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CFD simulation of glassworks

CFD simulation, an optimization and quality approach

The optimization of the thermo-aerodynamic flows of a glass plant must be considered as a determining element for the global efficiency of a plant. CFD simulation is a comprehensive approach to achieve an optimal design of glass plants.

Tomorrow’s production must meet high standards. Energy efficiency , guaranteed production, reduction of costs and errors are the main lines that should guide the design.

Particular care is taken to ensure the highest quality standards in production. This is not only true for newly designed plants, but also for existing plants that are subject to a continuous optimization process.

CFD simulations are a new approach to global design allowing the optimization of glass plants and the achievement of objectives.

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What is CFD applied to glass plants?

CFD stands for Computational Fluid Dynamics. It is a mathematical calculation and visualization of fluid dynamics. With the help of this technology, it is possible to analyze air currents of any kind and recognize their behavior and influence. Similar to a virtual wind tunnel, as used in the automotive industry, CFD simulation can be used to analyze and optimize an entire glass plant.

How is CFD used for glassworks?

CFD is applied to different types of glass productions:

The manufacture of glass and glass or crystal objects involves several different activities:

  • Industrial manufacturing, with massive production of flat glass (glazing for the building industry, windscreens for vehicles, etc.), hollow glass (bottles, table or kitchen glassware, laboratory utensils, etc.), glass fibers, in particular for insulation, etc.
  • The manufacture of technical lenses (lenses, tubes, …),

    The manufacture of art objects (vases, sculptures, bottles, cups…), with work of glass paste or crystal by hand.

In all these activities, glassworks and crystal works use furnaces to obtain molten glass which are exposed to high heat, infrared rays and use many chemicals. The fine modeling of these different phenomena via CFD allows to study in a global way the impact of these phenomena on the process and the operators.

CFD simulation to optimize production

The design of glass and steel buildings is often based solely on experience, estimates, and space requirements that result directly from the plant’s components and machinery. Little attention is paid to the design and understanding of the production building. On the contrary, the building is simply considered as an envelope, only necessary for the plant components. Unfortunately, the impact of the building design on the entire production process is usually observed too late.

These sizing errors can result in insufficient air supply to systems, compressors or exhaust air from static aerators, which in turn leads to undesirable air flow throughout the building or in areas detrimental to the process.

External climatic conditions (wind, heat waves…) and their impact on the production process are also simulated by means of CFD, so that a higher level of comfort for the operators can be guaranteed on hot summer days and cold winter days.

CFD modeling of physical phenomena

Design systems precisely

The substances entering into the composition of the glass are very numerous and the fumes and the dust coming from the raw materials in suspension expose the glassmakers and crystallists to the dangers of respiratory diseases. CFD modeling makes it possible to reproduce the movement of air taking into account heat and mass transfers, taking into account the transfer of gaseous impurities and their dispersions , as well as the transfer of mechanical particles in suspension . It is possible to precisely design the natural ventilation and the dimensioning of the static ventilators by taking into account the risks of overheating, the air supply of the compressors, the dissipation of the pollutants by ensuring that the process is not disturbed.

Impact on product quality

Study of the fresh air movements on the process line

Higher glass quality and lower rejection of the end product are the goals of every glassmaker operator. Glass is sensitive to thermal shock after the molding process . The associated stresses and quality defects are the result of direct contact of the hot glass with undesirable and uncontrolled cold air currents .

The influence of the air movements on the final product can be analyzed using CFD simulation. It is often the things invisible in design that have a big impact on the quality of the finished product.

By identifying the harmful air currents, CFD allows to optimize the whole production chain, the air quality and the comfort of the operators.

Easy-to-access collaboration tools

Monitoring of lubrication pollutants at the outlet of the IS machine, optimization of air quality and operator comfort.

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