Things You Need to Know About Infrared Industrial Furnaces
Furnaces are typically enclosed, insulated structures used in manufacturing processes that require a high level of heat. There are a wide variety of applications across industries, and to accommodate this, furnaces are available in various sizes, temperature ranges, and configurations. They can be of batch or continuous type with varying degrees of automation. Traditionally, batch furnaces are used for producing smaller quantities of specialized products. Continuous furnaces are used in applications where the customer is producing large quantities of parts with minimal differences between parts. Furnaces can either be gas-fired or electric infrared; this post discusses the details of an electric infrared industrial furnace.
What is an Infrared Furnace?
Whether continuous or batch configuration, a furnace is essentially an insulated chamber that is heated to a high temperature to accomplish an industrial process. The benefit of an infrared furnace (over a gas-fired one) is that infrared energy can be directed onto a product and less of the energy is wasted heating up the empty space in the chamber. This ability to direct infrared energy also allows for the production of parts that require a high degree of variability within the part as heat can be directed to the areas where it is needed and not to others.
Types of Industrial Infrared Furnaces
Casso-Solar Technologies makes various types of furnaces and customizes them based on our customers’ application requirements. The vast majority of furnaces we design and build are for the glass industry. Here are some of the types of industrial infrared furnaces that we specialize in:
“Roller Hearth” Furnaces – These furnaces are used in both the automotive and architectural glass industries for firing ceramic ink into the glass. The system is typically a cross between a batch and a continuous system with a conveyor that shuttles parts from one section to the next and then oscillating them within the section during processing. Our roller hearth furnaces will heat, fire, anneal, and then cool the parts providing an all-in-one processing system.
Shuttle Bending Furnaces – These systems are built for bending glass in the automotive, architectural and aerospace industries. For customers that are also looking to have slumping/casting capabilities, we design a movable floor into the cart to allow parts to be placed varying distances away from the heaters in the ceiling of the furnace. Depending on the complexity of the parts, Casso-Solar can add heaters in numerous areas of the furnace to concentrate heat where it is needed most. Through the use of a user-friendly PLC/HMI control system, customers can customize the heat profile to fit each individual part.
Continuous Bending Furnaces – For customers making high volumes of parts, a continuous or serial bending furnace is more suited to the application than a shuttle bender. These furnaces contain multiple furnace sections in series allowing for the same part to be made continuously.
In addition, Casso-Solar Technologies will build a custom furnace for nearly any application that is suited for infrared heat processing.
Benefits of Using Infrared Industrial Furnaces
There are many benefits of using infrared furnaces over gas-fired ones:
Infrared process heating tends to have shorter cycle times, which helps increase the overall speed and efficiency of the manufacturing process.
Most of the heat generated is utilized. So, there is a minimal amount of heat wasted or lost to the environment.
Heat distribution is controlled to a very high degree of accuracy which prevents overheating or under heating in particular areas of the object or the material.
The furnace design can be more easily customized to suit your requirements. A wide variety of part configurations can be accommodated through the use of zoned heating and well-designed controls.
They are cost effective in the long run as they help utilize the maximum energy available while also keeping processing times short.
If you are interested in switching to an infrared furnace, it is crucial that you source it from a reputed manufacturer and supplier who can customize it according to your requirements. Casso-Solar Technologies is one of the leading industrial furnace manufacturers who specializes in the design and fabrication of custom infrared heat processing equipment.
Derek Burkholder holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and is Vice President of Engineering & Sales at Casso Solar. Previously holding the title of Engineering Manager, Derek draws upon over a decade of industry knowledge to write extensively about the construction & application of heating systems such as industrial ovens, dryers, furnaces, and infrared heaters for industrial manufacturing processes.