Computer Balanced Elements
Nearly all Skutt kilns have Computer Balanced Elements. This means we design the elements so that more heat is put in areas of the kiln that naturally fire cooler.
In kilns with elements in the lid and side, we balance the power to create the ideal combination of heat radiating on the glass and under the shelf. This helps prevent temperature differences with the glass that can cause thermal shock. It also allows you to use deep slump and drop molds with excellent results.
Our side-fired (GlassMaster Production Kilns) all come with Zone Control as standard. Side-fired kilns are used to anneal tall pieces or to slump or fuse on multiple layers within the kiln. Zone Control allows each section of the kiln to fire independently of the other. Therefore, if the kiln is firing unevenly, sections can turn on or off to balance the heat.
These kilns also have balanced elements. By balancing the heat in the chamber to start, Zone Control does not have to work as hard. You have less cycling and therefore longer lasting relays.
The bottom line is money saved on electricity, tighter controls, and faster turn-around times.
2 Element Grooves Per Brick
It is always recommended to have an element between each shelf when firing in multiple layers. This is because the radiant heat from the elements needs a clear path to heat up the ware in the chambers that are formed between each shelf.
It is much easier to load a kiln with 2 element grooves per brick because you have so many more options for shelf placement.
More Than Just Ohms
There are many aspects of element design that affect the performance and life of the element. The watt density, pitch, and gauge must be perfectly balanced to achieve the best results.
One limiting factor to element design can be having enough room to place the proper amount and gauge of wire. That is one of the reasons why Skutt makes sure each brick has 2 element grooves. More grooves give you more design options and fewer concessions need to be made.
Most manufacturers try to use the heaviest gauge of element wire possible to increase element life. The thicker the wire, the cooler it will run therefore you need to use more of it to get enough power in the kiln to heat it to temperature. With only 1 element groove per brick you cannot always do this and you are forced to use a lighter gauge wire. Just because a company says they have “Heavy Duty Elements” doesn’t mean that they are actually using heavy gauge elements.