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Spotlight on Young Researchers: Improving how industrial plants are engineered

Current engineering systems have an issue: It is fragmented – process, piping and structural design are carried out by separate teams and involves an error-prone exchange of data. A research collaboration involving public research and industry is tackling this issue by creating a unique central data hub of a plant to which all teams have access, with promising effects on efficiency.

“Creating one unique data hub reflecting a plants design and operation represents its digital twin during the entire history of a plant. Different teams involved not only cause unreliable data transfer, but also different software tools hinder an efficient exchange,” researcher Dr Simone Ancellotti explains.

With the goal of remedying the fragmented process of industrial plant engineering, public research and industry have joined forces: An interdisciplinary engineering system that has been performed using the platform with Simone Ancellotti, along with his and the ASETS-LUX product team contribution, have made significant progress. This effort wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Dr. Bernhard Peters and Dr. Borek Patzak, Ancellotti emphasises.

The objective of this joint effort is to integrate inter-disciplinary tools into the integrated design suite (IDS™) of ASETS-LUX, which will have access to the central data hub via appropriate interfaces.

“Applying this digital twin concept saves money and time and provides cutting edge technology. Changes in geometry for example are immediately reflected in the data hub and therefore, visible to and considered by all teams. Such an approach shortens the design period by approximately 50% and increases engineering deliverable efficiency significantly.”

ASETS-LUX provides the integrated design suite; Dr. Ancellotti integrates simulation for a multi-physics model within these applications, which can be successively applied for designs of piping and pipe racks as support structures.

“The common data hub requires a close interaction in the team so that an update of one team member is reflected in the data hub and visible by the remaining team and thus, immediately integrated into the various software tools.”

The project is not without challenges – the main one being to couple various software tools in a user-friendly graphical environment, a herculean task, which is successfully performed with computational mechanics using both pipe, shell and beam elements while also making it work reliably in the cloud environment.

Another hurdle is that the performance has to outperform traditional tools, to reach wide acceptance in the market. This has been widely proven and presented in the research results.

Dr Simone Ancellotti is a Postdoc whose project is funded in the framework of an Industrial Fellowship between ASETS.LUX Sàrl and the University of Luxembourg.

Dr Simone Ancellotti



Can you describe your research in one sentence?

“Advancements in computational mechanics via Finite-Element-Methods have been pursued for Engineering Procurements Construction companies to accelerate their delivery of industrial projects.”

Your focus area in this project is structural analysis, can you elaborate on what this entails?

“IDS ™ performs piping & structural calculations using a numerical solver based on Finite-Element-Method. The present research contribution is to integrate missing functionality to reach its full market potential. A final achievement that IDS results match with 30 years legacy established software, such as Caesar II and Staad pro.”

Did you encounter any particular challenges?

“A Herculean task was to create a new “pipe element” for stiffness calculation of a straight and curved pipe attaining an accuracy level within 3-5% deviation. Then, P-delta and Response Spectrum analysis, widely used for structure stability and seismic calculations, have been successfully implemented with the same accuracy level.”

Why did you decide to enter the world of research?

“My initial curiosity and desire of exploring the world have pushed me into research. It is an honour to contribute to technology progress. By pursuing this research project, my skills in mathematics and engineering are addressed to bring innovation with practical applications. For the next 5 years, I am eager to continue down this path and to be an intermediator between science and industry.”

What do you love about science?

“I am so impressed by how new discoveries of the greatest scientist have greatly impacted our life. My strong desire for knowledge has driven me to love the science. I am eager to be one of the butterflies causing a tornado of progress.”

On his research, peer to peer

“Computational mechanics has always existed. The challenge was to overcome the efficiency and accuracy of solution, particularly in case of our novel “Pipe element” compared with worldwide established software giants such as Intergraph™.

“The error of the method has been reduced from an original 30% to 5%, by attempting different scientific equations within the existing solver and its iterations, which itself was a challenging task. Similar objectives are achieved for implementing P-delta analysis and response spectrum in structural analysis. The collaboration with my colleague Dr. Sundara has produced the required intercommunication between my mechanics and his focus on hydraulics and Bio mass Reactor implementation – a separate Bridges project with ASETS-LUX.”

About Spotlight on Young Researchers

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