Rolling hearth furnaces are primarily used in the glass industry for fire decorative and conductive inks into glass. The furnaces also often include annealing or heat strengthening sections to allow for further processing. They can handle huge volumes and heavy loads. The rolls in these furnaces are typically made of fused silica. This post discusses the working of rolling hearth furnaces and their benefits.
Structure and Working of Rolling Hearth Furnaces
Workpieces placed in a roller hearth furnace are moved into the firing section of the furnace in batches typically. The roller conveyor bed is designed with a unique drive system that eliminates the requirement of end caps on the rolls. These rolls are made of fused silica. While most industrial roller hearth furnaces are batch based, they can also be made as continuous processes. Rollers generally have a good operational life as long as the upper limits such as temperature, plate load, and plate width mentioned by the furnace manufacturer are followed.
In a roller hearth furnace, the heating is divided into the upper and lower zones. This enables heating from both sides of the parts to ensure even heating. After the ink is fired into the glass, the batch would be moved to an annealing chamber for heat strengthening, which would then be followed by a cooling section which controls the rate of cooling to assure that the glass does not break.
Benefits of Roller Hearth Furnaces
There are quite a few benefits these furnaces offer. Some of them are:
Easy and safe to operate, which helps increase productivity.
These furnaces are relatively cost effective and have a good operational life.
Most of these furnaces are multi-zoned, which means the same system can be used for batch, as well as continuous process.
Rolling hearth furnaces have radiant cooling systems for annealing of coated or decorated glass products.
They are designed to handle heavy loads and high volumes of workpieces.
Sections can be easily added to the equipment at a later date if increased productivity is desired.
Automation in Roller Hearth Furnaces
Most machines and processes in the manufacturing sector have undergone a huge transformation owing to advancements in automation technology. Rolling hearth furnaces can take advantage of automation in a number of ways.
PLC systems can be used to automate plate tracking in these furnaces. This helps achieve precise control over the processing of parts.
Loading and unloading of workpieces can also be automated, and this is especially useful in batch processing systems.
The furnace roof can be designed to lift off for maintenance, and this function can be PLC controlled.
Are you looking to invest in a roller hearth furnace for your industrial application? Ensure you source it from a reliable industrial furnace manufacturer and supplier, and the furnace is totally safe to use. Casso-Solar has an abundance of experience in designing and building this type of equipment that we have gathered over our 60 years of existence.
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.