s microwave in 1946. After it was patented, more productions, adaptations, and the creation of large scale ovens emerged.
How Industrial Ovens Work
Ovens provide consistent burning environments, and with separate chambers for cooling and warming, they have various sources of thermal energy. Hot water, electricity, and gas are the most common sources, all of which are introduced into the oven through forced convection.
Electrically fired ovens are the most popular types because of their rapid sweltering process and their durability. They are inexpensive and are less polluting. On the other hand, ovens fired by gas are available in direct and indirect configurations and can either use propane or natural gas. They are more expensive than the electric types, but with considerably cheaper running costs. In hot water ovens, the water passes through radiator coils for the emission of energy. They are the preferred choice for applications that require lower temperatures and where quick heating time is not necessary.
The most common type of oven, the convection oven, functions by blowing jets of hot steam through coils or hot panels. When this happens, the material is quickly warmed up, improving the functionality and the operational efficacy of the machine. Once the raw materials have been placed in the oven, a temperature knob is adjusted to a particular degree. Each task has a different temperature specification.
In other models, the air is drawn by fans through the coils and propelled back to the compartments via plenums installed in the side walls; this results in temperatures that are uniform and consistent.
Components of the Industrial Oven
Ovens are made up of several components. They include:
- Which powers the whole system.
- Exhaust and Recirculation Fans
- For air circulation within the oven.
- Duct Distribution Network
- Which is used for venting.
- Flame Controllers and Purge Timers
- Direct fired types are supported by most electric motors. Other types incorporate radiant tube burners for thermal transfer from gas combustion.
Use and Installation of Industrial Ovens
Several factors influence the installation of ovens. Location is one of them. Industrial ovens should be located where they are protected from damage by high temperatures, vibrations, or even mechanical damage. Space should be adequate, and they should not be against a wall. Because most ovens are made of stainless steel cabinets, they tend to expand when they burn. This is why leveling them with shims is appropriate. Proper ventilation is a must in the installation area. This should prevent accumulation of vapor that could be potentially hazardous.
Another thing to pay attention to during installation is the method of heating. Whether by electricity, hot water, or gas, the installation should be done according to the specifications and codes provided.
The most important thing is to let professionals do the work for you. Do not attempt to install or operate the machine if you do not have the technical know-how. Familiarize yourself with all the necessary aspects that will ensure optimum performance.
Design and Customization of Industrial Ovens
Many aspects go into the design of an oven. As an alternative to buying a pre-designed device to fulfill a specific task, you can design your own or customize an existing machine to fit a particular job. While there are many standard models available, a custom designed oven can be made to fit your needs exactly.
The first thing to consider is the exact purpose of the custom machine. Will it be used for food processing or in the manufacture of equipment? Determination of the specific task, or a combination of functions, influences the optimizations you will consider. The next thing to consider is how the machine should function—for instance, by electricity or gas. Also worth noting is the temperature requirement.
Other Necessary Components for Industrial Ovens
Although ovens are standalone fixtures, there are other necessary components required during their installation. Apart from sources of power, gas and water, piping and venting options, other components like shims are required to keep them firmly in place. Incinerators and exhausts for waste disposal are also necessary. To foster safety, the installation of alarms and fire extinguishers is highly recommended.
Safety and Compliance Standards for Industrial Ovens
Due to many hours of operation, with doors closed and compartments spattered with raw material resins, ovens need regular cleaning and maintenance if you want to get the best out of them. There are various compliance and safety standards to be considered.
During operation, wearing protective gear is of great importance. It is imperative one avoid direct smelling of gases and keep away from hot parts. Should there be any wet spills or boil overs, use appropriate cleaning measures with industrial grade solutions. Ensuring compartments are sealed appropriately is the first thing to do before firing on the machine.
Other safety precautions include:
- Extensively Reading the Manual for Installation Operation Guidelines
- Installing Ducts in Places with Noncombustible Material
- Never Leaving the Oven Going Without Attendance
- Always Ensuring the Safety Equipment is in Place
- Conducting Regular Inspections for Flaws and Necessary Adjustments
- Keeping Moving Parts Well Lubricated After a Given Period of Time
Choosing an Industrial Oven Supplier
Many manufacturers offer many types of ovens used in the industrial production processes. However, not all of them will benefit you. The most important thing is to choose a manufacturer who not only provides the right machine for your needs, but a machine that fits the available space, has optimum performance, and will last for ages.
Some machines on the market are not up to required standards in terms of operation and maintenance. The right vendor will offer a device that has less operational costs and is easy to clean and maintain. Additionally, check whether the supplier meets the certifications required for the oven and ensure that chances of delay in support and troubleshooting after the product is in use are averted.
The right supplier offers factory acceptance testing. What this means is that the supplier will run the oven and confirm everything is in order before shipping it to you. Finally, check that the supplier provides installation services after the purchase. Do they have a team ready to offer maintenance whenever necessary?
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