Permitting forced air ovens in California


Staff member
Apr 16, 2023
Anyone have any insights about permitting large-capacity forced air ovens, e.g., those used for baking on ceramic coatings or for glassware drying? There's a Reddit user who's describing having a "nightmare" experience getting this kind of thing permitted in California (see their post here). They've apparently been working for over a year to get their SHEL LAB SMO28-2 oven permitted and are currently wrangling with the local fire department over the issue of whether the oven will produce flammable or combustible gases or vapors. The Reddit user is understandably frustrated because the fire department is asking questions "that not even the manufacturer knows how to answer." They say they want to use the oven to bake ceramic coatings on metal and plastic items, namely automobile parts, and are trying to figure out how the oven should be classified under four possible fire code definitions. Each of the four definitions are listed in the post.

I know this is a pretty niche issue but thought I'd share it here to see what kind of perspective you all might be able to provide regarding the specific fire code definitions, or permitting requirements for this kind of thing in general :).
California, United States
I believe as long as it's not putting out any combustible gases or vapors, it should be fine. What they are trying to do shouldn't cause any issues, the material isn't flammable. As well, the oven this person has, should be classified under Furnace Class B, which means it is used for processes where there are no flammable volatiles or combustible materials being heated.

What they need to do is clarify that it's Cerakote ceramic, which is known for not emitting any harmful chemicals or fumes during the curing process. Also, you need to note that it's ceramic coatings being put on metal and plastic items. The oven this person is using, is exactly for the point of curing said ceramics.

If you want more details on this, you can find the MSDS sheets from Cerakote, which will help you find the coatings properties.

They could also reach out to an autobody shop/auto paint shop to see what the best steps are. Like asking what processes they use and how it's done. They may be able to help too. :)
Thanks @Winny, and agreed. The cerakote really shouldn't emit anything combustible, so it would seem like the challenge here is simply one of clear communication. The fire department just needs to compile/document the necessary details, like the MSDS sheets you shared, but often this is easier said than done.

Sometimes the distance between problem and solution isn't that large but because of communication issues, you end up with several unexpected detours that result in an inordinately long journey. In this case, poor communication on the part of the fire department, mostly related to technical details about cerakote coatings, appears to be causing the excessive (> 1 year) delays reported by the Reddit poster. Hopefully the Reddit poster is able to resolve the informational issues and get their oven permitted without too much additional runaround.