The application of heat is an important stage of many areas of food processing. Predominantly it is used in the cooking, roasting or baking of food products. However, there are many other stages of food processing where heat is used, such as in the finishing of product to improve product appeal or in the treatment of product as part of the production process. In these cases, the heat needs to be applied selectively and in a targeted fashion and this can often be achieved most efficiently and cost effectively using infra red heating.
Classically, there are three methods of heat transfer: conduction; convection; and radiation. In the food processing sector, conduction techniques are mainly those which involve the use of hot plattens, so that the heat is transferred directly into the objected to be heated, usually as a cooking method. However, this can be energy inefficient, messy and environmentally unfriendly.