On behalf of Ten Cate Advanced Composites, Engineering Analysis conducted a study of the effects of increasing the process temperature on the oil-heated press plates of a laminate press. Important criteria for the heating plate were the uniformity of the temperature distribution, the mechanical integrity, and the expected lifetime. All these factors play a part in the fatigue that occurs at various welds. As part of this study VIRO conducted flow analyses, also known as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses.
Before performing a CFD calculation, the usage scenario is simulated as accurately as possible in a calculation model. This calculation model, also known as the finite element (FE) model, includes the oil, steel, welds, insulation, and more. The loads caused by the oil flow, temperature, pressure, friction, conduction, radiation, and convection are also simulated. CFD calculations (flow calculations) and transient analyses were performed to simulate the process from beginning to end. These FEM simulations were done to determine the flow, pressures, temperatures, required power, and the thermal and mechanical stresses. The results show the influence of these parameters on the heating plate over time. The results, assessment, and recommendations were summarised in the final report, after which the heating plate for the laminate press was put into production.
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