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Advantages of Microwaves

AMTek provides many advantages to owning and operating industry leading microwave processing equipment.

Radio Frequency (RF) and Microwave (MW) are both “volumetric” heating technologies. These consist of thermal energy being transferred throughout a product, versus heating from the surface of the product from an external heat source, similar to what occurs with conventional heating methods.

Although the heating mechanisms in the use of radio frequency and microwave systems are similar in some applications, there are some substantial differences between the two technologies in how they operate and in the design features of the equipment. In the world today, the microwave powered tempering systems have dominated in the tempering of frozen proteins because of the obvious advantages it provides versus the RF technology. These advantages are the numerous financial benefits that the microwave system offers in capital and operating cost, and still providing tempering results demanded by the customer.

Industrial microwave systems operate between 896 MHz and 929 MHz, depending on global regulations on frequencies being allowed to operate. Microwave systems today provide tempering results using any common packaging materials, and provide penetration throughout a typical frozen block. Microwave energy in the AMTek tempering oven is applied from both sides of the product, and provides industry standard tempering results.

The AMTek industrial microwave tempering systems today provide the best temperature uniformity available to the marketplace. Having been developed over the past 30 plus years, design changes in the oven assembly and in the modernization of the ovens control systems have come together to provide these tempering systems to -2C with a deviation of ±1 deg. C, on almost any frozen products.

The industrial microwave systems operate at the frequency of somewhere between 896 to 929 MHz, while RF frequency is 27.12 MHz. Microwave transmitters in the marketplace today offer output power levels up to 100 kw’s from a single microwave transmitter assembly. Many systems installed throughout the world include multiple transmitters being installed on an oven assembly. Upgrading a system by adding more power, can be as simple as installing an additional microwave generator to increase overall capacities.

Microwave tempering systems are typically smaller in the overall footprint when compared to the RF designed ovens.

Microwave tempering systems are simple stainless steel enclosures with nothing more than a conveyor assembly traveling through this chamber. The only moving parts are the power distribution feeds requiring very simple sanitation practices. Whereas RF ovens have many moving parts internally located, causing challenges with proper sanitation results internally to this technology.

AMTek microwave tempering ovens today are very simple systems for operator setup and control. The oven automatically monitors products when entering the oven, and tracking it throughout the process, to provide PLC controller power levels automatically. An operator simply selects a preset recipe from the oven control HMI panel for the product being tempered and then the system automatically tracks the product providing power levels required to provide the needed tempering results. The operator has the ability from the oven HMI panel to make minor modifications to the system conveyor speeds or power levels being applied to the process of required.

Microwave transmitters provide energy efficiencies above 80%, compared to RF systems which operate in the 60% range. This provides a much lower cost in the tempering process when looking at overall system utility costs.

Industrial microwave ovens have a distinct advantage when it comes to power upgrades required for increased capacity requirements. If a future capacity increase is required on the AMTek tempering oven, you simply purchase additional transmitter(s) that are then connected to the existing system. The oven controls on each Series 4000 oven can support up to 4 transmitters on each oven chamber.

On the RF designed equipment, this is not a feature that is readily available. Upgrades are very complex issues requiring an entire oven chamber for any additional generators being added to an existing system. This changes the overall physical dimensions of the system.

Microwave ovens are completely safe to operate. The United States controls the allowable emissions from these devices at the level of 10mw/cm². The AMTek ovens are tested at the factory and operate at levels less than .05mw/cm². The AMTek ovens have lab quality monitors protecting from exposure at all times during the ovens operation.

Industrial microwave ovens use the CW Magnetron, which will provide up to 100kw’s of power to the oven from a single microwave power source. Today there are hundreds of these ovens in operation worldwide. In the United States there are no RF ovens being used for the tempering process of proteins, since microwave technology provides the best technology at the lowest operating and capital cost.

AMTek Series 4000 tempering ovens are manufactured completely at our one facility in the heartland of the United States. Our team has been manufacturing microwave ovens from sheets of stainless steel to a world renowned product now for over the past 25 plus years. We continue to offer these ovens at a price point our competitors can’t offer. Typical prices for the AMTek Microwave tempering systems today, is notably less cost than any of the RF type products in the marketplace. RF ovens will typically be over 30% higher in cost then the AMTek microwave systems.

Give us a call +1 (319) 365-2000 for more information on industry microwaves.