AI-powered design for industrial processing equipment

Picture taken from video: A ribbon mixer looks standard piece of equipment, but without proper design, the mixing is less than ideal. The video demonstrates a simulation of a ribbon mixer with 30 million particles. Starting with a quarter of them distinctly coloured in orange and tucked away in one corner, we expected them to blend smoothly throughout the system's three alternating stages. Yet the simulation reveals a different story.
Credit: EvoPhase

University of Birmingham Enterprise announces the launch of EvoPhase, which delivers services to optimise existing and new process equipment that mixes, blends, stores, or stirs granular materials.

EvoPhase will use evolutionary AI algorithms, coupled with simulations of particulates in systems such as industrial mixers, to evolve an optimised design for the mixing blade, and the shape or size of the blending vessel.

This AI-led ‘evolutionary design’ approach is applicable to a diverse range of process equipment, including mills, dryers, roasters, coaters, fluidised beds, stirred tanks and is expected to produce huge cost and energy savings for industry.

EvoPhase has been set up using a unique model of commercialisation known as an Operating Division, which allows industry rapid access to flexible, cutting-edge services from Birmingham’s academic innovators.

Founders Chief Executive Officer Dominik Werner, Chief Technology Officer Leonard Nicusan, Chief Operating Officer Jack Sykes, and Chief Scientific Officer Dr Kit Windows-Yule, are from Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering.  All four are highly experienced in digital models and simulations of industrial processes, and their combined expertise will enable EvoPhase to address challenges that traditional R&D methods struggle to resolve.

CEO Dominik Werner said: “Up to 50% of the world’s products are created by processes that use granular materials, but granules are difficult to characterise or understand.  If you consider coffee, its granules are solid when they are contained, like a liquid-like when poured out of the container, and become gas-like and dispersed if you blow on them.  This type of variability means granules are the most complex form of matter to process.”

The team will use a novel AI technology called Highly-Autonomous Rapid Prototyping for Particulate Processes (HARPPP), which works like natural selection, testing out designs it has evolved to come up with to find the best one.  It allows the user to set multiple parameters for optimisation, allowing evolution of a design that will meet, for instance, targets on power draw, throughput and mixing rate, rather than trading these parameters off against each other.1

EvoPhase will also use a numerical method called DEM (Discrete Element Method) which predicts the behaviours of granular materials by computing the movement of all particles.  These computations can be validated using Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT), another technique invented at Birmingham, which is a variant of the medical imaging technique positron emission tomography (PET).

Leonard Nicusan said: “Our technologies enable us to undertake assignments in material characterisation, digital model development, experimental imaging and validation, optimisation of process conditions, geometric design optimisation and scale-up, and predictive model development. Our approach is suitable for designing powder, granule and fluid processing equipment across all industries, where it will deliver cost savings by increasing energy efficiency, mixing effectiveness and throughput.”

Media Contact

Ruth Ashton
University of Birmingham
Office: 44-121-414-9090

Media Contact

Ruth Ashton
University of Birmingham

All latest news from the category: Information Technology

Here you can find a summary of innovations in the fields of information and data processing and up-to-date developments on IT equipment and hardware.

This area covers topics such as IT services, IT architectures, IT management and telecommunications.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Spinning sustainable and functional fiber materials

The German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF) have modernized and significantly expanded their melt spinning pilot plant with support from the State of Baden-Württemberg. The new facility…

Network of quantum sensors boosts precision

Quantum sensor technology promises even more precise measurements of physical quantities. A team led by Christian Roos at the University of Innsbruck has now compared the signals of up to…

Astronomers reveal a new link between water and planet formation

Researchers have found water vapour in the disc around a young star exactly where planets may be forming. Water is a key ingredient for life on Earth, and is also…

Partners & Sponsors