CFMS joins HiETA’s AI-AHEAD project to improve productivity of design

9 June 2020 – The Bristol-based Centre for Modelling and Simulation (CFMS), a not-for-profit specialist in digital engineering capability, has announced its participation in the much-awaited AI-AHEAD project, which aims to improve the productivity of certain design processes.

The 18-month project, which is being led by the Bristol-based Additive Manufacturing (AM) specialists, HiETA Technologies, addresses challenges associated with the current design process of compact heat exchanger (HX) manifolds using an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based approach.

The project is part of the Innovate UK initiative to promote collaboration between the UK and Canada in the wake of Brexit.

Using advanced AM techniques, the project will develop and implement a methodology for the design of novel HX manifolds using OpenFOAM/DAKOTA computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, coupled with AI. CFMS’s role in the project is to develop an effective AI surrogate model using CFD simulation data generated in the design process. This surrogate model will then be used to make predictions on the performance of future design iterations, reducing the need for lengthy and costly physical prototyping and generating new HX designs for optimum performance.

Prof. Ian Risk, Chief Technology Officer at CFMS, said: “CFMS exists to help solve complex digital engineering challenges, so we are thrilled to announce our involvement in HiETA’s AI-AHEAD project. This project will allow us to showcase our expertise in advanced simulation whilst helping influence the next generation of compact heat exchangers. Digital transformations like these are at the heart of what we do and will be crucial to the advancement of the additive manufacturing industry.”

Dr Desi Bacheva, Head of Quality and Data Analytics at HiETA, added: “The AI-AHEAD project aims to streamline the design process and to ensure the next generation of AM-built HX is more efficient, smaller and lighter. It will also ensure products are brought to market more quickly. We’re delighted to welcome CFMS to the project and look forward to working collaboratively to address the slow and costly design challenges we face.”

To solve the current challenges in AM HX design, the project will take various approaches, including a software application that combines traditional product design process with an emerging technology in order to optimise design performance and reduce design lead times. Virtual prototypes will be developed to obtain an optimised and efficient design. The data will be used to improve flow distribution and to reduce the overall pressure loss in the AM heat exchanger. This will be achieved by combining DAKOTA algorithms and OpenFOAM, which will enhance the utility of these computational simulations by enabling their use for a variety of iterative analyses.

CFMS is a collaborating partner on HiETA’s AI-AHEAD project together with Renishaw Canada.

Parts will be manufactured by Renishaw (Canada) who will optimise the AM processing parameters and will manufacture the AM HX demonstrator.

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