Decision support system for accurate prediction of noise emission and functional performance of fans

Development of a decision support system to reduce noise emission and improve energy efficiency of fans in important applications: automotive, home appliances, commercial refrigerators and air conditioning.

The demand for more silent products is common to most important industrial sectors, including automotive, electronic consumer goods, home appliances, commercial refrigerators and air conditioning. Since a significant portion of noise is often due to fans incorporated in final products, there is strong interest in the advancement of fan performances in terms of noise reduction. The primary objective of the project is to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) to improve the entire fan design, testing and manufacturing process. The idea is to adapt the most advanced available techniques for noise prediction, testing, geometrical characterisation and design optimisation to the industrial environment for the mass-production of low-cost fans. The project goal is to create a novel environment in which innovative software tools supporting decisions in designing and developing more silent fans are integrated with advanced testing facilities for geometrical characterisation, noise mapping and performance testing. The Decision Support System is based on innovative tools such as: (i) advanced measuring methods and equipment for geometrical inspection and surface characterisation, including tools based on coordinate measuring machines and non-contact sensors for a total geometrical description of actual freeform functional surfaces; (ii) innovative methods and equipment for noise mapping of rotating noise sources, including equipment based on miniature microphone arrays and advanced analysis software with reference to noise generation principle of fans; (iii) novel Computer Aided Engineering (CAE)/Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tools for the prediction of functional performances and acoustic behaviour of fans, including tools for coupled fluid dynamic analysis and aero acoustic simulation; (iv) advanced systematic design procedure for the design of low-noise quiet fans, including tools for design optimisation based on both simulation and experimental data. In order to achieve the objectives of this interdisciplinary project, a balanced consortium of developers and end users has been set up. The partnership structure is based on the significance of the problem to the end users and the complementary expertise and know-how of suppliers and developers. The assessment of the techniques and procedures to be developed during the project, as well as the applicability of the approach and the performances of the overall system, will be carried out by the partners playing the role of end-users. To this regard, industrial test cases will be selected at the beginning of the project from the specific fan applications of automotive, home appliances, commercial refrigerators and air conditioning. The project activities are split into four main phases as follows: DEFINITION PHASE: duration 6 months; from month No 1 to month No 6. Activities to be undertaken during this phase are: 1.1) Functional architecture: design of the functional architecture of the Decision Support System (DSS), definition of functional requirements; 1.2) Industrial cases: detailed definition of reference applications and test fans from end-users applications with different geometry in terms of shape, dimensions, form and waviness. Multi-disciplinary assessment of fan performance data and definition of target values for noise reduction; 1.3) Requirements specification: identification of the requirements for the individual components of the DSS, definition of performance specifications for the individual DSS tools. DEVELOPMENT PHASE: duration 18 months; from month No 7 to month No 24. Activities to be undertaken during this phase are: 2.1) Total geometrical characterisation: development of a method and tools for total geometrical characterisation of actual freeform geometry of functional surfaces of fans. Measurement of test fans with analysis of macro- and micro-geometry, in terms of form as well as surface; 2.2) Noise testing methodology and system: development of methods and equipment for detailed mapping of noise sources, with reference to noise generation principle of fans. Noise mapping system for rotating noise sources; 2.3) Prediction of fluid dynamic and acoustic behaviour: development and validation of CAE tools for coupled fluid dynamic analysis and aero acoustic simulation. Simulation results are compared with noise tests in order to validate the CAE simulations; 2.4) Design methodology and optimisation: definition of a systematic design procedure for end-users and development of a design optimisation tool, based on both simulated and experimental data. IMPLEMENTATION PHASE: duration 30 months; from month No 7 to month No 36. Activities to be undertaken during this phase are: 3.1) Integration of available tools: benchmarking and acquisition of the DSS individual tools (software and hardware) which are commercially available; 3.2) Integration of novel tools: individual implementation of the novel tools within the design and testing process, development of interfaces for integration. Preliminary verification of functional requirements; 3.3) Design of low-noise fans: application of the DSS to the industrial test cases. Advanced design and optimisation of fan geometry; 3.4) Manufacturing and testing: production of prototypes and pre-series of optimised fans for the verification of design intent. Geometrical characterisation and functional testing, in particular noise measurements. 3.5) Calibration and validation of tools: the individual tools are validated and eventually calibrated with reference to the industrial test cases. Accuracy of CAE/CFD software tools is assessed by comparisons to experimental testing data, to verify the respect of initial requirements. 3.6) Validation of DSS: noise-testing results are compared to defined noise target values, for overall validation of the Decision Support System. EXPLOITATION PHASE: duration 6 months; from month No 31 to month No 36. Activities to be undertaken during this phase are: 4.1) Assessment of benefits: assessment of technological and economic benefits that can be achieved using the DSS by end-users; 4.2) Exploitation: definition and application of an exploitation strategy based on * searching for potential licenses, partners and end-users, * organisation of seminars and workshops, * targeted dissemination of results. Keywords: noise reduction, optimisation, Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) simulation.
Project ID: 
2 912
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
7 370 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Acoustic safety
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.