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Setpoint Controls: What is a Setpoint?

Editing setpoint temperatures of the TAP II Kiln Controllers

If you’re new to heat treatment or it’s your first time using a kiln controller, you may find yourself asking: What is a setpoint? Or, if you’re a little more familiar with the topic, you may be looking to find more information about different types of setpoint controls. Don’t worry! After reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of setpoint temperatures and setpoint controls.

Setpoint Definition: What is a Setpoint?

Before exploring different setpoint control options, it’s important to understand what a setpoint is first. Broadly speaking, in a control system, the setpoint is the measurable value you want the system to achieve.

For kilns or heat treat ovens, the setpoint is the desired temperature you want the kiln or oven to reach. In a firing schedule, there may be multiple setpoints for multiple steps. Or, for many heat treat processes involving metal, there may only be a single setpoint. Either way, making sure your kiln or oven reaches its setpoint temperature is crucial for achieving the desired effect!

Setpoint controls on the TAP II Kiln Controller
The TAP II Kiln Controller lets you easily edit setpoints for each step of your kiln firing schedule using intuitive touchscreen controls – the controller then automatically ensures the kiln automatically reaches the correct setpoint temperature(s).

 

Setpoint Controls: Making Sure Your Kiln Reaches the Right Setpoint Temperatures

For a kiln or heat treat oven, setpoint controls are executed through the kiln controller. If you’re still using a manual controller or a kiln sitter, you’ll have to manually adjust the temperature of the kiln to change the setpoint for each step. If you’re using an advanced programmable digital kiln controller, such as TAP or TAP II by SDS Industries, then you input different setpoints for each step when creating your schedule, and the controller executes each step automatically.

Additionally, setpoint controls can be multi-setpoint or single setpoint. Multi-setpoint controllers let you input multiple setpoint temperatures and hold times for multiple segments of a kiln firing temperature. Single setpoint controllers, such as SDS Industries’ soon-to-be-released TAP&Go lets you input a single setpoint temperature.

The TAP&Go Single Setpoint Controller is designed specifically for heat treat artists and simple one-step firing schedules.
The TAP&Go Single Setpoint Controller, designed specifically for heat treat artists and simple one-step firing schedules, lets you easily input a single setpoint temperature, and the controller takes care of the rest!

Learn more about different setpoint control methods at Kiln Controls: Exploring Different Kiln Control Methods.

The TAP Ecosystem: Simplifying Setpoint Controls

When we released the original TAP Controller in 2015, our goal was to create a kiln controller that could precisely execute setpoint controls – while making it super easy for artists to input, edit, and manage setpoints.

At the time, we revolutionized the kiln control industry by introducing precise touchscreen controls and intuitive, easy-to-use menus. A year later, we released TAP Kiln Control Mobile, which lets you fully control every aspect of your kiln firings – including editing your setpoint temperature – right from your smartphone!

TAP Kiln Control Mobile lets you remotely control setpoint temperatures from your smartphone or tablet.
TAP Kiln Control Mobile lets you conveniently manage your setpoint controls from your smartphone or tablet.

All of the setpoint controllers in the TAP Kiln Control Ecosystem are designed based on the principles of simplicity and precision – and all of the controllers include integration with TAP Kiln Control Mobile. The video below walks you through schedule management – including how to enter setpoints – for the TAP II Kiln Controller:

 

Explore Setpoint Controllers by SDS Industries

The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide artists the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use setpoint controls on the market today. With responsive touchscreen controls, an intuitive graphical UI, and integration with the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app, TAP Setpoint 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:

Shop programmable temperature controllers.

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When to Use a Single Setpoint Controller

Single setpoint controllers are used for metal heat treat and executing simple kiln firing schedules.

When shopping for a kiln controller, it’s important to get a controller with the functionality you need. While advanced programmable digital kiln controllers have robust features to easily execute even the most complex firing schedules, some kiln operators don’t need to execute complex schedules with specific ramp rates for multiple steps. For these operators, a single setpoint controller might be a more affordable option.

Types of Artists a Single Setpoint Controller Won’t Work For

Before discussing the types of artists who should consider purchasing a single setpoint controller, it’s important to discuss the types of artists a single setpoint controller won’t work for. After all, buying a kiln controller that doesn’t include the functionality you need is a total waste of money!

Most Glass Artists

For most glass artists, a single setpoint controller won’t be a viable kiln control option. Kiln firing schedules for glass require the kiln to heat up to multiple setpoints at highly controlled ramp rates. If you heat up glass too fast or cool it down too quickly it can cause breaking or jeopardize its structural integrity.

While glassblowers can use a single setpoint controller to control their pick-up ovens, most glass kilns require advanced process controllers.

Most Ceramic Artists

Likewise, most ceramic artists will probably need to invest in a multi-setpoint kiln controller. Like with glass, most firing schedules for ceramic require multiple steps with specific ramp rates to avoid blowouts and preserve the structural integrity of the ceramic piece. It is worth noting that throughout most of kiln history, pottery was fired without the use of a multi-setpoint controller (or any controller at all!). But for most modern ceramic artists, an advanced multi-setpoint controller will be a better option.

However, if a ceramic artist uses a dedicated kiln for candling clay, a single setpoint can be a good control option for that application.

Artists Who Want Maximum Convenience

Additionally, a single setpoint controller does require more manual intervention. It’s up to the user to manually turn the kiln off or enter a new setpoint for an additional step. The soon-to-be released TAP&Go Single Setpoint Controller allows user to abort firings from their smartphone via TAP Kiln Control Mobile. However, many artists appreciate the convenience of having their controller automatically terminate firings once the necessary hold time has been reached. For kiln operators who want the convenience of having their controller automatically manage the entire firing schedule, a multi-setpoint controller will be a better option.

Types of Artists Who Should Consider a Single Setpoint Controller

Now that we’ve covered the types of artists a single setpoint controller won’t be a good fit for, let’s discuss those who should consider a single setpoint controller. Afterall, it doesn’t make sense to pay for functionality you don’t need!

Heat Treat Artists

For heat treat artists, such as those who make blades, jewelry, or work with metal clays, most firing schedules only require a single setpoint. In heat treat, ramp rates only apply to the cooldown process. These largely occur outside of a kiln through quenching, exposing the metal to room temperature, or insulating the metal in blankets or sand.

Single setpoint kiln controllers can be the perfect solution for bladesmiths, such as Delight Valley Blades.

For these types of artists, a single setpoint controller is the perfect solution! Additionally, a single setpoint controller can be used for the following applications:

  • Storing material at a single, controlled temperature.
  • Heating material to ensure it stays dry.
  • Controlling the temperature of a greenhouse or hydroponic tank.
  • Candling clay prior to firing.
  • Brewing beer (although a multi-step controller can add significant convenience!).

The TAP&Go Single Setpoint Controller by SDS Industries

If a single setpoint controller sounds like a good solution for your kiln control needs, we encourage you to check out the soon-to-be released TAP&Go Single Setpoint Controller! Designed specifically for heat treat artists, knifemakers, or users who don’t need to execute complex firings, TAP&Go takes the precision and ease-of-use of TAP and simplifies it into the most advanced single setpoint controller on the market.

TAP&Go is an advanced single setpoint kiln controller by SDS Industries.

With TAP&Go, heat treats artists have the ability to:

  • Easily enter the temperature you want the kiln or oven to heat to – from the 2.4” touchscreen or the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app – and let the controller do the work.
  • Enjoy complete remote monitoring and control through the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app with a premium subscription.
  • Use TAP&Go’s built-in WiFi and Bluetooth to automatically pair with the TAP Kiln Control Mobile app.
  • Prevent eye strain with light and dark modes and large, full-text displays.

 

Explore Single Setpoint and Multi-Setpoint Controllers by SDS Industries

Whether you’re looking for a single setpoint or multi-setpoint controller, TAP has you covered! The TAP and TAP II Controllers by SDS Industries provide users the most advanced, precise, and easy-to-use multi-setpoint temperature 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.

The soon-to-be-released TAP&Go includes many of the benefits of TAP but streamlines everything into a single setpoint controller so that heat treat artists only have to pay for the functionality they need!

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:

Shop the most advanced programmable digital kiln controllers for sale.