How a Conveyor Furnace Works
A conveyor furnace is designed for the rapid heat treatment of products in various manufacturing environments. They comprise an overarching tunnel-shaped heating chamber which is separated into different heating modules which integrate several heating processes into one continuous procedure, using a conveyor belt capable of withstanding extreme and fluctuating temperatures. The internal heating modules are typically separated into sections for pre-heating, heating and / or firing, and cooling products passing through the chamber. Each of these sections must perform to varying specifications, requiring exceptional thermal insulation and efficient heating elements capable of treating components or products at temperatures of up to 1832°F (1000°C).
This article will explore the working principles of a basic conveyor furnace in more detail:
Components of a Conveyor Furnace
A conveyor furnace is designed to integrate several stages of product heat treatment into a single, useable piece of machinery, which operates continuously to improve factory throughput. Due to the wide application of conveyor furnaces, their schematics vary. The furnace structure is always centered around the thermally resistant, mesh conveyor , which is loaded from an accessible entrance table. However, the heating modules used are not uniform and different processes may require additional sections for specific processes. For the purposes of brevity and clarity, this article will discuss some of the most common heating modules.
Typically, after a product or component has been loaded onto the conveyor, it will first be carried into a pre-heating chamber with fully-tunable heating rates and high degrees of control accuracy. This is crucial to reduce the danger of thermal shock damage in subsequent sections of the conveyor furnace.
A binder burnout section commonly follows the pre-heating chamber. This is designed to uniformly and quickly heat a product to remove polymeric binders from the material. Carrying out binder burnout processes necessitates exceptionally consistent heat distribution throughout the chamber to ensure that binders are evenly removed from a product or component, otherwise there is a risk of warping, cracking, or interior distortion.
The primary firing chamber conventionally follows the binder burnout section. In the firing chamber, products or components can be heated to the temperatures required for effective curing, sintering, or treatment. This module will differ depending upon the product or component dimensions and eventual applications, but resistant mesh conveyors can be custom designed to varying specifications.
After the firing chamber, products or components are carried through a cooling module. Afterwards, they can swiftly be extracted from the conveyor furnace.
Applications of Conveyor Furnaces
Conveyor belt furnaces are commonly used in thick film deposition and metallization processes. These are crucial to produce photovoltaic cells for industrial or commercial application. They are also used for metal and ceramic sintering, in which the binder burnout section is crucial to avoid retention of binder polymers that can substantially reduce the mechanical properties of these materials.
Conveyor Furnaces from Thermcraft
Thermcraft are market leaders in the development and manufacture of high-throughput industrial furnaces for various industrial applications. We have custom-built industrial conveyor furnaces to unique conditions, including: full-automation; comprehensively larger conveyor dimensions; variable speed belt drives; and overtemperature protection.