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Need to reduce Power bill for infrared oven

(-----) November 25, 2021

Q. Hello Gentlemen hope all is fine. I have built an oven with 16 units 48" long infrared heater elements from Vulcan. They are rated at 2150-watts each. Now my oven is 7ft-5" wide X 7ft-5" High and 9ft-5" deep.

61362-1a   61362-1b   61362-1c  

It does the job At 376 °F in 30 min. But the power company said I went over the normal KWH. And the power bill is crazy! Any ideas to help to reduce this bill?
Maybe I need to change something?
Thank you, Guill/Guillermo

Guillermo Hechevarria
Manufacturer - Pembroke Pines, Florida

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Ed. note: As always, gentle readers, technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please ( huh? why?)

November 2021

A. Hi Guill. Unfortunately Vulcan requires registration and authorization to use my contact info for marketing purposes before I can view any of their products ... so I can't see info on the units you are referring to. But 2150 Watts x 16 units = 34,400 W. To give you a general feel in terms of other things you might be used to, this is 50% more in one hour than my home consumes in an average day; so it's probably more than home consumes in a day either.

I don't think the answer is to attempt power factor manipulation, or use the oven in non-peak hours ... I think you should try to figure out how to use less power by turning off some of the heaters or cycling through them, and accepting a longer cure time.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

December 1, 2021

A. This is a common issue worldwide over the past 6 months with world energy prices increasing.
When you power Co said you "went over the normal kWh", I wonder what they meant? Perhaps the normal was pre-oven days? Installing a larger consumer of power will surely increase your consumption. You didn't say what finish you're applying - powder or liquid? Infra-red is relying on your design of oven "shining" IR energy onto the work pieces. In this case small frames like window frames, they don't have a lot of surface area, so most of the IR radiation will spill over and round the items, hitting the booth walls. From there is will reflect off towards other walls and generally heat up the booth, despite its nice shiny surface. But IR advantage is that its on or off, and you don't need to preheat the oven.
But for all the "on" time, you are going to consume at a rate of 34.4 kW. The elements are largely resistive, so powder factor correction probably won't help much. What would help is loading the oven more so that the energy sprayed out by the elements gets absorbed more by the work and less by the walls. You can think of it like light. Where does the light fall? On the desired place or elsewhere and get wasted?

Geoff Crowley
Crithwood Ltd.
supporting advertiser
Bathgate, Scotland, UK
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December 1, 2021

thumbs up sign Thank you, all we do is Powdercoat..

Guillermo Hechevarria [returning]
Manufacturer - Pembroke Pines, Florida

December 10, 2021

A. Hello Guillermo

Not sure if it is practical for you or not but one possible way of reducing the cost of electricity is to process in the off peak hours. Let me explain: when I worked at a previous metal finisher (hard anodize) in the past, they did all their processing at night, meaning like 6:00PM to 4:00 AM. They saved tons of money by processing at night. You would have to determine how much rearranging you would have to do but it is one option.

Philip J. Verzal
Saporito Finishing Co.
supporting advertiser
Cicero, Illinois

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