An energy expert advisor and decision support system for aluminium melting and casting
The aim of this project was to develop and implement an expert advisor system to provide information for selecting and scheduling several items of small foundry plants using electric resistance bale-out furnaces, to optimise metal use and reduce energy costs. This involved study in formulating the procedures and developing a “foundry user friendly” expert system for giving advice to unskilled operatives in what was a complex multi- variable process. This system (FOES) included investigation and development of an advising system on the casting of a large numbers of different objects cast under different operating conditions and electricity tariffs. Knowledge elicitation techniques were developed and used during the complicated knowledge election process. Since this research programme intended to look at the complete process of melting, holding and pouring of the aluminium alloy, complex electricity tariffs were incorporated into the expert system in order to accurately calculate the energy cost of each process. A sub-section of the FOES system (DAD) could advise the unskilled foundry operative identify and eliminate the seven most common aluminium alloy casting defect by using a novel technique of incorporating actual defect photographs which were digitally scanned into the system.