Unmanned Chemical Lab (UCL): autonomous control system for the remote management of soluble and emulsifiable metalworking fluids

Project description

Several industries such as transportation, machinery and metal fabrication rely on metalworking fluids (MWF) for smooth operation. Water-based MWF, especially emulsions are susceptible to deterioration due to factors such as bacterial growth or evaporation of water which alter the fluid characteristics. In order to keep MWF properties at their optimum, additives must be used. Currently, however, testing of parameters is done either once a week using hand-held devices or using automatic systems which send information to operators alerting them to intervene. If additives are not poured in time, the MWF become unusable and need to be disposed. MWF disposal is associated with high costs of waste management and negative environmental impacts. In addition, both MWF and additives pose health risks such as skin reactions and respiratory conditions. REYS S.p.A, an expert chemical production and fluid management company has developed the Unmanned Chemical Lab (UCL), a cloud-based platform that automatically predicts fluid degradation events, remotely manages and controls process fluids reducing drastically the health exposure risk to workers. Based on an extensive database on MWF parameters and interventions taken by operators, our system has an artificial intelligence (AI) software capable to determine the amount of additives required to restore parameters to their optimum and pours the measured additives automatically. UCL novelty relies on four major pillars: (1) AI powered software enables continuous, automatic and highly accurate monitoring of the emulsion providing correction of MEW parameters in real-time; (2) usage of less than 2% fluids and additives; (3) reduce MWF disintegration by 100% enabling the fluid to last its full-service life of a year and (4) 100% reduction of health and safety operator risks associate with in situ MWF measurements. We foresee to generate a cumulative profit of €2.4M, a ROI of 4.45 and \12 personnel, 5 years post commercialisation.