Everything You Need to Know About Controlling Your Kiln

An in-depth guide to industrial kilns and industrial kiln control
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Scott Shannon

What is an Industrial Kiln? Understanding Commercial Kilns, Furnaces, and Ovens

Kilns aren’t just limited to home and studio applications. Industrial kilns, or commercial kilns, are used in a wide variety of industrial processes. From mass producing ceramic tableware to processing plastic, industrial kilns are used to create many of the objects you use in day-to-day life.

Compared to kilns for personal or artistic use, industrial kilns are typically much larger and more powerful, designed to process large quantities of materials in industrial settings. Designed for mass production and commercial use, industrial kilns are often permanently installed and capable of reaching extremely high temperatures.

Example of a front-loading commercial kiln.

Industries That Use Commercial Kilns

Industrial kilns, furnaces, and ovens are used across a wide variety of industrial sectors including:

  • Ceramic: Industrial kilns are used in the ceramic industry to produce tableware, pottery, tile, and other ceramic products.
  • Glass: Industrial glass kilns, furnaces, and annealers are used in the glass industry to produce windows, sheet glass, drinkware, bottles, mirrors, and more.
  • Construction and Building Materials Manufacturing: In the construction industry, commercial kilns and heat treat ovens are used to produce brick, tiles, windows, machinery, tools, and other building materials.
  • Metal Processing and Manufacturing: Industrial heat treat ovens and furnaces are used to process metal for a wide variety of applications including, but not limited to, knifemaking, jewelry production, and silverware manufacturing.
  • Plastic Processing and Manufacturing: The plastic processing and manufacturing industry uses commercial kilns to heat raw material into finished or semi-finished plastic products.
  • Food Industry: In the food industry, industrial kilns and commercial ovens are used to dry, cook, and process food.
  • Waste Management: The waste management industry uses commercial furnaces for incineration, recycling, and energy recovery.

However, these are just a few of the industries that use industrial kilns, furnaces, and ovens. Kilns and ovens are also used in the medical, pharmaceutical, electronic, automotive, military and defense, and aerospace industries (among countless others!).

Read more about the history of industrial kilns.

The Differences Between Industrial Kilns, Furnaces, and Ovens

When it comes to commercial thermal processing equipment, there are three main categories: kilns, furnaces, and ovens. Superficially, all these terms can be used interchangeably. However, typically, each of these terms is used to denote equipment used for specific use-cases or to describe equipment capable of reaching specific temperatures:

  • Industrial Kiln: More likely to be used to describe thermal processing units used to process ceramics or glass. Typically used to describe units that reach maximum temperatures of approximately 1400° C (2552° F).
  • Industrial Furnace: More likely to be used to describe thermal processing units used for metal heat treatment and metallurgy. Often used to describe units that reach peak temperatures exceeding 1400° C (2552° F), all the way up to 1750° C (3182° F).
  • Industrial Oven: More likely to be used to describe thermal processing units used for the food, electronic, medical, and pharmaceutical sectors. Often used to describe units whose processes don’t result in a fundamental phase change (such as drying, moisture reduction, and bakeout).

Industrial Kiln Controllers

Commercial kilns are “industrial grade,” which means they have more stringent requirements for kiln safety and input and output precision. Industrial kiln controllers, also known as ICS (Industrial Control Systems) kiln controllers, must be capable of executing a variety of complex firing schedules with extreme precision.

The TAP Kiln Controller is the most advanced industrial kiln controller, with precise input and output precision.

The TAP Kiln Controller by SDS Industries includes a variety of features and benefits for industrial kiln usage, such as:

  • PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) control algorithms to ensure maximum accuracy between temperature input and output.
  • Multizone temperature control to set specific temperatures in up to three different areas of an industrial kiln or oven.
  • The ability to create, store, edit and execute an infinite number of firing profiles.
  • The ability to remotely monitor commercial kilns and edit and execute firing processes through the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app.
  • Advanced diagnostics and preventative maintenance alerts to ensure peak performance for industrial thermal processes.
  • High quality components for maximum precision and durability.

Read more about the roles and functions of industrial kiln controllers.

Explore Industrial Kiln Controllers by SDS Industries

The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries are the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use industrial kiln controllers on the market today. With responsive touchscreen controls, an intuitive graphical UI, and integration with the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app, TAP Kiln Controllers can pair with any relay-controlled kiln or oven to allow you to easily manage and execute your kiln firing schedules.

We invite you to explore our selection of programmable industrial kiln controllers, standalones, and conversion kits on our online store. You can also purchase TAP Digital Controllers or TAP Controlled Kilns and Heat Treat Ovens through one of the following distributors:

Shop industrial kiln controllers for sale

CTA: Choose the Most Advanced Industrial Kiln Controllers


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