lead furnaceIf there is one thing that keeps the modern world turning, besides the internet of course, it’s machines and hardware. We would never experience the incredible feats of technology that we have today without the ability to manufacture and work with dense, and sometimes unstable, materials.

Between cars, buildings, and endless objects that facilitate our everyday lives, there is no room for production to slow down. In fact, in the 14 years ending in 2013, overall industrial production increased by more than 30%. Considering the surge in small portable technologies, such as mobile devices and tablets, this should come as no surprise.

The base of all manufacturing processes begins with the harvesting and extracting of essential substances. These operations more often than not use some sort of heating element to bring materials to a point where they can be worked with. A recent U.S. study even showed that around 95% of commercial operations reported using some type of regular or industrial ovens for any number of reasons.

Metals are likely the most commonly used materials throughout production due to their sturdiness and reliability. Unfortunately, they can also be difficult to work with and very temperamental.

Keeping metals at the correct temperature is the key to manufacturing with them. One good example of a widely used material that requires high and consistent heat to remain pliable is lead.

Lead is used throughout a multitude of industries for products such as batteries, bullets, alloys, and even as a radiation shield. Lead furnaces are specially designed to effectively moderate the interior heat with gas burners to melt the lead, while being insulated enough not to be too dangerous on its exterior.

The temperatures required to melt lead are extreme, and could cause major injury if it or the lead furnace were to come in contact with someone.

These melting furnaces are usually built with an opening or outlet for which to get inside and remove a certain amount of the lead for use during production. Sometimes it may by a small scoop, other times it could be a vat depending on the industry and product being manufactured.

With over half of United States exports consisting of manufactured goods, there is a vast array of lead furnaces and other metal heaters constantly in use. How many items do you own that use metal?