Our participation in the project Cloudifacturing
The digital tool presented here was developed in the framework of the European project Cloudifacturing by a consortium led by EndeF, S.L. (manufacturer and installer of hybrid solar panels) and Nabladot, S.L.
The objective of this project was the development of a tool, integrated in a cloud environment, to optimize the configuration (e.g., temperature ramps, position of the panels in the oven, etc.) of a lamination oven of EndeF, S.L. An optimum configuration depends on parameters such as the ambient temperature, the initial temperature of the furnace (depending on whether it has been previously used or not), the thermal properties of the different materials of the hybrid panel (and especially of the adhesive used), and the solar panel and oven geometries. Before the project, the configuration was set manually by a trial and error methodology.
How have we done it?
A digital tool was developed coupling computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques and optimization algorithms. The concept underlying this tool consists in the simulation of the oven operation for a representative number of configurations, and the processing of the results with optimization algorithms to obtain the optimal oven configuration. The results obtained allow to configure the oven nearly in real time.
The end-user introduces the oven and solar panels geometry, the thermal properties of the materials and the range of air mass flow and temperature entering to the oven. After that, the application carries out the calculation in a cloud environment. As a result, the end-user obtains the optimized configuration of the oven and a reduced order model to adjust locally the oven configuration as a function of variables such as the ambient temperature and the thermal properties of the materials.
Which results were obtained?
As a result of the implementation of this application, the lamination process time has been reduced by 15% and, approximately, a 20% of energy consumption has been saved. Thanks to this, the development of the application is paid off in only 2 years.
The tool developed can be adapted to optimize oven/furnaces used for heat treatments in different industrial sectors, such as the photovoltaic, metallurgical, flat glass or food sector. Therefore, the results of this project can contribute to the progress in the digitalization of industrial processes (industry 4.0) and the improvement of the energy efficiency of these processes.
The methodology used in this project is especially innovative. Hence, it was selected to be exhibited at the Genera 2019 Innovation Gallery. Moreover, it was presented at a NAFEMS technical conference in Madrid.