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First Smart Cycle forced convection heating furnace has now started in China

Feracitas and Shanghai Refine Machinery are working together on the development of convection furnaces. These ‘Smart Cycle’ furnaces mainly utilize radiation, but also include additional convection which increases heat transfer to the rollers.

Feracitas and Risto Nikander have experience of the best convection processes in the world. Nikander has, since 1996, invented improvements and cost savings features to them and has been granted patents for invention. In 2011, Shanghai Refine Machinery Co., Ltd. and Feracitas signed an agreement regarding technical and commercial cooperation to exploit these patents.
As Refine has already good, established design of radiation heating furnaces, it was relatively quick to design the furnace which utilizes Feracitas convection patents. The furnace was named ‘Smart Cycle’ due to its advantageous convection air circulation system.
Smart Cycle top convection offers more uniform convection air impingement on the glass surface than existing processes. Bottom heating utilizes mainly radiation but includes additional convection which increases heat transfer to the rollers. This system maintains the roller temperature stable and makes operation easier. Yield and glass quality uniformity are improved compared to furnaces which have only top convection. The radiation heat transfer is ‘free of charge’. Its proportion is some 2/3 so bottom convection is just about 30% of top convection. Compared to the best previous top and bottom convection furnaces, the Smart Cycle system saves operating and maintenance costs. It is also cheaper to manufacture than earlier best convection designs.
Both the top and bottom convection systems are patented. Glass quality is excellent and it is hard to see any difference between float and tempered glass. The Smart Cycle process is also excellent for soft coated glass.
The agreement between Shanghai Refine and Feracitas combines the best of European and Chinese technologies. As the cooperation covers also commercial and after sales aspects, sales of the furnaces are expanding very quickly worldwide.
The first Smart Cycle forced convection heating furnace has flat glass size of 2,400mm x 5,000mm but it can also produce bent glass of 2,400mm x 2,500mm. Glass thickness ranges from 4mm to 20mm, in clear, low-E and soft coated.

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