Appliances: Ovens

Ovens: present and future

They may be small, but no cooker can be successful without these crucial components.

Ovens have experienced rapid technological development – and more is yet to come. They can be used for all kinds of cooking. But enamel remains irreplaceable in an oven’s fiery heart. Safe, resistant, easy to clean and self-cleaning.

Cooking methods may still be conventional or static or by thermal radiation, with the heat coming from above, below or both, combined with the action of a fan that enables the oven to cook in any way and create the classical golden crust. The food can be cooked delicately, using the fan combined with the lower element only; or it may be cooked with forced or fanned ventilation: the combination between the fan and the circular element enables different foods to be cooked at different levels, as long as they can take the same temperature and the same type of cooking. But there is also turboventilation, a combination between ventilated and conventional cooking, which can be used to cook different foods on different levels quickly and efficiently, without their aromas or flavours influencing each other.

What all this means is that the consumer only has the truly difficult task of making a choice!
Vitreous enamels have kept up with all this technological evolution eagerly. Resistance to high temperatures and sudden temperature rises, resistance to chemicals, both acids and detergents, mechanical resistance: these are the basic technical properties characteristic of enamels. These, together with another that is of particular interest to consumers: easy cleaning. Enamel is simply so much easier to clean: in most cases, all you need is a damp sponge to remove traces of dirt. Special “self-cleaning” enamels, operating on either a catalytic or a pyrolytic basis, have been developed for oven linings, where before these developments, charred food residue was sometimes very difficult to deal with.
In the former case, the oven comprises panels clad with self-cleaning catalytic enamel coated panels that have the ability to absorb and eliminate oils, fats and food residues during the actual cooking cycle itself.
Pyrolytic enamels function differently: they burn and char the residues in a separate pyrolytic cycle that reaches temperatures as high as 500°C. At the end of this cycle, you simply sponge away a little pile of ash.
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict that ovens will continue evolving in technology and appearance. They are destined to become increasingly similar to computers, capable of conducting an independent dialogue with the refrigerator, the larder and the supermarket.
The chef will be able to control them remotely, reading information off the video display on a cellphone or the fixed line phone at the office.
These ovens will remember recipes, interact, keep an eye on fats and calories… But for now, there are no indications of what material may ever be able to replace enamel for oven floors and ceilings, nor for the walls.

Functional characteristics of vitreous enamel cladding
Characteristic Properties References
Resistance to high temperatures
up to 400°C
Direct flames will not damage vitreous enamel, make it turn yellow or leave any burn marks ISO 4530
Resistance to temperature excursion Enamelled surfaces do not alter in any way when subjected to sudden temperature excursion, even as much as 300°C ISO 2747
Easy to clean Enamel is very easy to clean. In most cases, a damp sponge is enough to remove traces of dirt.
Special self-cleaning enamels, both catalytic and pyrolytic, have been developed for oven linings, where charred food residues can be difficult to remove.
NF A 92-032
Catalytic self-cleaning enamels Absorb oils, fats and charred food residues during the food cooking cycle. ISO 8291
Pyrolytic self-cleaning enamels Char food residues in a pyrolytic cycle run after the food has been cooked NF A 92-031
Hygiene Enamel does not allow bacteria to proliferate or fungus and mould to take hold Bacteriological survey conducted by the Modena Hospital Institutes
Chemical resistance    
Resistance to acids The acids contained in foodstuffs leave no stains or marks EN 14483-1
EN 14483-2
ISO 2722
Resistance to normal
Charred food remains can be removed using detergents either liquid or cream detergents, which neither scratch the enamel nor alter it ISO 4533
EN ISO 4535
UNI 8026
Mechanical resistance    
Adherence The enamel cladding must adhere to the steel support UNI 8883
EN 10209 Annex D
Hardness 5 – 7 Mohs scale An enamel cladding is hard and does not chip easily EN 101
Abrasion Because it is a vitreous cladding, vitreous e namel does not abrade easily, even after a long time UNI 7233
Scratch resistance Vitreous enamel is not scratched by normal kitchen tools EN ISO 15695
Shock resistance Only quite significant shocks may chip enamel.
As a general rule, a good enamel should have no surface damage whose Ø is greater than 2 mm 24 hours after a shock of 20 N.
ISO 4532


The International Enamellers Institute
+39 02 3264283   +39 348 8003263
The International Enamellers Institute (IEI) Viale Vincenzo Lancetti, 43 20158 Milano - Italy
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