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The intelligent system intelliFlowControl is dedicated for diagnostic and automatic control of two-phase gas-liquid or gas-solid mixtures flows. Nowadays the applicability of similar technologies in modern production systems is the main trend of development and technological progress in many industrial sectors. Wherever in the production process the phase mixture is transported and it is not optimal or not economic the intelliFlowControl system can remedy them. It is able to prevent crashes, unexpected production line detentions or situations where for reasons of bad flow parameters, the final product is defective. The system can also be irreplaceable when a flow process requires constant supervision, or when the work environment would be a danger to the safety or cause loss of either employees health or life. The system offers a continuous, automated, non-invasive and efficient monitoring of inaccessible parts of pipelines. Currently, there are no similar comprehensive and automated systems on the market that can meet requirements listed above. The main modules are (fig. 1):

  • the identification of the flow pattern based on the fuzzy logic inference and novel techniques for 3D recognition, analysis of the flow structures and flow regime maps,

  • the automated fuzzy controller based on the flow pattern and its spatial relationships.

Fig. 1. Flow diagram and functionality of intelliFlowControl system

The system consists of an intelligent diagnostic module based on a three-dimensional capacitance tomography flow structures real-time identification and the volume phase fraction determination. The module is equipped with fuzzy inference algorithms implemented for the flow structures recognition. The given approach allows full automation of the work done so far mainly by qualified technicians - experts in the field of two-phase flows.

The most important part of the system is the intelligent fuzzy regulator based on the flow pattern and its spatial relationships. It uses diagnostic information to work in a closed feedback loop and to control the user-selected flow regime. The intelligence aspect of the regulator is achieved also thanks to the fuzzy logic mechanisms which can imitate the way of thinking in the human brain. The advantage of this approach is its predictable (learned) response to the states of the flow or emergency. It takes a decision about control strategies automatically. Moreover, an implementation of the control algorithm supports a security mechanism divided into two stages. First, regulator observes the current state of the process control and faults detecting and next it examines the actuating signals in terms of the risk of causing a state of emergency and prevention against such situations. Applying the regulator to the industrial process supports its comprehensive automation providing effective optimization at the same time. It could for instance perform required emergency tasks without the delay like the process advisor response time).

Finally, the system is equipped in the universal touchable panel with advanced UI for control and monitoring tasks which can be easily adapted to any industrial processes. It consists of the tool for self-designing the passive and active components included in the facility model. Thanks to this it is an alternative to the expensive commercial technologies.

The system may find practical applications in many industrial areas where two-phase flows processes are widely used, e.g. in the chemical, pharmaceutical, mining, energy, foundry, food and many others. The continuous monitoring and diagnosis of any abnormalities provide valuable information about the flow dynamic state and allow for automatic control. Many of application possibilities could be listed here. For instance wherever the flow is to take place in a particular regime. Then the automatic flow identification is desired. Like in case when the resistance of the two-phase non-newtonian fluids flow could be limited when the flow is identified as slug and when the liquid phase before gas supplying is specified as a laminar flow. Yet, in order to set the minimal flow resistance level it is a need to provide the right supply parameters appropriate for the slugs.

The knowledge of the current flow structure could be also required while controlling the heat transfer process especially when the evaporation of the coolant is expected. This is common in the cooling systems of nuclear reactors and in evaporators. Applying the diagnosis system would be also useful while the control of the air bubbles in the liquids which cannot be aerated where for example the existence of air bubbles may cause irreversible loss of final products. This is important while preparing the fibre-forming solutions or the polymer melts for the fibre spinning process. Air bubbles can significantly impede the pumping process by the spinnerets. They are also undesirable in the liquids substitutions of higher viscosity level in the production lines of chemical, pharmaceutical or food industries. Therefore, it is required to have a tool allowing detecting the air bubbles in the real-time.

Similar in case of pneumatic transport, the identification system supports the current control of granules distribution in the flowing stream. It could be useful in the automated production lines of the components or ceramics products for construction industry. The combination of the shape analysis with the automated control system would early reject the defective products with the weight loss or breakage.

It is worth to mention that the system and its modules were repeatedly awarded, with Gold medal on International Invention Fair in Seul in 2014, with Gold medal on International Invention Show in Warsaw IWIS 2012 and silver in 2014, and also with the special award by Chinese Innovation & Innovetion Society (TAIPEI) 2011

Athors of the system are Radosław WajmanRobert BanasiakJacek KucharskiJacek NowakowskiPaweł Fiderek and Tomasz Jaworski from Institut of Applied Computer Science. One of the co-author is from Department of Chemical Engineering of LUT Henryk Fidos.

Please visit our web site to see more details.

The research works were founded by National Science Centre in a frame of the SONATA project 2011/01/D/ST6/07209 (project manager Radosław Wajman, PhD).

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Radosław Wajman

Last modification:
2015-01-23 15:42:35, Radosław Wajman