How indexing ovens work
An indexing oven is a type of Conveyor Ovens that is well suited for applications where parts need to be heat treated individually or staged to allow processing in groups. The indexing oven works with one temperature set point for the whole thermal process although it can also provide multiple soak profiles throughout the process. In the indexing Conveyor Ovens, the products move through a heated chamber using stop and go movements. Instead of moving continuously through the oven the control system moves the group of products at a specified distance then motion stops so that the products will remain in that position for a predetermined time until the next index motion. Various temperature set points can be designed into the indexing oven to add flexibility to thermal processing. Each of the zones can include a specific number of positions that will determine processing time on the particular zone.
How continuous ovens work
Continuous style do just what it name implies; it is operated at a continuous rate to offer a more economical option for high volume production. However, the continuous oven has less flexibility and it is more suited to applications that require less handling and changeovers. Different types of conveyor systems can be integrated in continuous ovens.
- Horizontal conveyor system - is the most common conveyor system that moves a product from points A to B along a horizontal axis.
- Overhead conveyor system – or monorail makes use of hooks where the products are suspended during transport to avoid making contact with the surface. The overhead conveying system is typically used for large parts like automotive assemblies and car panels.
- Incline conveyor system – transports products at an angle and changes elevation while the products are transported into the oven. This system is very useful when products have to be transported from a mezzanine or an upper level in a facility.
- Spiral conveyor system – moves products in a corkscrew manner to optimize whatever space is available.
Some of the factors that should be considered in the choice for Conveyor Ovens include belt width, length of the heat chamber, height of the entrance/exit, orientation of heating elements, power requirements and the overall footprint of the oven. In order to fully understand the right size of the oven, the first thing to be considered is the size and physical dimensions of the products that will be processed. The targeted production rate will also be a factor including the general capacities of each oven model. Cost will usually tip the scales in favor of another oven model but it is more important to consider whether the choice will suit the thermal processing requirements.