Infrared Advantages

  • Rapid heating of material
  • Shorter curing times
  • Excellent controllability
  • Small equipment footprint
  • Energy efficient when compared to conventional thermal processes

 

Background

Industrial applications of electric infrared heating were first introduced in the mid 1930s by the Ford Motor Company to cure paint on auto bodies. Today, infrared processes can be found in all segments of industrials doing a wide variety of tasks such as:

  • Heat setting of fabrics
  • Thermoforming of plastics
  • Curing paints and adhesives
  • Drying
  • Tempering glass
  • Annealing metals
  • Sintering
  • Incinerating organics to clean substrates
Infrared's greatest advantage is in its ability to heat materials faster than conventional hot air convection systems and with better process control.

Short wave infrared emitter.

Medium wave infrared emitter.

 

Long wave infrared emitter.

 

How Infrared Works

Infrared's greatest advantage is in its ability to heat materials faster than conventional hot air convection systems and with better process control.

One of the first forms of heat transfer we encounter every morning is radiant infrared energy. The warmth of the sun is infrared energy that has traveled 93 million miles through space and does not actually become heat until absorbed by you and surrounding objects. Every object with a temperature above absolute zero emits infrared energy. The hotter the object emitting this infrared energy, called a heating source, the greater the amount of radiant energy given off by the source. In industrial applications, IR sources operate at temperatures between 600° F - 4200° F. (It is very important to understand that these temperatures should not be confused with oven set point temperatures or any other temperature requirement related to your product or process.) The radiant output increases with the temperature of the IR source. Infrared is classified into and described in terms of three wavelengths: short wave, medium wave, and long wave.

There are a few other things you need to know about infrared. First, understand that infrared energy is absorbed, reflected, or transmitted. For an object to be heated by infrared, some portion of the energy must be absorbed. Once the energy is absorbed, the heat is generated at the surface and conduction heat transfer takes over to complete the heating process of the material. Second, the relationship between reflectivity and absorption is called emissivity. Emissivity is a scaling factor from 0 to 1 that describes how well a material will absorb infrared energy. An emissivity approaching 1 says that the material will easily absorb infrared and will heat up quickly. A last thing to know is called color sensitivity which describes the role color has in determining the absorption and reflectivity of infrared. While color sensitivity can play a role in the design of an infrared curing system, almost all issues associated with color can be addressed by proper selection of infrared emitters and controls.

 

 

The TACs can demonstrate most wavelengths and watt densities commonly sold by infrared manufacturers. A wide variety of horizontal conveyer and vertical clam shell infrared ovens are used to demonstrate infrared advantages, as well as for product testing. 

The TAC staff can assist you in evaluating this technology for implementation into your process such as paint drying, water dry-off, powder paint curing, part recovery (burn-off), mold heating thermoforming, pre-heat and metal working.

Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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