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Understanding Electric Kiln Temperature Controllers

Guide for understanding electric kiln temperature controllers.

As an artist, your electric kiln temperature controller will have the single biggest impact on how you experience using your kiln. But there are a lot of different electric kiln control options to choose from! This can be super intimidating for newer artists – or even long-time artists who want to upgrade their controller but aren’t sure about what options are available.

This article is designed to help you understand electric kiln temperature controllers and to help you decide what benefits and features you’d like for your kiln or oven build!

The Role of Electric Kiln Temperature Controllers

Electric kiln temperature controllers are the primary point of interface between artists and their kiln or heat treat oven. Kiln controllers receive inputs from the artist, as well as the kiln’s thermocouples, and then sends outputs to the kiln’s relay to make sure the kiln’s elements reach the correct temperature.

The TAP Kiln Controller is an advanced multi-zone electric kiln temperature controller
The TAP Kiln Controller is an advanced multi-zone electric kiln temperature controller with intuitive touchscreen controls.

Types of Electric Kiln Temperature Controllers Inputs

Different kiln controllers provide different methods for artists to enter these inputs. These range from the dials and knobs of manual controllers or complicated 3-key and 12-key automatic controllers, to the sleek, easy-to-use touchscreen controls of the programmable kiln controllers in the TAP Ecosystem.

Electric kiln temperature controllers can be manual or automatic. For manual controllers, it’s up to the artist to constantly adjust the temperature and monitor hold times to progress through their firing schedules. With automatic controllers, the artist just enters or selects their firing schedule in advance, and the controller executes the entire firing schedule without requiring any additional inputs.

Electric kiln temperature controllers can also be single setpoint or multi-setpoint. Multi-setpoint controllers execute firing schedules with multiple steps and specific hold times. Single setpoint controllers only bring the kiln to a specified temperature – and that’s it. However, with most heat treat processes, cooling occurs outside the kiln after each setpoint, so a single setpoint is all you need!

TAP II is an advanced single zone electric kiln temperature controller.
TAP II is a streamlined multi-setpoint controller for single zone electric kilns.

Remote Electric Kiln Temperature Controllers

The most recent advancement in electric kiln temperature controllers came in 2016 when SDS Industries released the first iteration of TAP Kiln Control Mobile. For the first time ever, TAP Kiln Control Mobile gave artists the ability to remotely control their kiln and monitor temperature from their smartphone and tablet.

While other kiln controller manufacturers have released mobile apps in the years since, as of this blog, TAP Kiln Control Mobile is by far the highest reviewed app and the only one that offers true remote control. TAP Kiln Control Mobile gives artists the ability to make real-time firing adjustments, create and edit full schedules from your phone, as well as a premium option for remote start.

All of the electric kiln temperature controllers and pyrometers in the TAP Ecosystem integrate with TAP Kiln Control Mobile to give artists more freedom, flexibility, and peace of mind.

Purchasing an Electric Kiln Temperature Controller for Your Kiln or Oven Build

Once you decide what kind of input method you want for your electric kiln temperature controller, you also have to purchase the kiln controller configuration that fits your kiln or oven build. Electric kiln temperature controllers are generally sold in three different configurations. The configuration that’s right for you will depend on whether you’re building a new kiln or heat treat oven, you’re replacing an existing automatic controller, or you’re upgrading a manual kiln to automatic controls.

Below is a quick summary of each option.

Digital Kiln Controllers (Controller Only)

On the SDS Industries online shop, items on the Digital Kiln Controller page only contain the controller itself and a wiring harness pigtail (as well as a selected faceplate type for TAP and TAP II).

Buying an electric kiln temperature controller in this configuration is a good option for competent DIYers who have knowledge of kiln controller wiring diagrams and are comfortable splicing wires. This is also a good option for if you’re working on a new kiln or oven build (which you definitely shouldn’t do if you’re not a competent DIYer!).

The good news is that for the average kiln user, there are typically easier options! We’ll be describing those in the following sections.

The TAP Monitor is an advanced digital pyrometer and limit controller for electric kilns.
The TAP Monitor – an advanced digital pyrometer and limit controller for electric kilns – is available as a configurable digital controller or as a plug-and-play standalone.

Conversion Kits

If you have an existing automatic electric kiln temperature controller that you’re looking to upgrade, then by far the easiest option is to purchase a conversion kit! With a conversion kit, all you do is select the automatic controller you’re looking to upgrade, and then you’ll receive a kit that contains a new electric kiln controller, as well as everything you need for a plug-and-play installation.

In most cases, all you’ll need is a screwdriver! However, on rare occasions minimal modification to your kiln may be necessary.

Standalone Kiln Controllers

Standalone kiln controllers are similar to conversion kits in that they’re designed to be plug-and-play with no or minimal modifications to your kiln. However, while conversion kits are made for upgrading existing automatic controllers, standalone kiln controllers are designed for upgrading existing manual controllers.

Buying a New Kiln with The Controller of Your Choice

Additionally, if you’re in the market for a new electric kiln, you may have more options for your kiln controller than you think! While TAP is included as a default option on a number of kiln brands (check out our partners below!), some kiln manufacturers don’t include TAP as a default pre-installed option… yet.

If you’re shopping for a new kiln from a brand that doesn’t offer TAP Kiln Controllers as a pre-installed option, we encourage you to reach out to them and ask them about TAP. Then, feel free to email us at info@kilncontrol.com and we’re happy to try to facilitate a 1:1 install for the kiln of your choice.

Afterall, if you’re purchasing a new kiln, you shouldn’t have to settle for a kiln controller that doesn’t offer easy-to-use touchscreen controls, the convenience of being able to create and save an unlimited number of firing schedules, and the convenience and flexibility of remote kiln control!

Explore Electric Kiln Temperatures Controllers by SDS Industries

The TAP Ecosystem includes a host of solutions to enhance kiln safety and help you prevent (or safely respond to) kiln relay failure. In addition to being the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use programmable digital kiln controllers on the market today, the TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide advanced diagnostics, preventative maintenance alerts, and remote real-time kiln monitoring and error alerts via the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app.

We invite you to explore our selection of programmable kiln controllers, pyrometers, 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 the most advanced programmable digital kiln controllers for sale.

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How Safety Limit Controllers Help with Kiln Safety

Safety limit controllers enhance kiln safety by automatically shutting off your kiln if it exceeds a certain temperature.

Kilns get hot! When it comes to kiln safety, using a safety limit controller helps ensure that a kiln automatically shuts off if it exceeds a pre-defined temperature.

Safety Limit Controllers and Safety Redundancy

While advanced process controllers like TAP and TAP II have max temperature safety shutoff, you’re still entrusting the safety of yourself, your household, and your property to a single layer of safety measures.

With proper maintenance, high quality programmable kiln controllers, kiln relays, and thermocouples are extremely reliable. However, they do fail from time to time.

Watch SDS Industries’ President Scott Shannon explain the pros and cons of different types of relays.

Adding a safety limit controller (like TAP Monitor) to your kiln or oven build, adds a layer of safety redundancy. Wiring a safety limit controller to a redundant safety relay ensures that your kiln safely shuts off even if your primary controller or relay fails.

Benefits of Remote Temperature Monitoring

In addition to acting as a safety limit controller, TAP Monitor is also a pyrometric device that adds precise remote temperature monitoring to your kiln or oven build – even if you’re using a manual kiln or an automatic controller from a less advanced temperature controller manufacturer.

With the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App, you can monitor kiln temperature, receive push notifications alerts and alarms, and view real-time firing graphs – even if you have to step away from your project.

This is not only extremely convenient, but it adds an additional layer of kiln safety, keeping you immediately informed of any discrepancies in your firing schedule.

Do I Need a Safety Limit Controller?

Safety limit controllers are much more common in industrial kiln and industrial control system (ICS) applications. Most at home and studio kiln and oven builds don’t include a safety limit controller. And this is usually fine most of the time (especially if you use solid state relays and your primary kiln controller includes max temp safety shutoff).

However, like most safety devices, when you need a safety limit controller, you really need one. A small investment in a safety limit controller potentially protects your property, your health, and will save you massive amounts of money in a worst-case scenario.

If you’re still using a manual kiln or an outdated automatic kiln controller (which includes most kiln controllers currently on the market), we strongly encourage you to invest in a safety limit controller that adds max temperature safety shutoff, precise pyrometric monitoring, and remote kiln monitoring.

Adding TAP Monitor Safety Limit Controller & Pyrometer to Your Kiln or Oven Build

SDS Industries, known for creating the most advanced, easy-to-use automatic kiln controllers, is releasing a safety limit controller and digital pyrometer. TAP Monitor, which is releasing in several months, is already available for pre-order.

TAP Monitor is available as a set of DIY components that can be wired directly to a safety relay (starting at $97.50) to act as a combination safety limit controller and digital pyrometer, or as a plug-and-play standalone remote pyrometer that includes a type K thermocouple and a 2.4” capacitive touchscreen (available for $265).

TAP Monitor is an advanced digital pyrometer that brings precise temperature measuring and remote monitoring to any kiln or heat treat oven.

Both configurations improve kiln safety, but they’re also an affordable way to modernize kiln builds that don’t include precise, remote temperature monitoring. TAP Monitor provides a host of benefits (regardless of the type of kiln control method you currently use):

  • Protect yourself and your family by wiring TAP Monitor to a safety relay to provide redundant safety shutoff.
  • Have peace of mind by knowing the exact temperature of your kiln, oven, or forge every step of the way (via TAP Kiln Control Mobile).
  • Save time and effort by knowing the state of your kiln no matter where you are.
  • Ensure more consistent outcomes and enjoy added convenience by upgrading your existing automatically or manually controlled kiln to include precise, real-time digital temperature readings.


Explore Kiln Control Solutions by SDS Industries

In addition to the TAP Monitor Safety Limit Controller, the TAP Ecosystem includes a variety of programmable kiln controllers that give artists complete control of their kilns. The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide users the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use programmable digital 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.

We invite you to explore our selection of programmable kiln controllers, pyrometers, 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:

CTA for TAP Kiln Controller Shop Pages

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The Difference Between a Limit Controller and a Process Controller

Learn more about the difference between limit controllers and process controllers.

When it comes to kiln temperature controllers, there are two broad categories: process controllers and limit controllers. So, what’s the difference?

Process Controllers vs Limit Controllers: Function & Use Cases

If you use an at home kiln or a studio kiln, chances are you’re more familiar with a process controller. Process controllers, also known as programmable digital controllers, automatically adjust kiln temperature to execute kiln firing schedules with very little user involvement.

Limit controllers, on the other hand, are currently more commonly used with ICS control systems, industrial kilns, and manual kilns. Also known as high limit or safety limit controllers, limit controllers monitor kiln temperature and ensure that the kiln automatically shuts off if the kiln exceeds a specified temperature.

Process controllers execute process; limit controllers enforce limits. Process controllers are a primary kiln control method. Limit controllers, while not usually suitable to be the primary control method, are an important part of kiln safety and can protect you, your equipment, and your property in the case of relay or system failure.

The TAP II Kiln Controller is an example of a process controller that allows users to automatically execute full firing schedules.
The TAP II Kiln Controller is an example of a process controller that allows kiln operators to automatically execute full firing schedules.

 

If I Already Have a Process Controller Why Would I Need a Limit Controller?

If you’re reading this article and you already have a process controller, you might be asking: Why would I need a limit controller?

The answer? Safety.

Even though advanced kiln controllers, such as TAP and TAP II, provide max temperature safety shutoff in case of relay failure, redundancy is the key to safety. Safety limit controllers such as TAP Monitor add an additional layer of safety. When installed and wired to a redundant safety relay, TAP Monitor will automatically shut off your kiln if it exceeds a specified temperature – even if your primary relay fails.

Benefits of TAP Monitor Limit Controller

TAP Monitor is an advanced, user-friendly kiln limit controller and pyrometric device that can be paired with any manual or automatic kiln controller to provide safety shutoff and remote temperature monitoring.

Available as a plug-and-play standalone pyrometer limit controller or as a set of configurable components for DIY installs and oven builds, TAP Monitor gives ceramicists, potters, glass artists, and bladesmiths the ability to:

  • Wire TAP Monitor to a safety relay to provide redundant safety shutoff.
  • Precisely monitor the temperature of their kiln, oven, or forge via the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App.
  • View digital pyrometric readouts from any manually controlled kiln, including remote readouts via TAP Kiln Control Mobile when TAP Monitor is connected to a local network.
  • Easily add precise, real-time digital temperature readings to their manual kiln or oven.
  • Pair TAP Monitor with their existing automatically or manually controlled kiln for remote monitoring.

The TAP Monitor is a limit controller that adds remote temperature monitoring and safety shutoff for kilns.

Explore Kiln Control Solutions by SDS Industries 

In addition to the TAP Monitor Limit Controller, the TAP Ecosystem includes a variety of programmable kiln controllers that give artists complete control of their kilns. The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide users the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use programmable digital 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.

We invite you to explore our selection of programmable kiln controllers, pyrometers, 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 programmable temperature controllers.

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How to Easily Track Your Electric Kiln Firing Cost

Tracking electric kiln firing costs on a kiln firing cost calculator

Did you know that you can easily program your TAP Controller to track your electric kiln firing cost? And with the latest update to the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App, we’ve made the kiln firing cost calculator function free for all users!

Why is this important?

There are several benefits to being able to accurately track your electric kiln firing cost. If you sell (or plan on selling) your work, knowing kiln costs for each firing schedule, along with materials and labor costs, allows you to accurately price your work. Additionally, knowing your electric kiln firing cost allows you to accurately track cost growth as utility rates rise.

But even if you don’t sell your work, the kiln firing cost calculator function can help you gain insight into whether your kiln is operating as effectively as it did when it was new, helping you stay ahead of possible kiln maintenance needs. Plus, with how easy it is to program cost settings on your TAP Controller, it’s just cool information to know!

How to Use the Kiln Firing Cost Calculator on Your TAP Controller

Setting up your TAP Controller to track your electric kiln firing cost is super easy. For the original TAP Controller, you can input cost settings right from your controller screen or via the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App. For the TAP II Controller, as well as the other kiln controllers in the TAP Ecosystem, you will set up your kiln firing costs via the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App, so you can skip ahead to the next section for instructions!

Steps for Programming Kiln Cost Settings on the Controller UI

TAP Kiln Controllers have a kiln firing cost calculator for tracking your electric kiln firing cost.

  1. From the Home Screen, go to Menu > Settings > Cost.
  2. Enter your kiln’s power rating in watts in the field for ‘Kiln Power.’ If you’re unsure of your kiln’s power rating, you can usually find it on the kiln’s data plate or in your kiln’s user manual. If your kiln’s power rating is in kilowatts, just multiply that number by 1000 to convert the power rating into watts. So, for instance, if your kiln was rated for 2.16 kW, you’d multiply that by 1000, and enter 2160 in the field for ‘Kiln Power.’
  3. Enter your utility provider’s cost per kilowatt hour in the ‘Cost per kWh’ field. You can find this information on your latest electric bill or on the website for your electric utility provider. In the example below, we’ve highlighted the Cost Per kWh (so, for this example, you would enter $0.041 under ‘Cost per kWh): Once you’ve input this information, your TAP Controller will automatically calculate your electric kiln firing cost – so you can ditch the pencil, notebooks, timers, and calculators!

Example of Electric Service Details

How to Setup Electric Kiln Firing Cost Tracking on the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App

You can also program cost settings for the TAP or TAP II Controller (as well as our upcoming kiln temp controller options) on the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App – and track your electric kiln firing costs on the go!

  1. In the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App, select your kiln from the Summary Screen.
  2. Press Settings on the bottom center of your screen.
  3. Scroll down to Cost. Here you will find the field to input ‘Cost per kWh’ and ‘Kiln Power’ (refer to Steps 2 & 3 from the previous section):

Tracking electric kiln firing costs on a kiln firing cost calculator

You can download the latest version of the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App, which makes this feature free for all TAP users on the App Store (for iOS) or the Google Play Store (for Android).

As you know, electric kiln firing costs aren’t the only cost of owning (and maintaining a kiln). For additional information about the cost of kiln ownership – from purchase and installation to maintenance costs – check out our definitive guide on kiln costs!

Explore Programmable Digital Kiln Controllers by SDS Industries

When it comes to providing features that make life easier for artists, electric kiln firing cost tracking is just scratching the surface!

The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide users the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use programmable digital 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.

We invite you to explore our selection of programmable 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:

Download the TAP Kiln Control Mobile App for remote kiln control from your smartphone or tablet.

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ICS Controllers for Industrial Control Systems

Overview of ICS Controllers for industrial Control Systems

Beyond industrial kilns, ovens, and furnaces, electric temperature controllers are used in a wide variety of industrial processes and applications. Commonly referred to as ICS controllers, electric temperature controllers are used to monitor and regulate temperatures in manufacturing or storage processes where consistent outcomes rely on precise temperature control.

Unfamiliar with the acronym? Don’t worry! Below, we’ll be exploring industrial control systems (ICS) and the role and applications of ICS controllers.

What is an Industrial Control System?

Industrial control systems (ICS) refer to the equipment and software that are used to monitor, regulate, and control the behavior of machinery in automated industrial processes. An industrial control system provides physical or digital means through which humans can interface with machinery, providing inputs (or setpoints) to tell the machinery when and how to act.

Industrial processes that utilize industrial control systems include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Factory Automation
  • Chemical Processing and Storage
  • Heat and Cooling Systems
  • Oil and Gas Processing
  • Water and Sewage Treatment
  • Telecommunications
  • Food Processing
  • Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

Important ICS-Related Terminology

Before exploring the role of ICS controllers, there are a few terms that are important to understand:

  • Localized Control System: In localized control systems, inputs are directly entered into each individual machine via a machine-mounted control panel. In a localized control system, machinery doesn’t communicate with each other, and there is no overall view or centralized process control.
  • Centralized Control System: More sophisticated industrial control systems use sensors and electronic signals to consolidate control of all machines to a centralized control room.
  • Distributed Control System (DSC): Distributed control systems are computerized control systems that use a series of sensors and automatic controllers distributed throughout a factory. In a DSC, controllers automatically regulate the behavior of individual machines but are also connected to a centralized network so that an operator can monitor and adjust the overall process. DSCs are more efficient, consistent, and cost effective than localized or centralized control systems.
  • Process Variables (PVs): Process variables are the actual measured values of a particular part of an industrial process that is being controlled or measured. So, for example, when it comes to temperature control the process variable would be the current temperature of an industrial kiln or oven, as opposed to the desired temperature (or setpoint).
  • Setpoints (SPs): A setpoint is the desired or target value for a process variable. In terms of temperature control, the setpoint would be the desired temperature of a kiln or oven according to its firing schedule.
  • Final Control Elements (FCEs): Final control elements are the mechanical devices that physically change a process in response to setpoints within an industrial control system. These include elements, valves, and dampers.
  • Control Loops: A control loop consists of the process sensor, controller, and final control elements – basically all of the components needed to adjust process variables to match desired setpoints.
  • Human Machine Interface (HMI): A human machine interface is the user interface or dashboard from where an operator can control a machine, system, or device.
  • Discrete Controllers: Discrete controllers consist of a single control loop to directly view and interface with a single machine.
  • Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs): Programmable logic controllers are digital controllers that receive data through inputs (such as thermocouples) and uses the internal logic that’s been programmed into it to adjust outputs to matched desired setpoints. TAP Kiln Controllers are examples of programmable logic controllers.
  • SCADA Systems: SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA systems consist of all hardware and software that are used to control, monitor, and gather data from industrial devices and processes – both remotely and on-site.

Understanding the Role of ICS Controllers

An ICS controller is a device where operators can input setpoints for an industrial control system. The ICS controller receives data from input sensors and adjusts outputs to the final control elements in order for the industrial control system to reach its desired setpoints.

ICS controllers play an important role in ensuring that industrial processes are executed effectively and consistently.

The TAP ICS Controller is an advanced controller for industrial control systems that rely on precise temperature inputs and outputs.
The TAP Controller by SDS Industries includes an advanced feature set for use in industrial control systems.

ICS Controllers for Temperature Control

While there are different types of ICS controllers for managing different process variables throughout an ICS, for the sake of this article we’ll be focusing on ICS controllers for temperature control. Many industrial systems rely on heating, cooling, or maintaining precise temperatures to alter or preserve the physical properties of material.

Industrial kilns, ovens, furnaces, and temperature-controlled drums, freezers, and storage units all rely on ICS kiln controllers to regulate temperature.

ICS controllers can be manual or automatic. Manual ICS controllers rely on constant user input through analog dials and switches to regulate power to final control elements. Automatic ICS controllers, on the other hand, are programmed to reach various setpoints over specific time periods and automatically adjust the final control elements to achieve the desired temperature.

Benefits and Features of TAP ICS Controllers

SDS Industries’ TAP Digital Controllers include a variety of features that make them ideal for industrial control systems, including:

  • PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) control algorithms to ensure maximum accuracy between temperature input and output.
  • The ability to create, store, edit and automatically execute an infinite number of firing profiles with an infinite number of steps.
  • 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.
  • Wi-Fi capability to seamlessly integrate TAP Controllers to a distributed control system.
The TAP Kiln Control Mobile App allows operators to remotely monitor and make adjustments to temperature control elements in industrial control systems.
The TAP Kiln Control Mobile App allows operators to remotely monitor and make adjustments to temperature control elements.

Explore ICS Controllers by SDS Industries

The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries are the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use ICS 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 industrial kiln, oven, or furnace to allow you to easily manage control system setpoints.

We invite you to explore our selection of programmable ICS 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 ICS Temperature Controllers for Sale.

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

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

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