Foodservice operators buying induction cooking technology should examine the quality of the coil powering the equipment if they want to get the best value for their investment, manufacturers have said.
Induction is now a common sight in commercial kitchens as the cost of acquisition has fallen and operators have come to appreciate the efficiency and functionality benefits it offers.
FEJ approached a number of leading induction suppliers and asked them to name the single biggest factor that operators should consider when specifying induction equipment.
“With induction, two things need to be considered – the quality of the coil inside the equipment and the quality of the software controlling the unit,” said Steve Hemsil, sales director at Welbilt. “Throughout the industry, coil quality can vary enormously from entry-level models fitted with a loosely bound copper alloy to patented technology, such as the silicon-insulated, 100% pure copper, patented spun coil from Welbilt.”
In order to achieve exceptionally high quality, Mr Hemsil said Welbilt had developed its coil to contain no gaps between the copper rings. This ensures that the magnetic field is evenly spread across the hob surface, which protects the food from hot spots on the pan surface and the consequential burning.
Steve Hobbs, managing director of Grande Cuisine, supplier of Adventys induction equipment, cited lifetime costs and energy consumption as the two main factors operators should think about.
“As a capital cost, induction is still more expensive than a traditional piece of equipment. However, the energy consumption over the lifetime of the product is going to be significantly reduced and this reduced operating cost gives a far better return on the investment when compared to ‘traditional’ heating methods, not to mention the reduced costs in terms of extraction and a more comfortable and safer working environment for staff.”
Paul Hickman, development chef at Lincat, advised operators to buy from a reputable manufacturer with a proven track record in the design and build of robust, efficient equipment.
“Even the best induction components will fail if they are poorly incorporated into the design of the hob. Good airflow and efficient air filtration within the unit are of paramount importance and set a good induction hob apart from an inferior one,” he said.
Mark Hogan, marketing and sales manager at FEM, added: “Safety and reliability are important, so choose a reputable brand and check it carries all the relevant kite marks. Make sure that spare parts are readily available and that there is a good after-sales service.”