HAMMOND – A glimpse into Northwest Indiana’s economic future was presented at Purdue University Calumet in late spring when Chancellor Howard Cohen announced the formation of several research partnerships between the university and private business.
Details of the announcement were explained by Chenn Q. Zhou, director of the Center for Innovation Through Visualization and Simulation, the research component of the effort that uses virtual reality and other cutting edge technology to solve manufacturing problems.
John D’Alessio, manager of blast furnace engineering and technology for U.S. Steel Canada, said research efforts with PUC has helped the company save $8.5 million.
The project involved analysis of fluid dynamics modeling in the efficiency of the blast furnace, said D’Alessio. “Such simulations are powerful tools that can provide detailed information of flow streams that are very difficult to measure. A series of model runs were performed by CIV’s researchers on varying the lance design and to conduct an extensive parametric study to determine the effect of different controllable parameters.”
David A. White, director of process research for ArcelorMittal Global R&D in East Chicago, said the partnership with PUC has saved the company $30,000 a year in reduced furnace delays. Work also is underway to solve production issues with ArcelorMittal operations in East Chicago and Tubarao, Brazil.
Tim Wright, principal engineer for NIPSCO, said the utility’s partnership with Purdue Calumet has resulted in a savings of $1.9 million at the Bailly Generating Station.
“The problem surfaced last year when NIPSCO engineers discovered that the Bailly boiler exhaust air ducts, through which exhaust gas from coal combustion is discharged to pollution control units, were operating at just 85 to 90 percent of maximum capacity.
By using research through the CIV facility, NIPSCO engineers were able to “see” the airflow through virtual reality analysis. Maximum capacity was restored to the pollution control units, resulting in the savings.
Other companies partnering with PUC are BP and Lazar Anode Technologies in Kentucky.
“The industries are right here and they need our help,” said Zhou. “If we can add high performance computing (to help), engineers can conduct interactive design at a virtual reality lab – something we call virtual engineering.”
Zhou said it is an evolving new field of study, and Purdue University Calumet is among the leaders in that kind of research.