Industry 4.0 of Industrial Kilns & Furnaces

Industry 4.0 also known as the Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) is proving to be one of the great technologies that will shape the industrial landscape in the near future. Adding intelligence to physical objects is never been as easy and cheap as it is now. Condition based maintenance and fault diagnosis are typical applications where remote monitoring and historical data analysis have been found to add value. In forging furnaces, one area of application that is subject to be disrupted by the digitization of the industry is the calculation of the heating times. Typically, heating times are either estimated based on experience, or with generic guidelines like the famous “inch-hour rule”. Opportunities for optimizing heating and soaking times are available using advanced simulation tools and process control strategies embedded in the furnace software.

Furnace heating times obtained with advanced modeling strategies have been shown to decrease 20-80% compared to traditional rules [1]. Software tools like computational fluid dynamics (CFD) or dedicated software like Nutec Bickley’s K10® heating software may be used for this purpose. Below you can see the heating profile of two steel rods of different diameters.

Industry 4
Click the image to see the simulation.
[1] T. Karnezos, “Improved Heat Treatment Process Control for Fuel Efficiency and Cycle Time Reduction,” The Pennsylvania State University, Master Thesis, 2009.


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