Rob van Gils

Model-based thermal analysis of a complex manufacturing machine


Advanced thermal performance in mechatronic machinery benefits from appropriate thermal modelling of the to-be-designed machine. These models provide indispensable insights, such as thermal behaviour as function of parameter variations and frequency domain analyses, that are extremely difficult to obtain experimentally.

In this presentation, the case of a glass-tube oven, exhibiting complex thermal phenomena, is used to present the efficient way of modelling highly complex (thermal) systems that is commonly employed within Philips Innovation Services. In the presentation, the basic model that describes the machine will be elaborately discussed. Subjects of interest are:

  • the modelling considerations with respect to the complex phenomena of nonlinear natural and forced convective and radiative heat transfer;
  • the effect of the mass transport in conveyor belts;
  • the capturing of the machine layout by a relatively low number of lumped masses.
  • the case, furthermore, considers employment of the model to estimate the reduction in energy requirements for some proposed system adaptions. Some of the adaptions investigated are:
  • changing conveyor belt material and geometry (reduction in thermal mass for increased energy efficiency);
  • decrease in oven temperature (due to Wien’s displacement law, a colder oven will emit radiation at higher wavelengths, as a result the glass will absorb more of the energy emitted by the burner);
  • changing the insulation of the return zone of the conveyor belt in order to minimize the cool down of the conveyer belt in the return zone.

Rob van Gils (born 1984) received the M.Sc. (2008) and PhD degree (2012) in Mechanical Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology. For his PhD thesis, he applied feedback stabilization on an infinite-dimensional thermo-dynamical model for pool-boiling systems, for application in thermal management schemes.

After his PhD he started as thermal technologist at Philips Innovation Services. Since January 2016, Van Gils is competence leader thermal & flow, carrying responsibility for the maintenance and advancement of the competence within Pins. His main activities comprise thermal & flow architecture, design, modelling and experimental validation of equipment ranging from consumer electronics to larger mechatronic modules/systems.

Rob van Gils