While saving energy and improving performance via infrared technology sound like great ideas, it is important to be knowledgeable about the system you’re looking at, as well as the provider.

Unlike hot-air ovens, most infrared systems have been designed in an empirical manner rather than using only theoretical calculations. To get the best results, you should:
  • Find out if the company you are considering working with makes only one, or perhaps two, types of infrared heaters and tries to use these for every system they furnish (whether it is a good match or not), or whether they select from dozens of different types of heaters so you get the very best heater for your application.
  • Determine if the company you are dealing with specializes in web-converting applications and whether they have a lot of experience in this industry.
  • Witness tests run at a prospective vendor on your adhesives, coatings and/or inks on your substrates to be sure that they system is best designed for your application.
  • Find out if it is possible for you to run trials on your production line.
From all of the above, it becomes fairly obvious that for an end user, generally the best bet is to work with an infrared company that shows a high degree of professionalism; is experienced with, designs and uses a vast array of different heater types (both electric and gas) and that specializes in web-converting operations.

This can be checked out rather easily by asking a few of the people from a prospective infrared company’s home office (those who will be doing the actual design of your system, not agents in the field) for their opinions about some of your printing, coating, laminating and embossing operations. You want to talk to the people who will be doing the testing and the actual design of your system and who will be taking responsibility for your system. You want these people to have a good background in, and understanding of, inks, coatings, adhesives, all kinds of coaters, as well as all kinds of dryers, both infrared and hot air.