Technology benefits for SME producers

 

The development of a suitable microwave curing process can be very helpful in terms of following aspects:

i)   Reduce energy cost of heating and cooling by at least 50%
ii)  Reduce curing cycle time by at least 50%
iii) Achieve better quality products through ability to better focus curing energy
iv) Increase the level of automation
v)  Reduction of the embedded carbon dioxide emissions  associated for fiber reinforced products
 

Despite the fact that a microwave oven costs nearly 2.5 times as much in initial investment compared to a conventional oven, the major energy savings that can be made can enable a payback period that is shorter than that for an oven or autoclave. As can be seen, the potential cost saving of substituting a conventional oven by a microwave curing oven is very significant. However, in order to maximize the potential we also need to develop simple tools and procedures to reduce the set up time required for each type of component.

 

Energy cost per annum

  Conventional oven Microwave Autoclave
 
Initial Investment (€)  €40,000  €90,000  €125,000
Power rating (€)  30 kW  10 kW  60 kW
Process speed index*  100  50  100
Daily energy cost  €73.50  €14  €105
Energy cost per annum  €18,375  €3,500  €26,250