Innovating together to build tomorrow’s cooking ovens
As an essential appliance found in households across the world, the cooking oven plays an important role in simplifying our everyday lives. How does Saint-Gobain make ovens more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally friendly? Find out more from Saint-Gobain research engineer : Veneta Grigorova-Moutiers.
Why is it so important to insulate our ovens?
Veneta Grigorova-Moutiers : Thermal insulation is essential as up to 40% of the energy consumed by the oven escapes as heat loss, mostly through the walls. If we reduce this loss, we can significantly lower the running costs for the customer, as well as the oven’s environmental impact.
What exactly is an oven energy label?
The energy label tells us how much energy an oven consumes. In Europe, there are currently 7 categories (from D to A+++). A “D rated” oven will consume twice as much energy as an A+ oven for the same final result. Achieving better results - the best oven on the market is rated A++ - requires structural changes and a completely new design.
What are the advantages of choosing ISOVER insulation products for your oven?
V.G-M : ISOVER leads the market with insulation products that carefully juggle the different, complex parameters that improve energy efficiency: low thermal conductivity, low heat transfer and low thermal inertia. This isn’t easy and is the result of many years of multi-disciplinary research.
ISOVER is constantly improving its current glass wool insulation products offer - for example, by optimising the thermal inertia. These solutions replace the binder by needling the material which keeps the fibres together at high temperatures. ISOVER is also currently working on a super insulator whose conductivity is lower than air, making it twice as effective. The solution has been tested and we are currently working with a leading oven manufacturer.
What other innovative solutions has Saint-Gobain developed for ovens?
V.G-M : Saint-Gobain invests a lot of time and money in R&D to optimize solutions, so that they meet new needs, requirements and legislation – a fourth of products available today didn’t exist 5 years ago. One such innovation is low emissivity glazing for glass oven door panels (3% emissivity versus 16-18% for leading competitors). This solution enables us to reduce heat loss while also lowering temperature of the door, making it more family-friendly.
Why did Saint-Gobain develop a thermal model?
V.G-M : At Saint-Gobain, we manufacture very different products. This varied knowledge can be applied across different disciplines to achieve superior results. This is why we built a thermal model that tests the impact of different solutions, so we can make your ovens even more efficient. This internal tool lets us test ideas for customers and simulate different conditions in order to provide recommendations and advice.
Can you tell us more about the changes taking place in European standards?
V.G-M : The current labelling system is being rethought to make it simpler and clearer for consumers. This is an ongoing process but is likely to be based on an E-A scale. The existing oven test is not strict enough allowing loopholes like having one energy-efficient mode while the others use far more energy (up to +60%). Clearer labelling will help traditional manufacturers differentiate themselves and highlight the quality of their products.
There is also a growing focus on recyclability. Today, customers rarely get their electrical appliances mended when they break down. It is therefore important to be able to recycle the materials easily. This involves changing the way our products are constructed, so they can also be quickly disassembled. Although, we are only one small part of the entire production chain, we have a dedicated team working to ensure all our own products are recyclable.