Gas cooking: technological innovations lead to aesthetic evolutions

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With Stekio and Fireluft, 3P Engineering introduces important news in the world of gas hobs: all the powers in the same burner, native digital control and exclusive design (thanks to the halving of the grids height) are the main plusses of these innovative technologies.

Hob with Stekio burners

Innovation and design at the highest levels are the objectives that 3P Cooking (strategic project of 3P Engineering in the gas cooking sector) has set itself to achieve with Fireluft and Stekio technologies. The results obtained by the dedicated and highly specialized team of the company increase the possibilities that a gas hob can offer, renewing a sector that in recent years has found itself having to deal with the growing success of induction models. The innovation of the new technologies has been recognized since the beginning by the Marche Region (where 3P Engineering is based), which financed the Efesto project (Extra-Flux stoichiometric gas burner cooktop ), from which the Fireluft technology was born and from which the development of Stekio is derived. The technical data show the level of innovations achieved, starting with the fact that every single burner, both Fireluft and Stekio, is able to supply all the fire powers, from minimum to maximum. The advantage is remarkable because the user can use the same burner to make coffee or to cook pasta. «The range of powers that so far corresponded to four burners is now found in a single stove – explain Michele Marcantoni and Rosalino Usci, managing directors of 3P Engineering -. When cooking food, it is no longer necessary to change burner because the same burner can be used from the larger pans up to the coffee maker». Another important point to underline is the central minimum flame that reaches 400 W, «a record – Marcantoni and Usci declare – that did not exist until today in the gas hob». In practice, the Fireluft and Stekio burners create a “bed” of vertical flames without gaps in the center that allows cooking better and faster, avoiding heat loss. Performance are optimized: efficiency increases by 10%, with a 20% reduction in cooking time, and an energy saving of 10%. Furthermore, there is a 20% gas saving and a 10% decrease in emissions and thermal radiation during cooking. «With these performances – Usci and Marcantoni commented – we are able to reduce what today appear to be the limits of gas compared to induction».

Examining the distinctive features of each technology, Stekio is a pre-mix atmospheric burner designed primarily for those who love luxury kitchens and, at the same time, want hi-tech performance. A single burner of this type brings together the powers corresponding to the rapid, semi-rapid and auxiliary burners; moreover, aesthetics was developed in collaboration with professors of the Polytecnic University of Milan. With the Stekio technology, it is possible to realize hobs with very thin grids (height ≤ 20 mm, 50% less than a traditional grid), obtaining an elegant and sophisticated design. The distance between the pot and the burner is reduced by 33% and this involves not only aesthetic advantages but also greater speed in cooking and lower energy consumption. «With Stekio the goal was to make it possible that technological innovations will translate into aesthetic beauty – Marcantoni and Usci explain -. To achieve this goal, we have started a collaboration with the Polytecnic of Milan, a university that is in the world top ten of academic industrial design. We realized that the technical targets obtained were not enough, we also wanted to emphasize the impact on the aesthetics of the product, obtainable with this new technology. We looked for an interlocutor able to interpret these innovations, creating a design capable of communicating and enhancing them, and worked in close synergy, “freeing” the aesthetics of gas hobs from the constraints imposed by some construction problems, such as size and height of the grids, traditionally massive and far from the flame zone for technical reasons.

Stekio burner

With Stekio we have gone beyond these limits: the result is evident, so much so that a hob with this technology (already selected by the European Commission in the COSME program with the M- Stekio/Burnerway project and dedicated to campers, caravans and yachts) has been chosen for the Triennale in Milan.»
As far as Fireluft is concerned, 3P Engineering has developed a technology characterized by pressurized pre-mix burners. In this case, the distinctive feature is the extremely high power of the single fire (it exceeds 4 kW), managing to have in one only stove the equivalent of four burners (special, rapid, semi-rapid, auxiliary). This type of technical performance makes Fireluft a solution also suitable for vprofessional kitchens, where maximum firepower is sought as well as the top of technological innovation, without neglecting design. Furthermore, Fireluft also offers benefits in terms of Indoor Air Quality. «This technology – Usci and Marcantoni explain – is characterized by the presence of air provision that is used for combustion and also to increase the efficiency of fume collection by the hood combined with the hob.» Moreover, in terms of design, the new technology has a decisive impact on aesthetics: as with Stekio, even for Fireluft it is possible to halve the height of the grids compared to the standard, giving the appliance great refinement as well as improving performance (shorter cooking time and energy saving). In addition, Fireluft burners can be made with a circular or hexagonal design to adapt to any style requirement.
The innovations developed by 3P Engineering are patented both in terms of design and technology: with regard to the latter, eight industrial invention patents have been registered. «The technical skills of 3P Engineering in the gas sector – the two managing directors affirm – are the result of the experience accumulated over the years thanks to the collaboration with national and international customers, in particular as regards the gas combustion in domestic heating. This is the sector that first has used the pre-mix burners: to exploit the advantages of this combustion technology in home cooking is the challenge to bring a new and more efficient way of cooking into the gas cooking market.»

The plusses of digital also for gas

Stekio and Fireluft are characterized by digital native control in touch screen. «By introducing digital technologies into our solutions, we give gas many of the features that attract people about induction – Marcantoni and Usci underline -. This means an evolutionary step of domestic cooking technology , succeeding in integrating the benefits of induction cooking with the advantages of gas hobs.» And that’s not all. Fireluft and Stekio are also IoT Ready and therefore can interact with other systems from the perspective of the Internet of Things and smart home, as well as being manageable through a smartphone. Connectivity is the tool to enable future services and functions. «We are not far – the two managing directors explain – from the possibility of switching off the gas hob remotely. If I forgot the home appliance turned on and I only realized it when I am in my car, technically with Fireluft and Stekio it will be possible to turn off the stove at a distance.»
Safety is a topic that 3P Engineering has considered with particular attention, since both Stekio and Fireluft have equipped with a triple security level called SIL 3 (Safety Integrated Level), an international record. In detail, the two technologies provide a general safety valve that is integrated into the hob, and a safety valve for each burner. Moreover, since the burner consists of individual flame zones, these are also served by an interception device. Finally, another element that guarantees safety and brings Stekio and Fireluft closer to the functionality of induction hobs, is the ability to set the maximum cooking time and the related automatic shutdown. «Since the operation of the single burner is controlled by electronics – Marcantoni and Usci adds – power and time are easily manageable and programmable.»

Hob with Fireluft burners (circular design)

Benefits for B2B
The Stekio and Fireluft technologies have been conceived to offer manufacturers of hobs a series of advantages in terms of performance, possibility of customization and reduction of management and logistics costs thanks to a single code for all burners. «With the new 3P Cooking burners – Marcantoni and Usci affirm – it is possible to realize a gas hob with superior yield at power parity, which translates into a market plus. Essentially, with the same number of burners, greater power and better performance are obtained in the hob.» Furthermore, having a single product code for all burners simplifies and speeds order and warehouse management, with the ability to automate assembly and make the production process more efficient. Finally, a non-negligible aspect is the maximum freedom of customization, choosing the number and position of the individual burners since the burners are all perfectly identical.

Hob with Fireluft burners (hexagonal design)
The technologies developed by 3P Cooking create in the burners a “bed” of vertical flames without gaps in the center

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