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10 Ways to Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Industrial Oven or Dryer

December 3, 2012

Energy efficient features on your industrial oven can drastically reduce energy use and operating costs.

Here are 10 easy energy-savers to specify when buying an industrial oven.

  1. Energy Saving Mode. Like your clothes dryer at home or overdrive on your car, energy-saver mode uses less electricity for most applications, but you still have more power available when you need it.  Decrease your peak demand charge and save big on your energy bill (Fig #1).
  2. Adjustable Exhaust Rate:  Usually, an exhaust fan removes solvent vapors, moisture, or combustion byproducts. Adjust your exhaust fans with a manual damper or variable frequency drive. Set them to the minimum necessary. 
  3. Heat Recovery System:  Exhaust air carries heat energy.  A heat recovery system or heat exchanger recovers that energy from exhaust air and returns it to the oven (Fig #2). Your oven purchase may even qualify for a rebate from your local utility company. 
  4. Humidity Control System: A humidity control system senses oven humidity and varies the exhaust rate of your oven or dryer to the absolute minimum necessary to dry your product. This is especially valuable when many different materials and moisture levels are loaded..
  5. Lower Explosive Limit (LEL) Monitor:  The LEL (or solvent monitor) senses flammable vapors in the oven and sounds an alarm before they reach a dangerous level. Reduce your exhaust volume by half and still meet National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) code if you use an LEL monitor.
  6. Insulate Insulate Insulate: Reduce oven heat lost through the walls by using thicker insulation. Just 2” of added insulation can save thousands of dollars in energy costs over the life of the equipment.  Older ovens often have areas where insulation has settled or broken down.  Feel your oven.  If you have hot areas on the exterior, these areas should be repaired to maintain optimum efficiency.
  7. Seal Oven Openings: Seal the area where your parts enter and exit the heating chamber. High temperature curtains, powered air seals, or unheated vestibules help retain heat (Fig #3). Even a small leak wastes a lot of energy.
  8. Variable Speed Recirculation Fan: Use a variable frequency drive to power the recirculation fan.  Ramp up your fan’s RPM as the oven heats up. Once heated, your fan can move the lighter air easier.  By matching the motor horsepower with the fan speed, the motor can operate at its optimum HP and achieve maximum efficiency.
  9. Idle Mode. Use idle mode for pauses in production, for tooling changes, or for operator rest breaks. During idle mode, the temperature is temporarily reduced so it uses less energy.  If your oven does not have idle mode, it can be added to an existing unit.
  10. Maintain Your Equipment: Proper maintenance will significantly impact your energy costs.  Keep filters and blowers clean. Follow burner gas pressure and combustion airflow rates set forth in your equipment manual. Burners set too rich (gas/air ratio) waste gas.  

Follow these 10 simple steps to really “Go Green” – green for the environment, and green for your bottom line. 

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