I know the oven length is a factor, so I simply slowed down the conveyor. This however comes at a cost of having to cook the pizza at a lower temperature, closer to ~425. This I think is further complicating the matter and not properly singing my toppings as much as I would like. Also, it's not an impingement oven- it just has a fan in there to act as a convection..
The issue with the ends being open or closed has to do with the amount of toppings on the pizza. The thickness can vary depending on what I pile on there. I decided I needed to keep this variable constant so I opened them both up all the way for my last bake. This allows me to get my bubble popper in there and would fit any conceivable topping list. I definitely saw less singing and more overcooked cheese. This probably gives more weight to the fact that it's the dry heat and not the radiant heat that singes the pepperoni. The problem with keeping these more closed is when do I close them? and when can I open them? Once the pizza goes in? Then also I need to open it up to get the bubble popper in there because I have not perfected the ability to consistently prevent really outrageous bubbles from forming.
I have learned a lot about this style from the cooking however. Using the perforated disks with this oven is similar to using a stone in a regular oven @475. The edges are puffy, less so in the middle. However, once I take it off the perf. disk and put it right on the conveyor, BAM - I get huge swelling across the whole pie. I think the typical pizza stone in a home oven has an inadequate heat transfer for the laminated skin. I'm sure this depends upong the thickness of the stone and how long it's preheated, but on the next pies you guys cook, try comparing the puffiness to a pie baked on a stone vs. a regualr pizza screen. What I have observed is if the skin "cooks" before getting blasted with enough heat, it stiffens up crunchy and does not allow the steam to swell the layers upward. The swelling needs to be occuring well before half the cooking time is up. I know the older RT franchises used the spiral deck ovens, but I think there's two things working against replicating this in a home oven. 1) Those commercial decks have a lot more mass and 2) The perf. disk setup used primarily today is done with an impingement oven of some length.
I will be switching to regular pizza screens to improve the puffiness with my short oven length. I guess it's going to be a "special case" and not completely replicate what is done in the restaurant.