Industrial ovens are thermal processing machines that provide various applications with the very important process of heat treating. During this process, heat speeds up the molecular activity inside an object. Inside solid objects, molecules are arranged in lattices that vibrate from the heat, while in gases, these molecules collide.
This activity changes the properties of the object it is heating. Heat treating, therefore, is a process upon which industries that produce metal, wood, plastic, glass and ceramic products all rely to strengthen or generally improve their products. Industrial ovens require heat and mass transfer, which can be accomplished with the help of radiant infrared heat, conduction or convection heat generation, or a combination thereof. Read More…
Infrared radiation is the most efficient heat transfer method used by industrial ovens. Infrared ovens conduct heat transfer with the help of electromagnetic radiation. Without heating air inside the enclosure, infrared ovens are able to transfer electromagnetic waves inside a tungsten coil directly onto a product.
Meanwhile, of all the heat transfer methods used by industrial ovens, natural convection is the simplest. During convection, the force of gravity triggers fluid circulation, which triggers the rise of heated molecules and the fall of cool molecules. Convection is achieved through the transmission of heat from one object to another via gases and liquids.
Convection ovens use either an electrified coil or a gas-fired heating element to provide consistent interior heating. This heating method is only suitable for small batches, because large batches will likely face uneven heat distribution, unless the oven enclosure has a fan to overcome this uneven distribution with better air circulation.
This strategy is often used for larger baking operations. Conduction is a less popular form of heat transfer in which heat is first transferred to air inside an oven, which is then applied to a solid object and then spread through the object. While methods other than these do exist, they are not very efficient and are less frequently used.
Industrial ovens are made using one of two configurations: batch or conveyor, or continuous. Batch ovens can be small and portable, or permanent and large enough to fill a room. They’re popular with commercial manufacturers who process an individual product in large groups and with small industrial heat treat providers who benefit from their even heat application.
Some batch ovens also allow the atmosphere within their enclosure to escape, which eliminates the risk of a heat treated metal suffering from surface oxidation. These type of batch ovens are called vacuum ovens. Conveyor ovens, which continuously move products through a heating chamber on an automated conveyor belt, are usually only used for large scale operations. This is because they are not cost effective unless manufacturers have a steady stream of products to feed into them.
Despite their differences, both batch and conveyor ovens may serve as sintering, curing, powder coating or drying ovens. Sintering is the process by which large particles are created out a pile of small, fine particles via the application of heat below the melting point. The goal of curing is to solidify a material by heating and drying it at a constant temperature.
By placing a product in a powder coating oven for two to ten minutes, which may be either convection or infrared, the powder coating on a product melts and flows. After this, while it is still in the oven, the product is briefly exposed to ultraviolet light, which cures and hardens the finish. Drying ovens are self-explanatory machines; they remove excess moisture.
Industrial ovens help make stronger metal products, more sanitary healthcare facilities and more versatile extruded polymer products.
They are also used to treat products like steel coils, automotive parts, tubing, electronics, building materials, fuel cells, carpeting and textiles, but their use isn’t just limited to manufacturing processes. For example, laboratories use them to learn more about and refine industrial heat transference.
Such research leads to the reduction and elimination of heat transfer inefficiencies and the introduction of new heat treat applications. The industries industrial ovens may serve continues to grow every day.