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Past Project in Detail

ACI Glass Packaging - analysis of temperatures inside air-cooled moulds

29/08/2003

L to R: Warren Weatherhead (ACI Glass Packaging) with Nick Murphy (QUT student)  

This is a whole of year project due for completion end-November, 2003.

Student: Nick Murphy, QUT B.Mechanical Engineering

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

· To gain an understanding of the glass forming process and issues

· To determine the temperature distribution of the air-cooled blank mould through mathematical modelling methods

· To confirm the accuracy of this model with experimental results

· To investigate what happens when blank mould modifications are made, to help maximise the glass cooling rate and help meet required glass forming temperatures

EXPECTED OUTCOME

Greater control of the glass making process, by gaining a better understanding of the temperature profile within the air-cooled blank.

BENEFITS TO ACI GLASS PACKAGING

According to Warren Weatherhead (SPC Co-ordinator, ACI Glass Packaging), “by analysing the difference between the actual and the required operating temperatures in the blank mould, ACI can make informed decisions to systematically improve the design of the blank mould. This will give us greater control over the manufacturing process resulting in improved product quality and quantity”.

ACI Glass Packaging were also keen to use the CEED Program to foster links with QUT and access their knowledge and facilities for this project. This has been achieved with the assistance of Nick and his QUT supervisor, and the use of QUT’s ANSYS modelling software and literature searches conducted by Nick. These extra resources have enabled ACI to carry out this valuable research much sooner than would have otherwise been possible.

METHODOLOGY

At the outset, Nick took a few weeks to become familiarised with the plant and glass forming process, along with setting up project deadlines and goals. Then, Nick gathered research literature and collated experimental test results carried out by ACI, and conducted further experiments to gather the required data. Heat transfer theory was applied in order to give a better understanding into the temperature distribution of the blank mould.

Nick used the ANSYS modelling software at QUT (finite element analysis software) to create 1D and 2D models of the air-cooled blank mould. At present, Nick is making adjustments to the computer model in order to reach the required degree of accuracy. ACI recently purchased a thermal imaging camera, which will be used to verify the accuracy of Nick’s computer modelled test results over the coming weeks.

NEXT STEP

The 1D & 2D results generated in ANSYS to date are quite similar to those found in literature. However, until the results of the thermal imaging camera are viewed, it is difficult to confirm these results for the specific air-cooled blank moulds. Once the results have been checked, Nick and ACI can adjust the model to simulate the behaviour of other blank mould designs without having to conduct expensive real life tests.

Currently, the testing process necessitates that the production line be stopped, a test blank inserted into the machine; then the machine started again (costly in time, material and lost production).

Once this model is verified, ACI can conduct trials and modifications of the air-cooled blank moulds using a computer model rather than ‘live’ in the factory, with greatly increased accuracy and cost savings.

PROGRESS SUMMARY - AS AT END-AUGUST 03

The 1D & 2D results generated in ANSYS to date are quite similar to those found in literature. However, until the results of the thermal imaging camera are viewed, it is difficult to confirm these results for the specific air-cooled blank moulds.

Presently, re-designing of the blank mould is based on current understanding of glass behaviour with a bit of trial and error. Once the thermal imaging camera results have confirmed the accuracy of the computer model, Nick can adjust the 3D model design to simulate the behaviour of other air-cooled blank moulds without having to disrupt “live” production on the machines to carry out trials.

According to Warren Weatherhead, he has enjoyed seeing Nick’s progress and results. Nick has been able to share his knowledge with ACI management and operations staff, giving them a more technical perspective on their manufacturing process. In turn, Nick has greatly benefited from the hands-on experience and knowledge that he has gained about the glass forming process – especially from liaising with the operations staff. Nick has also enjoyed the opportunity to mathematically model and analyse a real life manufacturing process.

Nick is due to finish his project at the end of November 2003.

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