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FurnXpert can be used for initial furnace sizing as well as detailed thermal modeling of Industrial Furnaces. The information needed to begin a new thermal analysis of a furnace could be as little as time temperature profile and some basic information of the parts to be processed. The software then calculates part temperature during heating and cooling cycles. It also performs Heat Loss Calculations, Energy Balance and Combustion Analysis to determine power input, energy consumption and operating cost for a typical run. With this information maximum production rate, optimum heating rate and actual operating parameters can be determined.


FURNXPERT FUNCTIONALITY

Running FurnXpert involves three main steps:

  • Specify a furnace, including physical dimensions, refractory type, thermocouple locations, and type of heating (electric or gas).
  • Select parts to be processed in the furnace. Specify part shape, size, material, and configuration.
  • Alter furnace settings. These might include zone temperatures or the temperature profile along the length of the furnace or with time, atmospheric gas flow, production speed, and furnace pressure.

With these inputs, the software program can generate information such as temperature change inside the part with time or at different locations in the furnace. Since the properties inside a part are directly related to the temperature, the determination of part temperature is a critical step in controlling the heat-treating process. For furnace designers, the software also calculates various heat losses, heat requirements for the parts, and overall furnace efficiency.

The six steps needed to perform the computer analysis are:

Configure Furnace: The Furnace Configurator feature lets the user specify the furnace to be analyzed. The parameters required to configure a furnace are: furnace dimensions; thermocouple locations; insulation type, dimension, and thickness; muffle type (if applicable) and dimensions; belt width and weight; and process gas inlet location.

Create Part: Any type of part can be configured with FurnXpert. There are several shapes from which to choose. After selecting a shape, the user enters its dimensions and picks the material from a pull-down list. The newly created part is then saved in the database with a unique name, and can be recalled via the select part option.

Select Part: Any part that has been created can be selected to run the simulation. This is a powerful feature, because it not only enables the user to simulate the design part, but also allows what if analyses of other parts to determine whether they could be heat treated in the same furnace.

Place Parts: Once a part has been selected to process in the furnace, the part placement configuration must be specified. The user can run furnace simulations using different part orientations to determine the effects of part placement on furnace design and performance. Some of the inputs for part placement data include Container/Support type (Baskets, Trays, Peers, etc.), Part arrangement inside the container, and Container position inside the furnace.

Select Settings: After having configured a furnace and a part, selecting a part to run, placing the parts inside the furnace, the next task is to select the furnace settings. This feature enables the effects of different settings on parts and furnace to be assessed. The settings could be setpoint temperatures, process gas flows, and belt speed. Instead of temperature setpoints the user can also select temperature vs. distance.

Run Simulation: TThe analysis can be run after furnace parameters, part parameters, and operating conditions have been chosen. The analysis includes two steps. In the first, the software uses the finite element/lumped mass method to calculate the temperature of the part at every point along the length of the furnace.

The finite element method is a mathematical technique of breaking down a part into small elements and calculating the temperature for each individual element. So at every calculation step, the model simultaneously determines the temperature at several points on or inside the part. The model uses the furnace temperature profile as the boundary condition. The profile is determined from the temperature settings for each zone (for continuous furnace) or from the temperature setting during each heating or cooling stages (for batch furnaces).

In the second step, the software performs the heat loss calculations required to determine heat gained by the parts, belt, trays, and process gases, and heat lost through the insulation. These data are then consolidated to calculate the power requirement for each zone of the furnace.

Reports: The results from FurnXpert are compiled in a report format. The results include:

  • Furnace and part profile
  • Operating parameters (Production Rate, Time@Temp)
  • Heat Loss Calculations
  • Power requirement and consumed energy

In addition to the above results, Date and Time of the analysis, along with the Analyst’s name are also displayed in the reports.


THE BENEFITS
  • Minimizes furnace design time
  • Reduces the requirements for test runs.
  • Provides opportunity to quickly investigate multiple furnace designs.
  • Enables viewing heat-treating process virtually.
  • Offers platform for improved design accuracy.
  • Bridges the gap between the furnace suppliers and furnace users.
  • Equips furnace manufacturers and Heat-Treaters with a sales tool.

WHO WILL Benefit?

Process engineers and plant managers are all faced with the challenge of maximizing their furnace efficiency. New parts having different materials shapes, and sizes create this challenge. This often necessitates running test bakes (pilot runs) as a way to determine optimum furnace settings.

The outcome: wasted time and resources, scrap, and ore often than not, less than optimum results. Similarly, designing a furnace involves several iterations of mathematical calculations. Some engineers use rules of thumb and hand calculations while others use a spreadsheet application in an effort to solvethese complex problems. The fact remains that these calculations are exhausting, and more importantly ignore the finer details that have a significant impact on the results.

FurnXpert For Furnace Designers And Manufacturers

Designing and sizing a furnace using hand calculations or lengthy spreadsheets are soon becoming obsolete. These tools are time consuming and often do not generate the best results. Besides, several details that could significantly impact the furnace design are ignored due to the limitations imposed by these methods. FurnXpert, an unique furnace design software, enables furnace designers to create and simulate an operating furnace. The information needed to begin a new design can be as little as time and temperature profile and some basic information about the parts to be heated. The software then calculates part temperature during heating and cooling cycles. It also determines the required power input along with the energy used for the run.

FurnXpert For Furnace Users

FurnXpert enables Heat Treaters to simulate an operating furnace. The only required inputs to run an analysis are basic furnace dimensions, and some information about the parts to be heated. This data is used to calculate part temperatures throughout the heating and cooling cycles and the best operating parameters for the run. FurnXpert is the only simulation software on the market, specially developed for Heat Treaters. It enables a user to simulate an operating furnace and significantly reduces pilot runs that waste energy and produce scrap.


APPLICATIONS & FURNACES

FurnXpert, the only Industrial Furnace software in the market, can simulate any furnace for any heat treating applications. These furnaces can be either a batch or continuous. The underlying concepts of any heat treatment process are the same. However there could be variations due to furnace design, materials of the heated parts, furnace atmosphere, heating types, and types of controls. Our objective is to provide our customers with an off-the-shelf thermal process software for their furnace simulation and design calculations. If we don't have a ready-made software available for certain applications for certain customers, we will work with you to make it customizable.

FurnXpert is designed for the following applications and furnace combinations:
  • Batch Vacuum Furnace
  • Batch Reheating Furnace
  • PM Belt Sintering Furnace
  • PM Pusher Furnace
  • Brazing Belt Furnace
  • Reheat Walking Beam Furnace
  • Reheat Pusher Furnace
  • Batch Annealing Furnace
  • Continuous Annealing Furnace
  • Roller Hearth Furnace
  • Rotary Hearth Furnace
  • Strip Reheating Furnace


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