Heating is a fundamental process involved in the production of many different parts. There are many different types of heating equipment that can be utilized depending on the process to be performed. It is important for manufacturers to employ the proper heating equipment and most efficient process for producing a good quality product while maintaining their profit margins. In many cases, infrared heating can offer significant advantages over other forms of heating and this is especially the case for the glass industry. The following post focuses on why infrared heating is so beneficial for glass manufacturing processes.
What are the Benefits of Implementing an Infrared Heating Process in the Glass Industry?
There are several reasons that glass manufacturers can benefit from utilizing infrared heating in a new process or adding it to an existing process:
- Glass Absorption Spectrum: Medium-wavelength infrared is what is most commonly used in the glass industry. This is particularly useful because glass readily absorbs energy at the 2-6 micron wavelength range that medium-wavelength infrared equipment operates at, meaning that a large portion of the energy generated by the equipment is used to heat the glass and losses are minimal.
- Heat Zoning: Infrared systems can be easily zoned to maximize efficiency. Unlike in a convection system where a change in the amount of energy provided can only be achieved by increasing the temperature, infrared systems can continue to operate at the ideal wavelength and zones can be turned on or off to provide more or less energy as needed.
- Fast Warm-Up Times: Infrared systems can reach their operation temperatures often within a few short minutes from when they are turned on, minimizing downtime waiting for equipment to be ready. Additionally, since many glass processes are done in batches with changeover times in between, the equipment can be turned down between processes to save energy without creating costly downtime.
How Does Infrared Heating Help in Different Glass Processing Applications?
Numerous glass processes require heating, we will highlight a few that infrared is particularly helpful with:
- Lamination: The various interlayer materials used for lamination are very good absorbers of infrared energy. Infrared systems can be tuned so that the energy from the emitters penetrates through the glass to the interlayer, heating it directly. This saves time and energy that would be spent heating the glass in a convection system.
- Bending: Infrared heating is frequently used for glass bending. Because of the high level of control offered by infrared systems, energy can be targeted to specific areas when performing complex bends. This helps decrease cycle times and increase production capacity.
- Annealing: Since glass readily absorbs infrared, it can be quickly heated to the annealing temperature by an infrared system. The precision control offered by infrared equipment then allows for a fast and accurate annealing process that can be completed in a matter of minutes.
Most glass manufacturers prefer infrared heating over others for carrying out their various manufacturing processes. Casso-Solar Technologies has a team of experts on staff who would be happy to discuss your requirements and offer an infrared heating solution to fit your needs. Please give us a call at (845) 354-2010 to ask about how we can help your company.