More and more, manufacturers are changing from batch production to continuous production. In the furnace application industry, this corresponds to changing from batch furnaces to belt furnaces. Though this is the trend, some believe that there are reasons not to do so:
1. A belt furnace is expensive.
Good point. But you can increase productivity and save labor cost by implementing continuous production.
2. A belt furnace takes up much space.
That is true. Some big belt furnace can be over 100ft long. Not every facility can hold such a long tool. One can use multiple shorter furnaces instead of a big one. While each furnace runs at lower belt speed and smaller productivity, adding up contributions of each furnace will get the expected productivity. Multiple smaller furnaces also improves redundancy. If even one of the furnaces needs maintenance, other furnaces can keep the production going on.
3. My product is so heavy that the belt loading capacity is exceeded.
Very practical question. Though we can use reinforced belt with loading capacity over 25 lb/ft2, some products are much heavier. A pusher kiln may be a good option for continuous production for super heavy products.
What is your reason to say "Yes" or "No" to continuous production in heat treatment process?