Ceramic manufacturers all over the world must consider two important factors when selecting the optimum equipment for their firing needs: running costs and the ability to make products with consistent quality. When we refer to the operating costs to run a kiln, we’re normally talking about energy usage (fuel and electricity) and maintenance. On the other side, quality from a kiln is normally achieved by having perfect control of the following parameters: heating and cooling rates, controlling the different atmosphere levels inside the kiln chamber, and achieving very tight temperature uniformity throughout the kiln length and height.
Compared to alloy or metal heat treatment, firing ceramics is much more challenging. In many cases, the concepts of quality and energy efficiency fight against each other, complicating the life of ceramic manufacturers in very difficult market conditions. Having the best kiln design and using the best process practices are both key to helping ceramic producers balance the constant struggle between quality and energy efficiency.