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Infrared Solutions

Infrared Solutions "through Freek by Ceramicx"

In the following product chapter we will show you examples of realized infrared solutions. Get an impression of the variety and gather ideas for your specific industry and application. All these case studies and examples describe real projects carried out by Ceramicx.

As the applications and demands for infrared heat are manifold, there are as many different infrared systems. Sometimes a product absorbs best the long-wave radiation of a ceramic heater, sometimes the short cycle time demands a short-wave halogen heater. If this is a surface treatment, there is a need for deep heating. Finally, surfaces are not always homogeneous and flat or may only be partially heated.

From us you get the heating solution that is best for your application. We offer short wave as well as medium and long wave infrared emitters. We work specifically with reflection and indirect radiation, integrate ventilation, even additional air heaters if the application thus becomes more efficient. You choose whether you only want to buy the platen from us or the complete system including control and heat-resistant conveyer technology. For process control, we use a Siemens control optimized for infrared heating.

Infrared Solutions

Together with our partner Ceramicx Ireland, we have a team of engineers from a wide range of disciplines and work closely together with universities and scientific institutions (Infrared Research).

We once started 25 years ago as R&D cooperation called EUCOPET. Animated with the philosophy "Cooperation Beats Competition" and driven by experimental curiosity we brought light into the darkness of infrared half-truths and established IR heating successfully across industries in numerous HeatWork applications. Being long-term and well-practised "Partners in Process Heat" Ceramicx & Freek are the perfect team to find the right Infrared Solution also for your application.

Joint Freek-Ceramicx stand at K show in Duesseldorf

Ceramicx – "Optimizing Infrared for the Future"
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Infrared Ovens

Through all our experience, Freek and Ceramicx have built up the resources in applications engineering and heatwork development to custom-design and build industrial ovens to meet every customer’s needs. Your choice of oven and its abilities will always be material and process dependant, but whether it’s short, medium, or longwave infrared heat, we’ll design an oven and control system that meets your individual requirements.


Infrared Ovens, Heating Systems and Solutions

For specialist applications and materials testing, our Irish partner for IR heating Ceramicx has the in-house capabilities to build custom-designed industrial infrared ovens and heating solutions to almost any design and specification.

Drawing on a wealth of in-house knowledge and experience in application engineering and heatwork development, each oven is built to precise customer requirements. Each oven or system can be produced to sit within any existing frameworks or as complete, standalone systems capable of integrating into other machinery.

The choice of short, medium, or long wavelengths for any custom oven or heating system will be dependent on your chosen application process. The installed power is always specified to our rule of ‘as much as necessary, as little as possible’.

Ceramicx also keep the entire infrared process under one roof. That way, we’re able to give you an end to end service that takes care of your own unique oven, from modular, precision solutions to custom-built, high temperature ovens for specialist testing.

These case studies are examples of what we have done in the past to give you a better idea of what we can do for you. More than 40 examples of InfraredSolutions


Retrofits, Rebuilds & Upgrades

As leading, infrared specialists, Freek & Ceramicx are experts in the supply of IR systems and components for all infrared industrial ovens. Helping you optomise your existing oven’s potential, our upgrades will ensure your machines productive longevity and efficiency.

Because of our expertise in all areas of infrared heating, we’ve built a dedicated team of experienced infrared engineers to help you. By taking a realistic and cost-effective approach to your specific oven issues, we can give you the best options based on your material and parameters.

Infrared Heating Panel Replacement Oven

Infrared Oven Rebuilds

Your own industrial infrared heating system is only as good as its parts. But even if they begin to fail, there’s no reason that your oven can’t continue to operate just as well, if not better than before.

When rebuilding any heat system in any oven, we will take your measurements, heating requirements and control options and then start to redesign or remanufacture the system.

Being leading infrared heating element and component manufacturers, Freek & Ceramicx always use expertly designed and tested components to their own exacting standards – to bring your oven a new and improved lease of life.

While your infrared oven may no longer fit to provide certain functions, it can be transformed and repurposed to handle any kind of infrared tasks. Here’s how rebuilding your infrared oven can benefit your business and reach the highest standards of processes:

  • Repurpose existing oven for increased energy efficiency
  • Reductions in ongoing oven maintenance and repair costs

Infrared Oven Retrofits and Upgrades

The process of retrofitting your oven means we can help upgrade your oven’s existing heater elements, supported parts, and components to bring them all up to date. Extending the life of your oven, retrofits give you continued use for a longer period of time while meeting criteria and requirements for new processes or standards.

Retrofitting infrared parts for any purpose – from increasing maximum temperatures for specialist R&D materials testing to creating separate zones for optimum heat, speed, and efficiency – our engineers can address whatever process your oven needs to undertake or standard it’s required to meet, improving your entire oven system.

Small component repairs and retrofits to your industrial infrared oven can give it the ability to handle growing demands. Here’s how retrofitting your infrared oven can benefit your business, giving it longevity and new purpose:

  • Lower long term capex investments
  • Repurpose existing oven for new processes
  • Increase oven uptime and energy efficiency
  • Increased oven performance
  • Oven system integration
  • Onsite retrofitting for convenience and efficiency
  • Reductions in ongoing oven maintenance and repair cost

How to Calculate The ROI on Your Oven’s Retrofit, Rebuild, or Upgrade

Whatever industry or sector you’re in, your finances, business circumstances, and oven requirements are as individual as everyone else’s. Your choice of whether to retrofit, rebuild, or upgrade your infrared oven is down to you and your needs, but working through the potential benefits below will help you make that decision.

1. Smooth operation

With the addition of new and refurbished components, parts, or controls, smooth and more continuous oven operation will see a reduction in stoppages, meaning you can produce your product more reliably and more routinely.

See case study

Smooth operation
2. Reduced downtime

A Retrofit, rebuild, or upgrade of a heat system will prolong the life of your infrared oven. After this initial expenditure, you’ll then have reduced oven downtime.

See case study

Reduced downtime
3. Increased speed

Upgrading your infrared oven’s capabilities to cope with higher demands or newer materials will result in increased efficiency and production times. In today’s world production demand is getting faster and smarter. Upgrading may be an important step to manufacture your best product.

See case study

Increased speed
4. Increased revenue potential

Any retrofit, rebuild, or upgrade will give you increased capacity and efficiency, so your potential revenue will increase too. Making sure your oven is working seamlessly at any stage means order scheduling and turnover can be optomised.

See case study

Increased revenue potential
5. Short-term cost for long-term gain

Any retrofit, rebuild, or upgrade investment in your infrared oven and its parts will incur costs, but the long-term returns should outweigh the short-term outlay. We will work with you to make sure your oven will make its money back.

See case study

Short-term cost for long-term gain
6. Improved and energy-efficient processes

Using the latest high spec, infrared parts and components will improve the life of your oven as well as making your processes more energy-efficient. The experts at Freek and Ceramicx look forward to offer their gathered knowledge of heatwork process optimisation for your benefit.

See case study

Improved and energy-efficient processes
7. Benefits beyond the investment

Aside from the financial and process-driven benefits to retrofitting, rebuilding, or upgrading your industrial heating system, you also gain up to date safety compliance, updated and optimised user interface and efficiency, and renewed product warranties.

At Freek, we’re able to help you clarify your needs and answer all your questions to make an informed decision.

Speak to one of our infrared heating experts today by calling +49 2373 9590-0, emailing us on , or contacting one of our engineers through our enquiry page.


Control Systems

The objective in most process heating applications is to match the installed heating load to the process heat requirement as closely as possible. In most situations, the power requirement is overestimated, ensuring there’s always adequate capacity to allow for process variations, and in some cases, to provide a fast thermal response. For this reason, precision control is critical.

The ability to control heat energy output allows the heating process to be fully optimised. With all radiant heat transfer applications there’s a limit to the amount of energy which can be directed at the target over a specific period of time.

Modern manufacturing requires short process times with minimal energy usage. Applying excess heat introduces the risk of surface scorch, making it critical that the heater output can be tuned to provide both process speed and high quality results.

By providing customised controls to suit specific heating applications, Ceramicx offer control solutions that vary in size, from simple, single zone open loop systems to larger, complex multi-zone installations with temperature feedback and closed loop control.

Heating control system solutions can be categorised into three key areas:

  1. Individual zone controllers
  2. Centralised PLC-based control
  3. Open/closed loop

Individual zone controllers

Individual zone controllers are suited to smaller, less complex systems with a typical zone count of 15 or less. Using individual PID temperature controllers for each temperature control zone required, each controller is individually configured, providing a control signal to a solid state relay or similar power switching device.

Control Systems: Individual zone controllers

Solid state relays (SSRs) are solid state switching devices which normally use back to back thyristors/SCRs or triacs for switching AC loads. Ceramicx normally use zero cross SSRs so the device will only switch on and off at the zero point in the sine wave of the ac supply, minimising the initial surge current which helps prevent electromagnetic interference (EMI).

Another advantage of SSRs over conventional mechanical relays is that they can perform millions of switching operations with excellent reliability when specified and utilised correctly.


Centralised PLC-based control

One of the disadvantages with individual zone controllers is that each controller has to be configured individually. Although each controller is configured before leaving the factory, parameters such as setpoint (the desired temperature value) or % power (required zone output on a % time basis) will need to be set by the customer.

Centralised PLC-based control

For a low zone count this shouldn’t be an issue, but for larger systems (potentially containing hundreds of zones) it’s not a practical solution, especially where process conditions and/or requirements are frequently subject to change. In this case, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) provide the best solution.

As a standard control platform for larger multi-zone projects, we use Siemens S7 series controllers (AB on request). A single, human machine interface (HMI) allows the operator to interact with the PLC which can then be programmed to read all process values (temperatures), set process values, configure alarm thresholds, and operator access levels.

The PLC can be used to directly switch SSRs similar to individual zone controllers, and also facilitates the integration of multi-channel power switching hardware. These systems use the same switching technology as SSRs except they’re installed in cards with multiple outputs which can then be mounted in racks.

The total package can be networked to the PLC and offers a considerable space saving inside the electrical enclosure, as well as a reduction in wiring time, and increased functionality and load diagnostics. Systems incorporating PLCs can also be programmed to exchange digital IO with existing equipment or networks directly to plant SCADA software.


Open/closed loop

Both individual zone controllers and PLC-based systems can be programmed to operate in both open and closed loop mode.

Open/closed loop

Open loop control is the simplest and involves basic power control of the heating load without temperature feedback. Ceramicx normally uses time proportional control where the heating load is burst fired, i.e. turned fully on for a period, followed by an off period. For example, a setting of 50% with a 2 second cycle time results in 1 second on and 1 second off.

Closed loop control involves the temperature control of either the heating system or the target object itself. Where temperature control of the heating system is used, a type K thermocouple is normally incorporated into the heating element. This provides temperature feedback to the controller which will then use proportional-integrative-derivative (PID) control in order to operate the heater at the set value.

Closed loop control of the process is also possible. Normally implemented through the use of non-contact infrared thermometers (pyrometers), these can be used to directly measure product temperature.


Heating Process Control Solutions "by Ceramicx"

Ceramicx have the in-house experience and capability to design and build any control enclosure, which includes the required hardware for the control solution that suits your process needs. With most low voltage supply networks catered for, both heating and control systems are fully tested before leaving the factory, helping to ensure seamless integration when installed in the factory.

Heating Process Control Solutions

Where closed loop control from the heater system is used, we ensure the PID functionality is tuned to provide close tolerance temperature control. The supply of ‘quick connect’ plugs and sockets on the heating and control system allows for a short installation time with minimal requirement for skilled electrical personnel wherever possible.


Oven process

Infrared is a cost effective and energy-efficient method of application heating and is used in multiple processes across multiple industry’s and manufacturing sectors around the world. From the curing and thermoforming of composites and plastics to the drying and curing of paints, polymers, and inks, Ceramicx infrared heating technology is key to designing, developing, and building a custom system that provides controlled accuracy and zoned-temperature control.


Conveying

"Reaching a moving target"

42kW Curing Oven

IR heating and conveying systems "made by Ceramicx"...

  • fit into pre-determined production lines, cycle times, packaging and palletisation
  • ensure accurate and efficient line production
  • contain highest standard of engineering and process control
  • convey the best heat solutions to the target bodies / products in the right manner

See case studies
See specific case studies with standard clamshell ovens.


High Speed Thermoforming

"Creating the finished package"

In-Line Thermoforming Oven Solution

High Speed Thermoforming
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In-line thermoforming IR ovens and heat platens "made by Ceramicx"...

  • typically supplied as retrofit heat system for production lines making Fast Moving Consumer Goods
  • average energy savings of 40% along with up to 20% productivity improvement are possible
  • pin point process control and design
  • IR based heat sources – for longevity, reliability and cost down
  • preservation and rejuvenation of expensive capital equipment

See case studies


Cut Sheet Thermoforming

"Boosting quality in large plastic parts"

Cut-Sheet Thermoforming Oven

IR heat platens for cut-sheet thermoforming "made by Ceramicx" allows...

  • elimination of costly legacy issues with tubular and conventional heating
  • pin point process control and design
  • IR based heat sources – for longevity, reliability and cost down
  • preservation and rejuvenation of expensive capital equipment

See case studies


Composite Thermoforming

"Finding the suiting heat work recipe"

Carbon Fiber Heating System For Aerospace

Relying on "Ceramicx" means: ...

  • to benefit from rich experience
  • selecting and adjusting the perfect IR heat source by testing materials and 3D mapping the IR heat flux, both by means of Ceramicx Herschel test instrument
  • 3D measurements and maps of the forming process under IR heat before machine build takes place
  • custom made thermoforming ovens, each specific for particular materials and shapes

See case studies


Drape Forming

"Forming and curing composites out of autoclave"

Infrared heat flux images in increasing distances

The solution: Ceramicx Vector Drape Former!

  • Siemens-controlled 28,8 kW optimised infrared system
  • Five independently controlled heating zones
  • High performance Becker vacuum system with automatic venting
  • Bed size 1400 x 1000 mm
  • Heater bed sizes and trolley options can be customized
  • Alternative to autoclave production to minimize costs and energy consumption

See case studies


Drying and Curing

"From IR emitter to complete production lines"

42kW Curing Oven

Infrared Drying and Curing systems "made by Ceramicx"...

  • ensure a more lasting and quality finish to many products products in final stage production processes
  • enable complex interaction of paints, polymers and inks with substrates of plastics, metals, stone and concrete, paper and other products
  • typically involve pre-drying stages and sophisticated patterns of heat control, together with a "deeper" heat exchange and subsequent chemical/bonding reaction

See case studies "Drying"
See case studies "Curing"


Laminating and Bonding

"Providing the perfect bond with IR heat"

Composite Pre-Heat Oven

"Ceramicx"...

  • IR heat technology is used to weld and fuse materials together, creating rock-stable joints or powerful hybrid material structures
  • can also be used inline to bond various materials together, such as plastic-to-metal or plastic-to-rubber
  • infrared heat/energy exchange is often able to produce bonding and material changes at a chemical level – outperforming the parameters of conventional heating

See case studies


High Temperature Furnace Ovens

"Containing high watt density in a hot box"

Aerospace Industrial R&D Furnace Oven

Tempering in IR ovens "made by Ceramicx"...

  • is ideal for manufacturing that demand high temperature or high energy performance systems
  • utilizes broadband IR radiation provided by a special ceramic background insulation with favourable emission characteristics
  • is recommended for the manufacture of toughened glass or high-value composites

See case studies "High Temperature Furnace Ovens"
See case study "Annealing"


Research and Development Ovens

"Exploring the right IR radiation for material and task"

Aerospace Industrial R&D Furnace Oven

IR test ovens "made by Ceramicx"...

  • can be set up to measure such process parameters as cycle times, cure, adhesion, flash off, shrinkage, forming and other material-based factors
  • base on off the shelf units that can easily be adjusted to specific research and heat work targets
  • utilize interchangeable modules for long, medium and short wave emitters
  • are also available for contract testing by the Ceramicx R&D team

See case studies


Industries

Working with many different industries, Ceramicx engineered, infrared application solutions are built for a wide variety of applications and processes. Through thermoforming, composite moulding, drying, coating, and curing – even specialist testing, Ceramicx custom heating ovens and control systems are used extensively across the aerospace and defence industry, as well as the automotive, construction, and packing industries.

Key Markets for Infrared Systems
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Aerospace & Defense

Aerospace Industrial R&D Furnace Oven

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for aerospace & defence "made by Ceramicx"

Our IR partner Ceramicx has huge experience in working in aerospace & defence industries and has successfully completed several projects where infrared heating has been used to form lightweight aerospace components and substructures.

In addition, we’ve worked together to manufacture and complete test ovens for the aerospace industry, enabling them to further test materials and components needed for production.

The advantages of infrared as a heat source allow aerospace engineers to effectively target a structure and component with the required level of heat which can be easily and accurately monitored to ensure process quality and accuracy.

Ceramicx also worked on specialist heat simulation and heat testing projects for leading OEMs in the aerospace industries. The failsafe requirements needed in this sector mean the heat performance of all new aircraft designs, including engines, fuselage, and other critical components, must be 100% guaranteed fit for purpose.

Infrared heat engineering has a full role to play in this industry and with Ceramicx we are leading the way.

See case studies


Automotive

Bonding Automotive Interiors

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for automotive applications "made by Ceramicx"

Ceramicx has always worked closely with the automotive industry, seeking to provide the accurate temperature control and increased efficiency of infrared heating solutions needed across a range of materials and processes.

Because of the extent of materials used in automotive applications, infrared heating is an increasingly trusted and sought after solution. When temperature control and accuracy is critical, we work with Ceramicx to provide a complete service. Custom heater shapes, allow the production environment to be accurate, efficient, and fast regardless of the convoluted nature of the material.

See case studies


Construction & Built Environment

Ceramic Infrared Panels For A Consistent Drying Process

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for the construction industry "made by Ceramicx"

Infrared heating technology is changing the face of the construction industry. As a dynamic sector, the construction industry is constantly evolving, and the materials being used must develop with it.

Infrared heating solutions have been instrumental in the design and manufacture of new kinds of innovative and weather-resistant products and materials for the construction and building industries.

The role of infrared heat in multi-material bonding is key for applications in industry and domestic environments. From new kinds of plastic and metal pipework to process plant machinery for places and situations of extreme temperature, Freek and Ceramicx can provide solutions that work, even in the most aggressive and demanding of environments.

See case studies


Consumer White Goods

Lightweight Drying System For Food Manufacturers

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for the consumer white goods industry "made by Ceramicx"

Infrared heat technology plays a major part in manufacturing individual components that make up many consumer white goods. Through a range of infrared processes, component parts can be formed, annealed, and dried to ensure strength, quality, and safety when used in the production process.

To help these processes, Freek and Ceramicx are able to design and build custom industrial infrared ovens that can be used independently, or integrated into existing production machinery.

See case studies


Glass

Glass Forming Oven

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for the glass manufacturing industry "made by Ceramicx"

As global appetite for IT, telecoms, and electronics products continues to increase, Freek and Ceramicx have the infrared solutions to meet the industry’s demand for toughened glass.

In partnership with leading OEMs, our IR partner Ceramicx has developed infrared heating expertise that breaks the mould for infrared heat in manufacturing in the glass industry. While traditional silica-based materials and glass objects have typically been energy and cost intensive to manufacture, infrared heat provides efficiency across the board.

While operating at exceedingly high temperatures, Ceramicx industrial ovens deliver pinpoint accuracy of control, helping to form specialist hardness glass and other compounds fit for commercial purposes.

See case studies


Leasure

42kW Curing Oven

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for the leisure industry "made by Ceramicx"

Infrarot als Wärmequelle erfreut sich in vielen Freizeiteinrichtungen immer größerer Beliebtheit, da sich mit dieser Technologie bestimmte Bereiche wie Umkleidekabinen oder Fitnessstudios schnell und effizient beheizen lassen. Ceramicx kann jedoch auch kundenspezifische industrielle Öfen für das Thermoformen entwerfen und herstellen, die dazu beitragen, Produktionsprozesse für Ausrüstungen und Geräte in der Freizeitindustrie zu vereinfachen.

Von eigenständigen Infrarot-Heizsystemen bis hin zu Öfen, die sich in vorhandene Maschinen integrieren lassen, kann Ceramicx maßgeschneiderte Beheizungslösungen realisieren, die individuellen Prozessanforderungen gerecht werden.

See case studies


Food & Drink Packaging

Annealing and Stress Relief Oven

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for food & drink packaging "made by Ceramicx"

Infrared heating technology is at the heart of the food packaging industry. This is valid all the more since the world of packaging is fast changing as companies become more responsive to consumers and more conscious of energy costs and environmental needs.

Packaging is a sector where Ceramicx are designing and building custom infrared thermoform heating systems for packaging clients around the world. Helping them to manufacture their products quickly, our IR heat technology also means production is completed with precision control, minimal waste and energy efficiently.

The world’s leading packaging companies trust in Ceramicx‘ award-winning IR heat technology and the reason is simple: IR heat sources reduce both running cost and carbon footprint. A retrofit system from Ceramicx typically reduces energy consumption on a production line by some 40% and can increase production by as much as 20%.

See case studies


Textiles

Composite Pre-Heat Oven

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for the textile industry "made by Ceramicx"

In the textile industry, heating and drying processes have significant involvement in the manufacture and processing of complex textiles and composite materials.

With industry demands on heating systems increasing, it’s essential for heating processes to evolve alongside the manufacturing processes. As infrared is a proven and reliable heat source in textile processing, thanks to its speed and versatility, this is where Ceramicx custom IR heating solutions play a big role.

With specialist knowledge and experience, Freek and Ceramicx can design and build custom heating solutions to process materials quickly and efficiently. From coating, laminating, and drying textiles to dealing with carbon composite materials, a custom system can reduce energy consumption, increase production, and lower costs, all with a fast heat up time and precision control.

See case studies


Other

Clamshell Oven

Freek offers bespoke infrared heating solutions for other industry "made by Ceramicx"

Besides named industries there are many others that benefit from our IR solutions engineering.

See case studies



Downloads:

  • Chapter Infrared Heaters
    Chapter Infrared Heaters

    Contact free heating, various wave lengths: Direct heating of materials and surfaces. We offer a huge standard range for every type of infrared radiation in different models.


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