Industrial Batch Ovens: Advantages and Limitations

Industrial batch ovens are used for all sorts of applications in various manufacturing processes. They bake, cure, dry, form and pre-heat across industries including aerospace, automotive, ceramics, foam, pharmaceuticals, plastics, power, and sporting goods.

Before considering a batch oven for a thermal process, it’s good to know what advantages they can provide over other types of industrial ovens. For example, batch ovens are excellent choices when clean-room requirements come into play or when parts are unusually sized. It also helps to know what sorts of limitations batch ovens have, especially when it comes to processing time.

Below is a summary of the advantages and limitations of industrial batch ovens.

Industrial Batch Oven Advantages

Industrial batch ovens have three main advantages over their automated kin, industrial conveyor ovens.

1. Batch Ovens Are Closed Systems

Batch ovens are, by definition, closed-process machines. Product is loaded into the oven, the doors close, and the heating begins. This makes batch ovens great for applications that require environmental control and isolation, such as inert-atmosphere and clean-room processes.

DTI-507 Batch Oven
Designed to meet Class 100 clean room requirements, the DTI-507 batch oven cures rubber printing press rollers. It features a special door that prevents plant floor scrubbing, thereby reducing the spread of contaminated particles.

2. Batch Ovens Can Accommodates Large or Unusually Shaped Parts

When you have a large or unusually shaped part that needs heat treating, chances are a batch oven will be your best bet. Walk-in batch ovens that can accommodate parts as large as — or larger — than a pickup truck can be created. And they can also be engineered to work with special product trays or carts to carry parts with odd shapes.

DTI-1085 Batch Oven
The DTI-1058 batch oven is a walk-in oven that dries copper windings in large electrical transformers — massive products that measure 9′ 5″ wide x 10′ 3″ high x 15′ 6″ long and weigh roughly 20 tons.

3. Batch Ovens Requires Less Capital Investment and Upkeep
Batch ovens are less expensive to manufacture than continuous ovens. They also require less maintenance. However, batch ovens can be comparatively slow from a production standpoint and incur additional labor costs since they must be manually loaded and unloaded.

DTI-1090 Batch Oven
The DTI-1090 batch oven is used to heat up oil-field piping quickly. To save time during loading and unloading, the oven features a custom automated product cart and track system.

Limitations of Industrial Batch Ovens
Other than the labor costs and additional production time associated with manual operation, batch ovens have a couple of other downsides that everyone who is considering one for their manufacturing process should take into account.

1. Heat Loss
Unlike conveyor ovens, batch ovens typically have a single oven chamber. If a cooldown period is required, product must either sit in the oven chamber until it reaches the requisite temperature or be removed. Either scenario inevitably incurs heat loss, meaning that more energy must be expending to bring the oven temperature up to the required level to process the next batch.

For thermal processes where a product hast to cool in the oven, it’s possible to speed up the cooling cycle with supplemental exhaust fans.

DTI-1245 Batch Oven
The DTI-1245 batch oven is designed to cure closed cell foam products. Reaching temperatures as high as 500° F during the curing process, the oven includes a dedicated cooling exhaust fan to speed up the cooling cycle.

2. Uneven Heating
As noted above, batch ovens are loaded manually most of the time, which has the potential to result in uneven distribution of product in the oven chamber. If parts are distributed unevenly, they can reach slightly different temperatures during the heating phase. Custom product trays designed to hold parts in specific configurations can mitigate uneven heating due to erratic part placement.

Moreover, ovens inherently have areas that heat more rapidly than others. For example, perimeter parts tend to heat up faster and can overheat during the ensuing heat soak. Non-uniform chamber heating can be counteracted with individual part-monitoring systems and well-engineered air circulation patterns.

DTI-1109 Batch Oven
The DTI-1109 batch oven cures varnish on stators for electric generators. To keep heat uniform during processing, the oven features two chambers with infrared sensors that monitor the temperature of each stator.

Choosing the Right Industrial Batch Oven
Industrial batch ovens are complex machines that are a crucial part of any manufacturing process involving thermal processing. However, like any machine, they have their advantages and limitations. Knowing what these are — and what questions to ask — will help anyone looking for an industrial batch oven choose the right one.

In all cases, we at Davron Technologies feel it is best to consider a custom-built industrial oven. Manufacturing today is so exact that an off-the-shelf product won’t meet all process requirements and, ultimately, won’t do the job properly.

If you’d like to learn more about batch ovens or discuss how a custom industrial oven is the best solution for addressing your thermal processing needs, please contact us.