Buying an Industrial Oven: 7 Critical Questions to Ask

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Let’s face it. Buying an industrial oven is challenging. It can become time-consuming, and cumbersome. The key to buying an industrial oven that’s right for your application is clearly understanding your needs. Not understanding them makes buying an industrial oven a hit and miss proposition. The last thing you want to do is buy the wrong oven— a costly mistake.

Below are seven critical questions you need to answer before buying an industrial oven. Answering them provides a clear understanding of your needs. It also simplifies and streamlines the selection process. In the end, you’ll get an industrial oven that’s not only reliable, cost-effective, easy to maintain and operate but also right for your application.                

1. What’s your application?

Knowing what you want your oven to do determines what features and capabilities you need. Will you be using your oven to anneal, cure, or dry? Or, will you be using it to bake, sterilize or heat treat? What material will you be processing? What kind of environment will it be in—laboratory, clean room, industrial space? Nailing down this information is critical to finding the right industrial oven

2. What type of industrial oven do you need?

Ovens come in two basic types—batch or continuous process. Batch ovens are known for their flexibility. They’re ideal for applications where load size and production volumes vary substantially.  Continuous process ovens are ideal for applications where large quantities of similar products or parts are being processed. Continuous ovens also reduce handling, maximize throughput, and ensures consistent thermal processing times for parts or products. 

3. What chamber size do you want?

Factors affecting chamber size include the product or part’s size, the number of products in each batch, and your daily processing needs. You also want to consider the space between parts or products. Too small a space inhibits performance. Too large a space wastes energy. Plus, you need to consider the oven’s size, airflow needs without wastage, and chamber type (stainless steel, mild steel, or aluminum).

4. What about temperature requirements?

Factors to consider here include maximum/minimum temperatures, required dwell time at temperature, overall cycle time, and the heat-up and cool-down rates. You also want to consider the type/amount of product load, the amount of heating capacity to bring the product to the desired temperature within the specified time, and overall oven heating capacity. Does the oven have sufficient heating capacity to bring the product to the desired temperature within a specified cycle time? Do you need to control the temperature rate?

5. How critical is temperature uniformity in industrial ovens?

Temperature uniformity generates consistent heat processing results. Confirm the temperature uniformity before buying an oven. Some factors impacting uniformity include cold air stratification, placement of workload, and the controller’s accuracy and response speed. Subjecting the oven to a nine-point uniformity test ensures constant temperature throughout the oven.

6. What’s the best airflow for your industrial oven?

How you load your product determines your airflow type—vertical, horizontal, or uniflow. If you load your product on a solid tray, horizontal airflow is ideal. You’ll also need to consider how you space parts with each type of airflow. Does the setup ensure optimal airflow through or around all parts? Often, a forced convection oven with recirculating airflow provides the best distribution of heat for an application.

7. What about design/construction considerations?

Two factors are critical here: maximum oven temperatures and size of work chamber. Several process-specific factors, such as cleanability, easily readable controls, and resistance to corrosion, are also critical when selecting an oven. Plus, you’ll need to consider what floor type is best for your application. Finally, there are oven interior considerations and applicable standards to consider.

Two other considerations when buying and industrial oven are your special processing needs and the type of controller needed.

Steps in Buying a New Industrial Oven

Answering the questions listed above is the first step in buying and industrial oven. Below is a step-by-step approach to making the purchase after you’ve determine your needs:

  • Study current industrial oven trends.
  • Document your needs
  • Determine selection criteria 
  • Review industrial oven vendors
  • Narrow down the list to four or five
  • Schedule a consultation with vendors
  • Choose an industrial oven that meets your needs
  • Install the new industrial oven
  • Schedule training on new oven’s operation
  • Schedule safety training sessions
  • Develop a preventative maintenance program
  • Set up a regular cleaning program
  • Conduct periodic maintenance testing

Any testing or inspections you do schedule should follow a well-defined schedule. You should also log all testing and inspections results.

We hope this article helped. If you still have questions about buying an industrial oven, you can check out our field guide to buying an industrial oven Or call our skilled customer service team to assist you. Please call 952-649-6529.