1. What do I need to know about industrial oven energy use?
For about 100 years, natural gas has been used to heat industrial ovens. Traditionally, air was put into a burner and blown to the other end of the oven with fans or blowers. The hot air surrounded the product whatever its size or shape, which was eventually heated to the average oven temperature. In general, industrial ovens can heat product up to about 1,000 F, with typical operating temperatures in the range of about 180 F, 450 F, and 500 F.
Gas with heated, circulated air, known as convection, is good for heating a whole oven fast and for heating irregularly shaped product, particularly in batches, since the air gets into its nooks and crannies. But much energy is lost via heating the entire oven, from heated air exiting the front or back of the oven, and from powering its fans or blowers. Even with modulating burners heating with gas is essentially an all-on or all-off process, which is inefficient since heating the entire oven is required for even small parts.
2. What’s the most efficient form of industrial oven heat?
While people assume gas powered industrial ovens cost less than electric, electric can actually be cheaper and more efficient. Today one of the most efficient ways to heat an industrial oven is with invisible electric, infrared energy, which does not require heating the entire oven, and has no fans, blowers, or moving parts so it is totally silent. Infrared energy occurs within the electromagnetic spectrum imparting heat when the product absorbs the light, which is invisible as it is below the visible light spectrum.