Thermal Comfort Evaluation Approach and Correlation Study for an Automotive Manufacturing Plant
To be published on April 2, 2019 by SAE International in United States
Manufacturing processes in factories often produce a large amount of heat. This heat need to be pumped out of factory for maintaining necessary thermal comfort at desired level. Thermal comfort is very essential in a factory to maintain proper working environment. It has strong impact on the health and productivity of workers. In addition, it is mandatory to keep the working environment at specific thermal parameters like temperature and relative humidity. Periodic assessments of these thermal parameters is a routine process in such factories. Inclusion of additional manufacturing machines or process can lead to a significant change in the thermal parameters, which needs to be addressed quickly as the thermal comfort is a paramount interest as far as the working environment is concerned. It is inevitable to develop a reliable simulation method for studying and improving thermal comfort level. A reliable simulation approach was developed from this study for predicting the thermal comfort level of an automotive manufacturing plant. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model along with on-site measurement data was used in this study. An Eulerian model was used to predict the temperature distribution across the factory. Machines were modeled as rectangular boxes with average measured temperature. Further, the solar load with respect to plant location and roof thermal insulation were considered in this study. Simulation yielded a satisfactory result, which was compared against measured temperatures at specific locations. Reasonable correlation was observed in the study, which implies the reliability of simulation approach.