Controlling moisture in commercial steam ovens with temperature-resistant zirconium dioxide oxygen sensors

In commercial baking ovens, the use of steam has many advantages and in some cases is critical to the production of consistent quality product. Lately the reduction in production costs of steam ovens has seen a move towards domestic steam ovens and combi-steam ovens becoming ever more popular.

Cooking with steam has many advantages not least in retaining the minerals and vitamins in the food. Taste is true to the product as the food is not immersed in water and steam transfers heat energy to food quicker and speeds up cooking time. Reheating using steam also retains the flavour and prevents food from drying out. Controlling the profile of the steam usage helps to retain water content in baked goods at just the right time and they also acquire a shiny exterior without egg wash.


Zirconium Dioxide Oxygen Sensors

Within convection steam ovens that can reach upwards of 752degF (400degC) accurate moisture measurement using a Zirconium Dioxide sensor from SST can control the baking process to tell when the food is ready and not be affected by the high temperatures often used in the cleaning process.


A special sensor cell construction within a version of SST’s Zirconium Dioxide Flange mount sensor minimises contamination and extends sensor life in this harsh environment. Popular in commercial and domestic steam ovens the ZRO2 sensor’s sealed cell construction requires no reference vent path to the outside of the oven, and with its stainless steel construction, sintered filter and tested performance, minimises drift and provides reliable repeatable humidity measurement over the life of the oven.

SST’s Zirconium Dioxide sensors measure the partial pressure of oxygen. Water molecules in air displace and dilute oxygen molecules creating a change in water vapour pressure and therefore oxygen partial pressure that SST’s Zirconia Dioxide sensor can measure. Integrating this into the oven controller either directly or via traditional analogue or digital protocols provides a simple and inexpensive method of steam control.

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