The universal oven is a laboratory workhorse. It’s a multi-purpose piece of equipment that’s used in a wide range of industries and applications. It’s used for materials testing, product aging, drying, tempering, curing, and annealing. These processes are unique from industry to industry and the measures of success are endless.
If you are thinking of purchasing a new universal lab oven, it can be difficult to know where to start. You know it needs to be durable, accurate, and easy to use. Beyond that, your industry and process will drive your decision-making. In this guide, we provide an easy-to-use checklist that walks you through the questions you need to ask to make the right decision about your new universal oven.
My Universal Lab Oven Checklist
- Do I need to test with absolute precision, for example testing a product component at an exact temperature for an exact period of time?
- Do I need to be able to program the oven ahead of time? For instance:
- My testing needs to continue when the lab is unoccupied.
- My product needs to be a certain temperature before I can begin work.
- Do I want to bake, cure, anneal, dry, or store my samples or products?
- Do I need an oven suitable for cleanroom use?
- What type of lab do I work in: biological, forensic, environmental, clinical, pharmaceutical, product development?
- Do I need controlled ramp rates?
- Is repeatability important to my process?
- Do I need an oven that is versatile and can be used for a variety of processes or do I need it to do one or two things only?
- What importance do I put on recovery rates after opening the door, heat up time, and cool down time? Are one or two of these more important than others?
Universal Oven Features
- Are my samples and or products small or large? (Universal oven sizes range from 1 cubic foot up to 37.4 cubic feet.)
- How heavy is my sample? Do I need something that can withstand a lot of weight?
- Is my sample an awkward shape? Does it need a specific fixture to hold it?
- Would I benefit from touch screen capability?
- Do I need data recording/logging and programmability?
- Will I be working with multiple setpoint temps?
- Do I need an oven that is easy to keep clean?
- Is having an environmentally friendly oven important?
- How long do I want my oven to last?
- Do I need forced air or natural gravity air flow?
Product or Sample
- Am I working with chemicals, food, animals, soils, or consumer products?
- Is my product combustible, flammable, or dangerous?
- Does my product produce heat emissions?
- Does it give off a gas?
- Is it a solid or liquid?
- What packaging does my product need?
- Do I need to meet ISO guidelines?
- Are there FDA regulations I need to meet?
- Do I need to maintain test standards in the pharma industry that are ICH compliant?
- Will I require access ports for additional monitoring?
- Will I need to observe samples during the study through a viewing window?
- Do I need to weigh my product inside the oven throughout the study?
- Should I be able to program error alerts for sensitive samples? Is a mobile alert sufficient or do I need sirens and error lights?
- Do I need to ensure that my universal oven is tamper proof?
- Is UL or cMET certification required?
- Is NIST traceability required?
- What voltage and power supply are available at my facility in order to power the unit?
- Do I need to have a battery backup or generator backup in case of power failure?