Industrial Curing Ovens: Choosing Between Continuous Process and Batch Curing Ovens

Industrial curing ovens provide heated curing for everything from foam dashboard components to composite aviation parts to assemblies held together with adhesives. These ovens can be used for finishing processes like flashing off painted surfaces, drying parts that have been washed or chemically pretreated, and curing parts that have been painted or powder coated. They are also used for heat treating metals and conditioning parts or raw materials.

There are two popular types of industrial curing ovens: continuous process ovens, sometimes called constant process ovens, and batch ovens. Continuous process ovens use a powered transport method, like an overhead conveyor, to move parts through the oven at a predetermined rate. Batch ovens are typically loaded with “batches” of parts or materials using carts, skates, or manual conveyors. Continuous process ovens may use ware openings in the equipment that allow parts to constantly move in and out without significant heat loss. Batch ovens will typically have insulated doors that are opened and closed as parts are loaded in or removed.

 

Continuous curing ovens are well-suited for situations that require less material handling and have fewer changes between materials or part sizes. These ovens typically require only a single operator, unlike batch ovens that may need workers to open and close the oven doors, manually transport the items being cured, and make adjustments when the parts or materials change. Constant process curing ovens tend to be more economical in the long run when dealing with a large volume of similar parts or materials, even though batch ovens cost much less and are more versatile.

 

Batch ovens are usually significantly less expensive than continuous curing oven systems, in part because they can be smaller. If you have a 40-minute curing routine and you need a transport rate of 4 feet per minute to meet your throughput requirements, you’ll need an oven large enough to allow the parts to travel 160’ inside the oven. If the parts are done in batches, it may be possible to process the same number of parts or more in an oven that is only 25’ long. This is because the parts can be left in place for the duration of the curing process. Batch curing ovens also offer a better solution when space is at a premium because the parts being loaded into them don’t have to move the same way every time and can be left in a staging area or moved around objects that are in their way when it is time to load or unload them. Unlike continuous process ovens, batch ovens are often loaded with parts that are transported on wheeled carts instead of parts that are being moved along a specific path via a powered conveyor.

 

Batch curing ovens work well when the volume of work is limited, or the parts being cured are varied. If your parts vary significantly in size or density, or you work with a variety of materials, it is challenging to efficiently utilize a constant process curing oven because the heating environment, airflow pattern, dwell time, and curing parameters cannot be substantially changed. This challenge is easily solved by curing different types of parts or materials in separate batches. You can change the control parameters to adjust for the curing specifications of each batch based on the size, density, material, and other traits of the particular load you are processing.

 

To get the best results, you need an accurate assessment of your exact curing needs. When determining the ideal curing solution for your application, you’ll need to know the details of the thermal processing routine you want to implement and how to integrate it into your workflow plans. You’ll also need to decide how much shop space you can use and what your budget will be for the curing equipment.

 

Reliant focuses on equipment solutions that are the best fit for your specific budget, workspace, and curing requirements. Our specialists will send you a free survey that asks about your throughput goals, the size of your parts, and the materials you’ll be working with, as well as your shop space, workflow, and budget. Once we get the information we need, our team will review the material and develop the most effective solutions for you. After we explain the solutions in detail, we will discuss acquisition timelines and installation requirements with you. Our goal is to assure that the solution you choose will smoothly and effectively integrate the curing process into your specific production environment.