Pasta production is no different from any other automated or semi-automated production system in that it is performed through a chain of automated operations all working in sequence.
Pasta is produced by mixing milled wheat, water and other optional ingredients to create the dough. Most modern pasta presses are equipped with a vacuum chamber that removes air bubbles from the pasta dough before extrusion takes place. If this process fails, small bubbles will form inside the pasta reducing the quality of the finished product by diminishing its mechanical strength and giving the product a white, chalky appearance.
The dough is then kneaded and moved directly to the extrusion phase where a high capacity auger extruder, equipped with a variety of dies that determine the shape of the pasta, produces the pasta shapes. The auger fits into a grooved extrusion barrel and moves the dough to the extrusion phase generating a great deal of heat due to pressure and frictional forces. In order to dissipate this heat, the extrusion barrels are equipped with a water cooling jacket that maintains the extrusion temperature constant.
After the extrusion phase, pasta is dried. During the drying process, the moisture in the pasta is reduced from approximately 31% to 12-13%. The finished product is thus hard and able to retain its shape and be stored without spoiling. Finally the pasta is packaged.
The scope of this work was to simulate the entire pasta production process, in particular we:
All of the single phases in the process were studied, simulated and optimized within an optimization framework. A physical test was carried out at a pasta factory for each phase to validate the simulation model built. The resulting simulation model, which uses a combination of features from modeFRONTIER, ANSYS, Ls-Dyna, CFX and Magma, provides a simulation environment that can be customized to fit the specific needs of any pasta manufacturer.
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