Commercial Broiler Ignition System

Gas broilers are used in a wide variety of restaurants including quick-serve restaurants (QSR) and steak houses. In the QSR market, these broilers often sit idle during slow periods, then turn on and begin cooking hamburger patties in response to sales. Many designs have control features that enable the broiler to sense the presence of a raw patty and to ignite the burners and begin the cooking process. It is imperative that the burners ignite immediately because the movement of the patty through the system is timed based on the assumption that full heat is available. Sensing temperature is not fast enough to provide feedback, so burner ignition failure can result in under-cooked meat.

One manufacturer of these types of broilers was experiencing problems with ignition. Their customer, a QSR operation came to us to help determine root cause and develop corrective actions. A Six-Sigma reliability project was undertaken to determine root cause using the classic DMAIC process. The problem was defined with inputs from customers and field service technicians. Overall scope of the problem was determined then potential root causes were brainstormed. A structured process of analysis and laboratory investigation was then undertaken to prove which candidates actually contributed to root cause, and which did not.

The team was able to turn the problem on and off by implementing the root cause corrective actions. The eventual design improvement was implemented into production at the end of the project.