Bring Energy Efficient Feature to Your Restaurant: Induction Technologies
Induction cooktops are excellent at saving energy and delivering quick and easy results. The technology comes from an electromagnetic field beneath a glass top that transfers heat to the flat-bottomed cookware. In essence, induction cuts down on heating times and provides the user with better control over heating temperatures. In addition to commercial cooking, households are warming up to the idea of induction cooking as well. With the growing popularity of induction ranges, prices have begun to decrease and are now well affordable for the commercial kitchen.
The Essence of Induction Ranges
Induction cooktops and ranges look similar to their electric counterparts but feature a different technology. Because they feature an electromagnetic induction to heat up cookware, they don’t create a glow like electric cooktops. Manufacturers have started adding artificial lighting to the cooktops to help the user understand the heating aspect of the glass top. The oven in induction cooktops functions just like electric models, be it for baking and broiling. Conduction vs electric cooktops provides the same essential function while offering vastly different controls and energy savings.
How Induction Works
Induction is one of the fastest cooking methods available in the market today. Although it’s not a markedly different experience from other cooking methods, the change in speed is still noticeable. Heat is transferred to the cooking pot through conduction and the heating stops as soon as the pot is removed from the cooktop. As the heat is transferred from the pot to the cooktop, the glass surface does not get hot like it would on a commercial electric stove. Even if you turn on an induction cooktop without a pot, it does get hot, making for an excellent safety feature.
Induction cookware is specially marked for use on ranges. It is essential to have the proper pots and pans for use on induction cooktops, so make sure to look for induction-compatible cookware. To identify proper cookware for induction tops, you can use a magnet to see if it adheres to the bottom. If there is a strong attraction between the bottom of the pan and the magnet, it is most likely compatible with an induction burner. For best induction, it is recommended that you use cookware that is made of ferrous materials. Cast Iron and stainless steel work best in these scenarios. Heavier materials are more conducive to heating as they hold heat better. Induction cooktops don’t work well with Aluminum or Copper vessels as the magnetic field produced by the cooktop does not heat the metals well. For best results, use vessels made of iron or a suitable alloy.
Induction cookware often comes with the caveat of a buzzing sound. This is especially common at higher cooking temperatures. There is also the added sound of cooling fans at lower temperatures. To avoid these unwanted sounds, the use of heavy pots and pans is highly recommended. Heavier cookware helps reduce the vibrations that cause unwanted noise.
Digital thermometers don’t play well with induction cooktops, so the best solution to the problem is to use an analog thermometer to measure the temperature of your meats and vegetables.
Induction is vastly more powerful than other cooking methods. Induction cooktops are rated in terms of power delivered to the pan, while gas ranges are rated in terms of fuel used. It is a faster, more efficient way of cooking and provides more consistent heating. Induction heating is comparable to commercial ways of cooking and delivers heat to the vessel in a more convenient and power-efficient manner.
Induction cooktops are more reliable and safer to use than conventional gas and electric options. The cooking vessels and voltages generated by the induction cooktop are too low to be a shock hazard. The range can detect the presence of a cooking pan and deliver power as needed. Manufacturers specify the maximum and minimum size of vessels to deliver the best possible solution in terms of efficiency. As an added safety measure, induction cooktops feature control features that shut down the system if there is no cooking vessel present. Thermostats in the system can also shut down the range if the cooking pot gets too hot, thus avoiding fire hazards. Commercial electric stoves not only present a shock hazard but are also wasteful in terms of energy use. Likewise, gas ranges pollute the kitchen area with harmful gases.
Traditional gas ranges heat up the kitchen area by radiation, while induction ranges avoid heat loss. This means that induction ranges require less ventilation to function. Gas ranges, on the other hand, are a source of heat dissipation and cause indoor pollution. Induction ranges can be especially useful in commercial kitchens as they don’t raise the ambient temperature significantly. The savings generated from cooling makes induction ranges a more cost-effective option. In restaurant kitchens, induction cooktops do not require safety features between the fuel source and ventilation, as is needed by gas-based systems. Induction cooktops are an excellent way to run a restaurant kitchen with efficiency.
Induction cookware is made of a ferromagnetic material for optimal heat conduction. Heat is transferred from a metal coil to an iron-based vessel. The coil is mounted beneath the cooktop and a high-frequency alternating current passes through it. When a conductive pot is placed on the cooking surface, currents generated by the coil quickly heat it up. Induction cooktops feature a thermostat to measure the temperature of the vessel and can quickly shut the system down in case of a malfunction. This also helps maintain the pot at a steady cooking temperature.
Types of Induction Cooktops
Induction cooktops can be purchased as a part of a cooking range, or a standalone unit. Ranges usually have multiple heating elements, which are akin to separate burners on a gas range. Standalone cooktops usually feature single or double elements. Both types feature a shared basic design in which an electromagnetic coil is housed underneath a glass or ceramic layer. The smooth layer of the housing makes the cooktop easy to clean. Both types of cooktops are ideal for the commercial kitchen. Induction produces less heat than gas or electric ranges and as such, provides greater savings for ventilation and helps prevent kitchen fires.
The Future of Induction Cooktops
New developments in the field of induction technology have made it possible to use all-metal cookers. These low-loss coil designs are highly efficient and use the least amount of power for heating purposes. Companies specializing in induction kitchenware have developed high-tech consumer and commercial induction cooktops that allow the use of non-magnetic materials for cooking.
Induction Cooktops - Conclusion
Induction cooktops are a highly efficient and energy-saving method of preparing your culinary creations. These high-tech appliances are not only suitable for the commercial kitchen but are also useful for household usage. Ever since their first patents were filed in the early 1900s, the technology has constantly improved to provide consumers with better savings in terms of operational costs. Modern usage of induction cooktops dates back to the 1970s when they were introduced as a viable alternative to conventional gas and electric ovens and ranges. Today, induction cooktops cater to a variety of hotels, restaurants, and convenience stores.