Computer-Designed Stove

data1s (text of the Newsweek New Products Guide article)

The JUCA stove, manufactured by JUCA, Inc of LaPorte, Ind, incorporates an advanced heat exchange system in which the temperature of the air increases as it circulates through sequentially arranged exchangers.

Its double-decked A-frame construction makes it look unlike any other wood-burning stove. But the most extraordinary feature of the JUCA stove, designed by J------ of JUCA, Inc, LaPorte, Ind, is not something you can see. A computer model was used to maximize the stove's combustion efficiency. The result is a wood-burning stove that is at least 80 per cent efficient. Most wood-burning stoves are in the efficiency range from 30 to 50 per cent.

The computer system was configured specifically for modeling combustion processes, and J------ programmed 18 kilobytes of computer memory with equations necessary to determine the optimum design and operation of the stove. The computer performs 2 million operations per second and each program can take as long as twenty minutes to process. "We've known about fire ever since the cavemen," says J------, who was trained as a Nuclear Physicist. "But until the last ten years, not much was really known about the variables of combustion. The mathematics are almost too complicated to analyze any way except by computer."

The computer is also used for jobs as relatively simple as cutting the maximum number of stove pieces from a single piece of sheet metal, minimizing the number of welds and processing customer questionnaires to determine the most appropriate JUCA stove (and the projected fuel savings) for each user.

The heart of the JUCA stove is a sophisticated heat-exchanger system made up of sequentially arranged exchangers. The first rear exchanger draws in cool air that is circulated through the rest of the series until it is boosted to a much higher temperature. The various angles and surfaces used to circulate the heat more closely resemble a gas- or coal-burning steam boiler than a wood stove, says the designer. Unlike an "air-tight" stove, the JUCA stove allows in enough oxygen to incorporate the carbon monoxide gas into the combustion process. This eliminates the need for a secondary air system, while also minimizing the amount of creosote build-up. The JUCA also incorporates a forced-air blower (a number of sizes are available) that directs the heat down to the floor, so that it rises evenly throughout a room. But the JUCA was not designed only to heat single rooms. Ideally, it can be used as a central heating system, and has outlets that connect directly to the hot-air ducts in a house.

Price: from about $524 to about $909.

A nice article in Newsweek! Some very minor errors existed in the reporter's understanding of our technological product, but he got the basic ideas down right. We bet you wish we still had the 1981 prices mentioned there! Actually, current prices are still tolerable, far lower than competing products that cannot perform as well. Few other products could say that! (My loaded 1980 TransAm was $8,000; now they rose to over $30,000. A pizza was $1.90; now it's $20!)

This appeared in the Newsweek New Products Guide in March 1981.

The JUCA Home Page is at: juca