Flow Analysis for Determining Design Parameters of Dipping Tanks in Continuous Latex-Gloves Production Lines Using Computational Fluid Dynamics
In continuous latex-gloves production lines, ceramic formers are lowered into open-channel, latex-dipping tanks. These tanks are known to be critical to the final product quality, so they should be designed carefully. This paper presents a method to determine the optimal design and operating parameters of an island-type, latex-dipping tank. Typically, the conveyor speed is treated a given parameter. The length and the height of the tank can be trivially obtained and considered fixed in this work. The tank width and the driving pressure gradient, on the other hand, are complicated to choose appropriately. This study proposes a systematic approach to obtain the optimal values of these two parameters at each conveyor speed. The analysis consists of three main parts. First, all possible combinations of the parameters are determined by requiring the flow to be laminar and steady. In the second step, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations are conducted to find the combination with the lowest maximum shear stress on the former. Finally, the results from the first two parts are logically combined to give the recommended parameter ranges. One of the practical benefits of the proposed method is that it can be used to find the optimal latex flow rate in the dipping tank of an existing production line. For example, a latex glove production line with the conveyor speed of 0.3 m/s and the tank width of 40 cm should adjust the flow inside the latex dipping tanks to be around 1,940–2,140 L/min.
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