Industrial ovens are multifunctional pieces of equipment found in industrial settings like manufacturing and can be used to dry, cure, or bake components. There are many different applications that require an industrial oven so they are common to see in a number of different industries, but they are not all made the same as the products that require these can vary greatly in size, shape, and material.
Industrial Ovens Defined
Typically, industrial ovens are large heated chambers that can operate at temperatures ranging from slightly above ambient all the way through to 250°F or 676°C so they can operate at extremely high temperatures. They are often insulated enclosures or tunnels and the most common sources of heat are gas, steam, electricity, hot water, and fuel oil.
As you would expect, there are few different types of the industrial oven to consider and it will all come down to the application. The main type of industrial ovens include:
Batch Ovens: These are known as walk-in ovens and typically have an aluminized steel interior and are used for the processing of larger quantities in a single batch. Batches of materials are inserted into the oven on carts, trays or racks which need to undergo the same heat treatment process making it easy to change between batches.
Laboratory Ovens: Lab ovens tend to range in size between 2 to 32 cubic feet but are typically used for test samples or light-duty production of small parts and products. Lab ovens have positive latch doors, pressure release panels and stainless steel interiors.
Conveyor Ovens: Conveyor ovens tend to be used to mass-production settings and provide a consistent heating environment along with separate heating and cooling chambers which can make the process happen much faster.
Airflow is also incredibly important when it comes to industrial ovens as the air will need to easily flow from the air supply duct to the return duct and different types of ovens have a different airflow system to be aware of. When larger materials are used, the most common form is horizontal/vertical where the supply duct is on the side of the oven and the return duct on the ceiling.
Temperature Uniformity & Control Sensitivity
Oven temperature uniformity and control sensitivity are also important to be aware of when assessing different ovens. Uniform temperatures are key for a uniform product but temperature uniformity refers to the greatest spread of deviation between the highest and lowest temperature within a work area. This can be affected by air circulation, heat loss through walls, metal to metal contact etc. Control sensitivity is another issue and refers to the ability of a control instrument to both measure and react to temperature fluctuations and a thermocouple from somewhere like RS will be key for temperature uniformity and control sensitivity.
Industrial ovens can serve a wide range of purposes and are used for a number of different applications. This also means that the ovens can vary themselves so it is important to be aware of what the differences are and what would work best for your business.