Appliances: Pan Supports

Pan Supports and Burner Caps

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

However beautiful, perfectly finished and costly it is, without pan supports and burner caps, even the finest of cookers would be unusable and certainly inconvenient, dangerous and, well, missing something. The fact is that what makes a complex object beautiful and functional is the beauty and functionalism of all its components. Otherwise, how would you explain away the fact that everyone who goes off to set up a new cooker factory abroad always tries to take his local pan support and burner cap manufacturers along with him? It’s because he needs to control the whole process – and because those components are simply so very important in their own right.

Pan supports look so simple in appearance and production, don’t they? In fact, you could hardly be further from the truth: they require loads of ingenuity and long periods of staff training – and that doesn’t come cheap. In addition, all those horizontal and vertical lines used in them make for all sorts of geometric variations that stand out against the white cooker and make your décor. Then there is their colour. The more courageous and innovative manufacturers have grasped it: they are now turning out unusual supports, designed to follow the flow of their more individual creations.
Pan supports have evolved and have a story to tell. Vitreous enamelled cast iron which as been used for decades has been joined by welded supports made from drawn steel wire strip, rolled with rounded edges, which users immediately appreciated because it is lighter and cheaper. Cast iron is heavier, it absorbs more heat and is rather expensive to produce. Recently, cast iron has come back into vogue for top-of-the-range products, while wire strip is very popular for the pan supports on free-standing cookers. The market also offers chrome-plated wire strip supports, but they do not look so good and tend to deteriorate rather easily.

All those much heralded flat glass ceramic hobs have failed to make many inroads into the trusty pan support: they are too expensive and too “cold”, so people are not satisfied with them. The pan support has all it takes to be a fully paid-up member of the “burner system”, while end users find it convenient and “warm” to see the burner’s flame. That is why there is a need for the pan support. Some sections of individual and group psychology still throw all the cool calculations of the marketing forecasters off track (luckily).
As long as all this holds true, everyone with an interest in the “burner system” can rest assured: users will continue to want to see the flame prominent beneath the pan support, split into light blue tongues of fire by the burner cap. So, manufacturers will continue producing pan supports and burner caps, always functional, with imaginative geometric shapes and enamelled colours.
The Italian Standard UNI 10822 (the only existing in Europe for time being) “Enamelled grids and burners caps” defines the quality requirements of grids and burner caps made of enamelled steel and cast iron and establishes the appropriate test methods.

Enamel coating – Functional Characteristics
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. Its ability to withstand high temperatures makes vitreous enamel the only cladding material that can be used to line pan supports and burners cap ISO 4530
UNI 10822
Resistance to temperature excursion Enamelled surfaces do not alter in any way when subjected to sudden temperature excursion, even when it is significant (320°C) ISO 2747
UNI 10822
Cleanability Vitreous enamel can be easily cleaned. Generally a damp sponge is all it takes to wipe away any traces of dirt. NF A 92-032
Hygiene Does not allow bacteria to proliferate or fungus and mould to take hold. Bacteriological survey conducted by the Modena Hospital Institutes
Chemical resistance Properties References
Resistance to acids The acids contained in foodstuffs leave no stains or marks EN 14483-1
UNI 10822
Resistance to normal detergents (pH>7) Charred food remains can be removed using either liquid or cream detergents, which neither scratch the enamel nor alter it UNI 8026
UNI 10822
Mechanical resistance Properties References
Adherence The enamel cladding must adhere to the steel support EN 10209 Annex D UNI 8883
UNI 10822
Hardness 5 -7 Mohs Scale An enamel cladding is hard and does not chip easily EN 101
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 3 mm 24 hours after a shock of 10 N UNI 10822
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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