A conveyor oven is a type of oven traditionally associated with cooking pizzas, hot sandwiches, and similar dishes. This type of oven is fairly similar to a traditional oven, except it usually produces a great deal of steady heat and is intended for relatively fast cooking. The name comes from the typical design: a rectangular enclosed box with two opposing sides open and a conveyor belt running through. The belt carries uncooked foods from one end, into the oven, and out the other end automatically on a timed system.
Sometimes called a pizza oven, a conveyor oven is often seen in restaurants that specialize in baking pizzas and hot sandwiches quickly. While other types of ovens may serve to create a more authentic or old fashioned product, such as a brick or wood burning oven, a conveyor oven is often more practical for fast and easy production. The nature of a pizza is fairly ideal for this type of baking, and many restaurants that allow pizzas to be ordered and quickly delivered will use this type of oven to ensure even and fast cooking.
In many ways the basic structure of a conveyor oven is similar to a traditional oven, with some noteworthy exceptions. The construction of this type of oven is usually a rectangular box, with the longer sides running horizontally and the shorter sides at each end. These ends are typically left open, and the conveyor belt runs through the oven and extends through each open end. Heating units within a conveyor oven are often placed at both the top and bottom, allowing even heating and creating an interior environment of tremendous temperatures. Most conveyor ovens are designed with internal ventilation that recycles hot air into the system, preventing the kitchen and exterior of the box from becoming too hot.
A pizza, sandwich, or other appropriate item is placed on one end of the belt running through the conveyor oven; this is often a metal belt and usually runs from left to right. This belt slowly pulls the food into the box, through the oven, and ultimately pulls the food out the other end where it can be grabbed and plated or packaged for delivery. Many conveyor ovens have controls that allow a user to change the speed at which the food is pulled through the oven, and may also have individual controls for top and bottom temperatures. A conveyor oven is usually quite large and is installed by mounting strong legs directly into the floor, though smaller countertop models are also available for home use.