I am looking for an impingement oven to cure small metal parts, and I was curious the difference between the counter top and free standing units. Mainly the Lincoln 1100 / 1300 series and star ultramax series. I plan to take the conveyor system out and put in rails to slight mesh trays into the oven for curing. I need an electric set up, and if it works out I will probably move to a 3 oven set up, not stacked, but put in a row to do the 3 phases of coating.
Thanks for your input.
Size and ability to profile the air flow are the main differences. The counter top ovens have very linited ability to change finger profiles due to their short length, while the larger ovens will have from four to five different finger arrangements across both the top and bottom of the oven. In your application (powder coating/color case hardening?) this isn’t an issue so at least in theory it should work for you, but do be aware of the high airflow properties of these ovens. This can be addressed by using block off plates to stop the airflow thus turning the oven into an infrared oven, or you can also buy an infrared oven from the get-go. You will need to see if the conveyor speeds will allow for a sufficiently long bake (cure) time for your application too.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
Not powder coating. Curing a two part epoxy with a dry lubricant in it. Powder coating would be easy, ovens are cheap, but they are not vented and could cause an issue with build up with certain gases with the coating being used.
I want lots of air flow, the more the better. That is why I am looking into an air impingement oven. The practice is common in Australia to use pizza ovens for curing.
I will take the conveyor assembly out, and put rails in to slide the trays through. So conveyor speed is not important. The conveyor is not strong enough to handle the loads I would be putting on it. I wish someone made a pass through oven without a conveyor! I thought about the deck ovens, but I don’t know how well the ventilation is on them and it will be easier to just slide the trays through with extended rails and keep on pushing than to take trays in and out.
Are you familiar with the Garland ADO (air deck oven)? This is an air impingement oven without a conveyor so it is manually operated like a deck oven. All of these commercial ovens are ventilated but since yours is a special application you would need to get some specs on the oven to see if the ventilation is sufficient for your needs. Also, keep in mind that many of the Middleby-Marshall air impingement ovens are designed to be linked together to form what they refer to as a triad for three ovens or four of them can be linked to form a quad. Probably the best option for an approach like this would be with their PS-360 series oven. They are an older series, but still supported, and best of all, they are available on the used equipment market so they can be had at very reasonable prices. Another thing to keep in mind is that since you won’t be using the conveyors in these ovens you might not be limited to using just the M-M ovens, as you should be able to use just about any manufacturers ovens placed together to give you the desired “zoning” effect. Your two best options will probably be with either M-M or Lincoln Ovens since they have been around for so long and so many of their ovens are out there as used ovens. Another thing to keep in mind is that all air impingement ovens are not the same when it comes to airflow properties. It’s all in the finger configuration. Some are used to bake seafood and when used in this application the airflow is greatly reduced by using a different finger configuration from that which is used for baking pizzas. So my suggestion is that you should become thoroughly knowledgeable in identifying the top and bottom finger configuration in any oven you’re looking at to buy to make sure it is flowing enough air for your application. The fingers can be changed out but at an additional cost of about $100.00 U.S. per finger. Also, while the top and bottom fingers may look alike, they are not interchangeable. You can contact the manufacturers for information on the fingers and how to pull them for inspection, and if there is a local food show where the oven manufacturers will be represented you can ask them to show you how to pull and inspect the top and bottom fingers.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor
The Garland ADO cost more than the Lincoln 1100 series ovens, which would be the ideal oven. The reason I was interested in the star Holland is you can get an oven with the same dimensions for 1/2 the cost. I have been looking into different used Lincolns, but I haven’t found many used Middleby-Marshals.
It needs to be electric, or I can find all kinds of deals on gas ovens! Seems like most places upgrade their gas ovens every couple of years.