Selecting an Industrial Oven for Your Processing Application

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Major industries like chemical processing, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, medical, materials, and automotive all use industrial ovens.

So, what are industrial ovens? They’re thermal units used as heating chambers. They’re available in numerous shapes and sizes: bench-top size, walk-in, batch-type ovens, conveyor-type, and so on. Industrial ovens do many things. They activate adhesives, meld materials, shrink, preheat, melt, laminate, and thermal bond materials, among other things. A critical step in buying an industrial oven, however, is choosing the right one for your application.

Basic Types of Industrial Ovens

There too many types of industrial ovens to list them all.  Plus, new ovens are coming out all the time. So, we’ve listed the more common types below and their applications:

Electric Industrial Ovens
These ovens heat-up quickly, control temperature precisely, and minimize processing costs. They’re ideal for baking, annealing, powder coating, and welding. You can also use them for combustible products, paint curing for water-, solvent-, and powder-based paints, and curing of finishes like epoxy and varnishes. They have no moving parts and are easy to clean and maintain.

Direct Gas Industrial Ovens
Gas ovens use convection to distribute heat. Available in direct and indirect configurations, they’re ideal for part casting, curing coatings on steel parts, preheating casting molds, and removing water from cast ceramic parts. More expensive than electric ovens, they have lower running costs. They use natural or propane gas for fuel.  

Curing Ovens
These ovens come in several varieties. They are well-suited for applications, like the bonding of paint or powder to metals and the hardening of products manufactured from rubber, plastics, and various metals. Powered by electricity, hot oil, UV rays, steam, or natural gas, these ovens come with steel insulated panels and frames. Temperature ranges can reach 800° C (426° F).

Drying Ovens
These ovens are well-suited for removing moisture from products, heat-treating metals for the extrusion process, and sterilizing medical equipment. Ideal as vacuum ovens for granular products, powders, and electronic components, they use natural or forced convection for heat. If you use them to remove moisture, use the mount of product moisture to determine the oven’s settings.

Batch ovens
Designed for heating large quantities of product, these industrial ovens are available in various shapes and sizes. Your choice depends on your application. Batch ovens are heated by electrical elements or by burners directly or indirectly. Batch ovens squeeze out gases trapped in products that cause product deterioration.

Conveyor ovens
Designed for mass production operations, these ovens operate at variable speeds, have a cooling zone, multiple heating zones, and exhaust hoods. Applications include drying, curing, annealing, stress relieving, bonding, tempering, preheating, and forming. You can easily add them to production or assembly lines thanks to their conveyor belt design. They are also automated and flexible. 

Laboratory ovens
These ovens are ideal for situations where you want a small oven with the versatility to perform simple processes. They are ideal for drying glassware to complex heating applications that are controlled and recorded. When a lab oven is used for testing materials, stability and repeatability are critical to ensure the oven isn’t skewing the results. High performance with superior uniformity and consistent results are the hallmarks of laboratory ovens.

Annealing ovens
This process includes heating metal or other material and then letting it slowly cool. That softens the material and enhances its ductility, allowing you to cold work the material. These ovens use gas burners, electric heaters, and radiant panels as heating elements. Manufacturers of annealing ovens must conform to codes create by the NFPA, IRI, FM, OSHA, JIC, NEC, UL, and CE.

Baking ovens
These ovens release moisture, volatile compounds, or trapped gases from finished products’ coatings. Thermal processing units that combine curing and drying, baking ovens are well-suited for curing parts. They speed up the drying process by removing moisture from the air, leaving a perfect finish. Plus, they heat powder coatings to their melting points, so they adhere to metal. They are common in the food supply and packaging industries for heating food products as well.

The industrial ovens discussed above are among the more common units used today. Additional ovens include vacuum, Class A, infrared, composite curing, tunnel, and clean-room ovens.

Manufacturers use industrial ovens to boost their product’s quality and longevity. They also use industrial ovens for sterilization, among other applications. The first step in choosing an oven for your application is choosing the right one. But with so many different ovens out there, selecting one can be a challenge. To select an industrial oven that fits your need, you need to have to do your homework first.

If you still have questions about purchasing an oven after reading our article, you can check out our field guide to buying an industrial oven. Or you can call one of our highly skilled customer service people to assist you at 952-649-6529. Put our knowledge to work for you.