Oven design takes into consideration the overall plant layout as well as the type and estimated production volume.

Oven Design

What is Oven Design?

Ovens are an integral component of food and other manufacturing processes. Their design takes into consideration the overall plant layout as well as the type and estimated production volume.

In baking operations, ovens are responsible for transferring heat to bring dough pieces to baking temperatures. Baking is a simultaneous heat and mass transfer unit operation.

Heating primarily causes moisture evaporation (drying) and initiates a series of chemical reactions and physical changes in the baked product. To produce and transfer heat, ovens require one or a combination of energy sources, these are:

  • Electricity
  • Fuels (natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas)
  • Steam (generated in a boiler)

An oven is expected to achieve heating at an optimum rate and at the highest efficiency levels. This is essential for minimizing energy waste and operating at maximum capacity.

How does it work?

Ovens are the most critical unit operation in baking plants and can be responsible for limiting their capacity. Therefore, the need for proper oven design to successfully satisfy present and future demands.

No oven can be properly designed without completing the product development phase and understanding the requirements of the products to be baked. Composition, product quality characteristics, physical properties of input/output streams and baking specifications are few of the criteria that should be established.

Phases of oven design1,2

  • Mass and energy balances: flow rates (units or pieces /pounds per batch or min) and composition of input and output streams are determined
  • Baking process modeling: lab-scale experimentation and use of mathematical and empirical expressions (e.g. relevant process variables) to describe the required baking process
  • Process simulation: use of software and engineering data collected during modeling to measure and evaluate the real performance of the baking process

Variables that can be effectively monitored during the process (baking temperature, conveyor speed, bake time, heat flux, air humidity and flow rate) are selected and values are assigned:

  • Equipment sizing: calculation of the size and characteristics of the equipment according to process specifications
  • Equipment rating: calculation and selection of the operating conditions given process specifications and equipment size and characteristics
  • Equipment costs


Relevant considerations for oven design:3,4,5

  • Unit weight of dough pieces/finished product to be processed
  • Product dimensions (width, thickness and length)
  • Capacity/throughput required (according to current demand) plus long-term business...

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