An international manufacturer of oil and air filters for OEM customers and aftermarket sales for automotive, truck and tractor use has multiple production lines for all facets of filter production. Many of the lines needed updated equipment to improve product quality, increase production, or both.

The outdated, inefficient ovens were used to heat-set folded paper filter media. The treated paper would be fed through a pleating machine onto a conveyor belt and through a “knuckle setting” oven. To keep up with production demands, the filter manufacturer required an oven and conveyor system that could handle various widths and heights of pleated material. This required adjustable side guides and a height-adjustable hold-down device. Zoned heaters also were a requirement for energy conservation. A final requirement was fast-responding heaters to eliminate the possibility of fires on line stops.

All of the above criteria had to be accomplished within a fixed amount of line space while delivering faster line speeds.

Solution

Through the design efforts of the infrared manufacturer and utilizing its stamped metallic element heater design, a conveyorized oven was built that would produce a width range of 1 to 15" and a height range of 0.5 to 2". The fast response, high efficiency, long life heaters were designed to heat in 2" wide zones, from the center out.

A lighter weight conveyor belt was used to transport the pleated material. Because of that and overall oven design, the connected load is half of what was required for their existing oven.

The infrared oven design performed better than anticipated and delivered a more consistent product at faster line speeds. Because of the fast-response heater design, downtime due to fires has been eliminated. The design integrity of the width adjustment and hold-down devices, plus the extremely long heater life also have eliminated downtime.

The customer estimated a nine-month payback for the oven.

Because of the success of the first knuckle set oven, the customer has ordered and installed multiple ovens, some with widths to 36" and heights to 4", for their four operating locations.

Product

Paper filter media for aftermarket automotive, truck and tractor use

Challenge

An oven and conveyor system that could handle various widths and heights of pleated material, with adjustable side guides and a height-adjustable hold-down device

Solution

A conveyorized oven utilizing a stamped metallic element heater design

Benefits and Payback

  • Oven can produce a width range of 1 to 15" and a height range of 0.5 to 2"

  • Connected load is half of what was required for their existing oven

  • Delivers more consistent product at faster line speeds

  • Zoned heaters allow for energy conservation

  • Fast-responding heaters to eliminate the possibility of fires on line stops