The ears and eyes serve as excellent tools for extending the life of the oven, yet new technologies also can pay big dividends in the area of maintenance.

“Looking and listening is an age-old aspect of good support maintenance, which requires operators to look and listen for anything out of the ordinary,” said Amanda Hicks, director and co-CEO of the Australian-based Auto-Bake.

Preventive maintenance is a key component for ensuring an oven’s maximum efficiency, according to Terry Midden, industry manager, CPM Wolverine Proctor, Horsham, PA.

Mark Cowart , service manager, processing systems, Heat and Control, Hayward, CA, said, “Keeping an oven clean will help maintain product quality and will reduce wear and tear resulting from the abrasive effects of debris and other product residue.”

Other new technologies also have been provided to improve maintenance. For instance, Stewart Systems, Plano, TX, developed a lubeless chain that continues to show remarkable results through in-plant trials and testing. “The lubeless chain bearings are prepacked with a solid lubricant that does not require continuous lubrication,” said Scott McCally, mechanical engineer, thermal systems. “This advance greatly improves the life and performance of the oven chain by preventing carbon buildup around lubrication points.”

To increase predictive analysis of the condition of the chain in its ovens, Baker Thermal Solutions, Clayton, NC, offers a patented Safeload Sentry main chain diagnostics system. “In this day and age of high utilization and minimal downtime, main chain life has been eroding,” said Jerry Barnes, senior vice-president, engineering. “Our system is designed to help reverse the trend with increased diagnostics and alarms.”