Industrial ovens are essential parts of many production processes and an important topic for business owners and companies that work with metal parts.
In case you’re considering getting an industrial oven for your business, after reading this article, you’ll know the subject essentials, as well as the key things to consider.
An industrial oven is a machine used to create extremely high temperatures to heat treat materials, condition metals, and cure metal coatings.
Their most distinguishing feature of industrial ovens is the heating chamber that controls a specific temperature level and completes drying, curing, and baking tasks.
Many materials go through this process before they are shaped into completed goods. There are probably a few different things in front of you that went through heat treatment at some point in their manufacturing.
Industrial ovens come in various shapes and sizes, depending on the specific task they’re used for and there are many types of industrial ovens.
As technology improves, new types of cutting-edge industrial ovens are being developed all the time. We’ll single out four fundamental types.
Drying ovens are used to dry objects and remove excess moisture from the materials they process. They are used among various manufacturing operations, including the pharmaceutical and medical industry.
Drying ovens vary in size based on the needs of their production facility.
Curing ovens heat materials and cause a chemical reaction that would strengthen them. The temperature in the chamber has to reach a specific level to induce a reaction.
The materials are loaded in the chamber and exposed to the designated temperature.
For example, to manufacture brick, you need to cure the dried brick mass at 900° F to make it harder. You’d put the mass in the heated chamber and raise the temperature to complete the curing.
Batch ovens, on the other hand, are used in processes where you need to apply heat treatment at different times. They perform a variety of different heat processes and are often some of the largest industrial ovens.
For more complicated processes, batch ovens can have automated heating and loading of materials.
Finally, we have Continuous ovens.
They are industrial ovens often used for mass-production because of their capacity to perform a range of different tasks, such as both cooling and heating.
Continuous ovens have separate heating and cooling chambers. The materials move through the oven on the moving lane and pass through different stages of the heat treatment until they complete their run. By doing so, the manufacturing process remains fast and consistent.
Now that you understand these four types of industrial ovens let’s explain how they work.
Industrial ovens are complex machines. When explaining how an industrial oven works, we first need to talk about the type of fuel used to heat the oven.
Those sources can be hot water, electricity, direct or indirect gas, or steam.
After the oven accumulates enough heat from the source, it drives the heat into the heating chamber using forced convection.
Forced convections are mechanisms that enable motions of movement that transfer the heat between areas of different temperatures.
Have a look:
Think of a fan moving in specific directions to push heat. By doing so, the oven reaches the designated temperature to enable heat treatment on materials or objects.
Another important part of how industrial ovens work is the airflow patterns that transfer heat. Different heat treatment demands different airflow patterns in the industrial oven and those airflow patterns determine how the industrial oven will work.
Based on the specific function of the oven, the airflow patterns can be:
The airflow has to move through the oven and maintain the same chamber temperature to deliver a consistent heat treatment.
After the heat treatment is complete, the material is ready for the next phase of manufacturing.
Different industries heavily depend on the use of industrial ovens for their manufacturing and production processes.
When it comes to heat treatments, there is an array of different processes that industrial ovens can do, out of which we can highlight:
Tempering is the process of heating metal material to a high temperature. The oven gradually cools the metal in a controlled environment, to toughen it by carefully lessening its brittleness.
Stress-relieving means that industrial ovens are used to expose materials to heat to reduce internal residual or structural stresses that can result from previous treatments such as cutting or welding.
Aging is the process of stimulating the effects of time on materials by applying heat to achieve the desired effect. For example, aluminum hardens with time, so by carefully applying heat to it in an industrial oven, you can increase its durability.
Annealing is the type of heat treatment used for softening metals and increasing their ductility.
It requires heating the oven, holding it to a specific temperature, and then cooling it at a controlled rate to eliminate the internal stresses of metals.
Another application of industrial ovens is sintering.
Sintering is a process that’s impossible to do without applying industrial ovens. It involves compacting materials together in one solid mass using heat and pressure without melting the materials.
Some of the most common sintering materials include ceramic, glass, plastic, and metal.
Industrial ovens can also be used to create conditions in which manufacturers can test the durability of their materials or products. This process is called burn-in testing.
This process entails burning electronic devices or integrated circuits at high temperatures to stress the device and force early failures.
This result is called “infant mortality”, and serves to improve the product reliability and test the point of failure before the finished product is in use.
We can also mention that facilities rely on industrial ovens for drying during various manufacturing operations. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry.
When facilities produce medicine, they need precise temperature control to burn off the surplus chemicals and chemical waste made during manufacturing. For pill production, the coatings of pills need to be baked at a specific temperature.
These are all tasks that industrial ovens are instrumental in. Now, let’s have a word about the essential industrial oven certifications.
Since Industrial ovens operate with extremely high temperatures, safety concerts are of utmost importance.
To meet the safety standards, qualified manufacturers must adhere to the regulations of certifying agencies. By doing so, they’ll earn certifications that prove their industrial ovens are safe to use.
When talking about industrial oven certifications, these are the most important certifications for industrial ovens.
The ISO/TC 244 certification, issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), outlines the requirements for industrial ovens and furnaces.
These standards include (but are not limited to):
These safety standards apply to any form of heated enclosures like furnaces, kilns, industrial ovens, and dryers.
When an industrial oven manufacturer earns this certification, their ovens follow high international standards for safety and quality.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues the OSHA 3567 certification in the US. It covers safety standards for US manufactured industrial ovens, induction ovens, furnaces, and dielectric heating devices.
NFPA 86-2019 is a certification issued by the US National Fire Prevention Association (NPA).
The standards of NFPA 86-219 provide safety measures and parameters to minimize safety risks for ovens used for commercial or industrial processing. They aim to reduce dangerous conditions that might cause fire and explosion hazards.
Bunty is an AS9100D, ISO 9001:2015, and CVMSDC certified manufacturer. That means we hold to very high production requirements that aerospace, space, and defense industries need.
Our certifications and quality production systems secured us a foothold in the space industry and resulted in NASA being one of our clients.
Choosing the right industrial oven for your business or facility can be a daunting task. To make things easier, we highlighted the five key things you need to know.
First, you need to think about the costs.
When discussing costs, you need to understand the difference between upfront costs and operational costs.
The critical cost factor here is the energy source that powers the oven.
Some ovens have fewer upfront costs but cost more in terms of energy usage. For instance, electric industrial ovens are easy to install and have no pollution costs and fewer safety requirements, but they require tremendous electricity to function.
On the other hand, gas ovens cost more to build and install but are less expensive to operate than energy spending.
When purchasing an industrial oven, you’ll have to decide which of the two costs to prioritize.
Maintenance for some ovens can be more demanding than for others.
Every industrial oven should come with a maintenance checklist which you should review thoroughly before making a purchase decision.
If the list is too complex for your manufacturing operation, consider a more straightforward solution.
Another critical thing to consider is the safety precautions you’ll have to introduce once you’ve bought a specific industrial oven.
As we said, industrial ovens are dangerous pieces of machinery.
Industrial ovens powered by gas or oil require you to invest in safety equipment, training, and have safety procedures. That will surely add to their acquisition costs.
By contrast, electric ovens involve fewer risks of an explosion, so safety concerns might be cheaper and simpler.
Finally, always check the certifications of the industrial oven manufacturers you’re considering. A certification from a national or international agency guarantees a certain level of safety.
This is something you can’t compromise on.
Understanding the nuances of industrial ovens is important because the right industrial oven can supercharge your manufacturing process and boost the productivity of your facility.
Now you know the essentials of how industrial ovens work and what to consider when buying one yourself.
From a contract manufacturing firm, BuntyLLC evolved into a full service custom machined, forged and cast metal parts fabrication enterprise. We supply global solutions from our headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina.Get A Quote