(109b) Optimizing Performance and Minimizing Cost in Microwave Heating Systems

Gerling, J. - Presenter, Gerling Applied Engineering, Inc

Microwave heating systems range in size and complexity from small consumer microwave ovens to large multi-chamber conveyor systems. Each system is made up of three basic elements: one or more microwave power generators, a means of microwave power delivery, and a cavity or applicator within which material is heated. These basic elements can be designed and configured in many ways, typically depending on process requirements and cost constraints. In most cases, the need to minimize cost by reducing system complexity conflicts with process requirements for performance. This paper discusses important and fundamental considerations for system design to achieve an optimal balance between cost and performance. Examples such as simple, low cost microwave ovens and highly complex and expensive semiconductor fab equipment highlight the overriding factors that influence design decisions.