Industrial kilns are very high temperature thermal processing units, used for firing ceramics or calcining minerals. Industrial kilns for firing ceramic materials function at very high temperatures > 2300° F. Kilns for drying wood or wood products are similar to ovens and run at lower temperatures.
Kilns come in a variety of configurations including bench or cabinet, continuous, front load, top load, and vertical load. Bench or cabinet industrial kiln types are usually mounted on an integral floor stand. Continuous industrial kilns tend to be oriented toward automated production for large quantities of small-to-medium sized products.
Front load kilns allow side entry to the heating area for batch processing. This type of industrial kiln is often walk-in or truck-in ovens. Batch units are typically suited for processing larger quantities of material in a single batch. In top loading units, the material is placed down into the heating area. Vertical load industrial kilns are space-saving configurations where entry is gained from a platen that is either raised into the heating area or, as in a bell-lift configuration; the heating area is lowered onto a platen.
Industrial Kilns can be used in many applications including aging, annealing, baking, brazing, curing, firing or sintering, heat treating, hot pressing, laboratory use, preheating, quenching, and sterilizing. Industrial kilns may be used in additional, unlisted applications as well.
When selecting an industrial kiln, there are many different types of heat source options to choose from. Heat sources include arc, combustion, electric or resistance, indirect, induction, infrared or radiant heating, natural gas, propane, and steam. An arc between graphite electrodes and metal generates heat. Both carbon and alloy steels are produced in electric arc furnaces. In combustion heat sources, combusted gas may heat the material being processed directly or indirectly.
Electric or resistance, indirect heat sources, and induction heating are used in industrial kilns. Electric heat sources are powered by electricity and typically utilize factory voltages. Industrial kilns using indirect heat are heated by steam, gas, thermal oil, or hot air. The heated elements transfer their heat to materials that come in contact with them via conduction. In induction heat sources, the components are heated by an alternating magnetic field to a temperature within or above the transformation range followed by immediate quenching.
Other types of heat sources for industrial kilns are infrared or radiant heating, propane, and steam. In infrared heat sources for industrial kilns, radiant heat units are useful for processing surfaces, flat products, or web materials where clear line of sight can be provided. Propane heat, sometimes indicated as liquefied petroleum (LP), is a catchall term for propane, butane, and mixtures of the two. Steam heat sources typically tap off of existing factory steam lines. Other types of heating sources may also be available.
Additional features for industrial kilns are also available including cooling systems, shelving or racks, air filtration, timers, alarms, logging or recording options, explosion proofing, and front panel displays. Other options may also be available depending on the manufacturer.