Tag Archives: annealing ovens

A Brief History of the Heat Treat Oven

Necessity is the greatest catalyst for innovation. This was also the case with the invention of the heat treat oven. The more man’s ambitions developed, the more he needed specific tools to accomplish his goals. This is where the idea of the heat treat oven was born.

This journey began with the production of iron somewhere around the 2000 BCE in southern Asia. Iron was replacing bronze due to its strength and durability. At this crude stage open fires acted as the heat treat oven. The iron was heated, worked, heated, worked, and so on until it was ready to be cooled.

The concept of heat treating was one of universal birth. All over the world in different civilizations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, metalworkers began to enclose the fire pits little by little as it was noticed that heat uniformity and heat retention had a substantial effect on the product and on the productivity of the worker.

As man’s dreams for iron implements became more and more specialized, so did the heat treating requirements. The heat treat oven became a tool for science and engineering.  Heat treating became more than just a means of creating a desired product; it became the science of learning to controlling metallic compositions and their properties.

3,000 Years later steel replaced iron and brought with it a myriad of possibilities. Steel was stronger, more flexible, and more durable than cast or wrought iron. That said, producing steel was also time-consuming, labor intensive and costly.

As the demand for steel grew with the railway boom, a new process emerged called the Bessemer Process. This process allowed high quality steel to be manufactured in minutes instead of days and while using less fuel and labor.

From these earliest heat treat ovens of the Iron Age to the creation of mass assembly lines, heat treating has touched all aspects of everyday life from railroads, pipelines, refineries, vehicles, infrastructure, buildings, bolts, nuts, washers and dryers, and tools of every kind.

The heat treat oven revolutionized the world by providing endless possibilities for the creation, development and use of metals.

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Meet Tim Bacon, Director of Operations & Industrial Oven Guru

As a part of my research into Industrial Ovens, I had a chance to interview a gentleman who has spent his life in the Industrial Oven business.

Tim Bacon has been officially involved with industrial oven building  for 20 years although he has grown up working in the shop at his father’s business. Tim’s father is Ernie Bacon, the owner of Baker Furnace. Tim has been learning the trade and working in the shop since he was a teenager. Naturally, Tim’s love for the industrial oven business and the creation process led to his current career as the Director of Operations at Baker Furnace, Inc. in Southern California.

The following is my interview with Tim Bacon.

How did you first get your start in the business Tim?

“Just like every teenager, I got my start making industrial ovens because I wanted to earn some money. My parents paid me to work in the shop during summer vacation”.

What do you love about the industry and your job?

“I really love the versatility! I love the different industry challenges. Each industrial oven is its own puzzle to solve and to design for the customer.  Each company has its own specifications and applications that they need to have accommodated. Rarely are any two heat treating ovens, afterburners, or thermal oxidizers the same. The randomness of the variables makes each project exciting and different”.

What, if any, are your dislikes?

“Well, it’s not really a dislike, but the growing amount of different heating application in the industry makes things a lot more complicated. It used to be that Baker Furnace only manufactured a few types of industrial ovens. Now, we custom manufacture everything from conveyer ovens to composite curing ovens and even liquid waste incinerators. It is a lot more challenging to reinvent the wheel every time”.

What has been the biggest change that you have seen in the industry over the past two decades?

“Actually not much has changed. Lots of the concepts and construction methods are the same because there are only a few different ways to make an industrial oven. The parts and controllers have become more sophisticated and software based, but the classic oven design is still the best”.

For more information about our Industrial Oven models or to get a quote from Tim Bacon, please call 714-223-7262 or visit them on the web at www.BakerFurnace.com .