An impingement oven uses the same principles of forced air movement to heat as the convection oven. There is little difference between the two, although air impingement cooking is considered to be faster and primarily used in commercial operation. Manufacturers produce the ovens in gas and electric configurations.
The principle behind impingement ovens and how they work is relatively simple. The food is surrounded by forced hot air that "impinges" or affects the surface of the food. This air moves at a high speed, breaking through the cooler thermal boundaries of the food product. Convection ovens use fans to generate this air movement. In an impingement oven, jet nozzles direct the heat more specifically to the product, increasing the flow of heat by as much as three times as a convection oven.
Convection vs. Impingement
Impingement technology is actually the same as convection; it is the application that differs. In convection ovens, forced warm air via fans envelops the product in addition to the radiant heat, cooking the food quickly. Impingement ovens use the radiant heat and, instead of fans directing the forced warm air, they are equipped with jet nozzles that are more precise. This results in rapid and more uniform cooking.
Common usages for impingement ovens as of 2011 are in the commercial and industrial field. In the industrial field, the impingement oven is used for drying the coating applied to different types of goods, such as pulp fiber webs or composite building materials. The tobacco industry uses impingement ovens to efficiently dry sheets of tobacco. Commercial food processors, both for human and animal consumption, use impingement ovens for prepared foods such as baked snacks, animal feed, cereal biscuits, pizza crusts and egg products.
Conveyor type ovens, often used for pizzas or subs, often use impingement technology to increase heat efficiency and shorten the length of the conveyor oven. The same technology can also be used in rotisserie ovens.