In some cases it is necessary to consider field-erected furnaces and ovens. These are known in the industry as “knockdown” ovens. In this era of prefabrication, it could also make sense to consider a build-it-yourself oven “kit.”
What is a knockdown oven?
Knockdown ovens are simply units that are not factory-assembled and tested before shipment. Rather, they are built at the site where the oven will be used. This is in sharp contrast to the majority of industrial ovens, which are fully assembled and tested at the manufacturer’s facility prior to shipment.
Why purchase a knockdown oven?
When there is limited access to a site due, for example, to small doors, restricted aisle ways or where only elevator access is available, there may not be sufficient space to move the fully assembled oven into place. In addition, some ovens can be quite large, making their shipment and movement problematic and costly. In these cases, a knockdown oven may be the only alternative.
Are knockdown ovens less expensive?
The initial sale price of a knockdown oven is often lower than a pre-assembled oven, but the price does not include assembly of the equipment, which can represent an additional cost of 30% or more due to the manpower required. However, this can be offset to some degree since the purchaser’s labor is often employed with perhaps only supervision from the manufacturer. When the cost of assembly is included, knockdown ovens are typically more expensive than pre-assembled ovens.
How does the performance of a knockdown oven compare to a pre-assembled oven?
Since knockdown ovens are not assembled and tested before shipment, it is critical that you have confidence in your oven-supplier partner’s ability to engineer a quality design, including the purchase of proper component parts. Design problems or defective components are usually not identified until after the equipment is fully installed at the purchaser’s facility. This can cause delayed start-up and lost production while a solution is being implemented. Heaters, blowers and controls each typically have a lead time of three to four weeks, so it can be devastating to the installation schedule if any of these items are found to be incorrect after the equipment is already installed.
A “kit” oven is a type of knockdown oven that is marketed as a less-expensive alternative to traditional ovens. As mentioned above, however, the total equipment cost is not necessarily lower after the cost of assembly is added. Also, there is considerable expertise and experience required to efficiently build an oven, and kit ovens may result in disappointment because the reassembly instructions are not clear or don’t exist. The purchaser may be disappointed when all they receive is several pallets of insulated panels, some fans, burners and a control panel.
A knockdown oven is sometimes the only solution when it needs to be installed in a tight space, but they cannot generally be recommended as a lower-cost alternative to a fully assembled design.