So, You Think You Know, Huh?

Assumptions are great tools -- I mean, think about it: we all make them all the time -- right up until they become misconceptions. One of my favorite assumptions about me is that I am a Chicago Bears fan. Granted, I work in a Chicago suburb, so when people hear I am a professional football fan, they assume I must be a Bears fan. The truth, of course, couldn't be further from the truth: I grew up, and again live, in the great state of Wisconsin. It's practically a state law that Wisconsin residents be Green Bay Packers fans, and it's a mandate I happily live with. I grew up in a household of ferocious Packers fans, and that fervor has been passed on to my generation and beyond. Even my cat sports Packers wear on Sundays.

Assumptions that are based on misinformation or misunderstandings become misconceptions. Some misconceptions are harmless: If someone assumes -- wrongly -- that I am a Bears fan, for example, I just clear up the misunderstanding and talk about all the things I love about the Pack. (They're probably sorry they ever mentioned it by the time I shut up!) Other misconceptions are anything but harmless: Terrible incidents have happened because someone assumed that the oven had been purged or the power turned off. Then there are those in between: No one gets seriously hurt because of the misconception, but a decision is made based on bad information. In some cases, the best possible course is not taken because of a misconception, but the course that is followed is adequate for the job.

In this issue of Process Heating, we will clear up some of those wrong suppositions about infrared heating. In "5 Misconceptions about Infrared Heat-ing," Mike Sirotnak of Solar Products Inc., Pompton Lakes, N.J., raises the five most common misconceptions about infrared heating and explains on what information you should -- and shouldn't -- base your buying decision.

Another assumption often made is that the heat processing equipment is doing what you need it to, when you need it to do it. Finished product comes out at the end of the line, right? Well, if you want to be sure that your product is being heated to the proper temperature at the proper time (and for the proper amount of time), it may take a bit more than a glance at the end of the line. "Take a Picture of Your Process," an article from Datapaq Inc., Wilmington, Mass., explains how temperature profiling can show you what your product is experiencing during the heat processing step and help you pinpoint problems. Even products that look fine coming off the line can have problems: For example, powder-coated parts must remain in the oven long enough to complete the powder supplier's cure schedule or the powder won't cure properly. Undercured products may look great to the naked eye, but the powder-coated part may not pass tests for cure such as impact, flex and solvent resistance.

It is impossible to get through the day without making a few assumptions. Make them when you have to, but be cautious about relying on them too much.