Цифровая платформа по разработке и применению цифровых двойников CML-Bench®
Уникальный онлайн-курс «Цифровые двойники изделий»
CAD/CAE/CFD/CAO/HPC новости 4 Ноября 2004 года
Данная новость была прочитана 3901 раз

Применение CFD постпроцессора помогает экономить миллионы

Using a CFD postprocessor to achieve business and technological success.

In 1995, the chemical processing industry was just beginning to understand the positive impact that computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology could have on the way companies design, maintain, and implement products and applications. Chemical and industrial giant Monsanto, through its Chemical Group, was one of the first companies to embrace CFD as an enterprise-wide resource for improving internal product development processes. By the time Monsanto had spun-off its Chemical Group, Solutia, Inc., the industry had fully accepted CFD’s role as a vital technological tool used by companies reaching for competitive benefits.
A number of well-established, global chemical producers put comprehensive CFD operations in place, using the latest techniques and software to make processes more efficient, safer, and ultimately more profitable. To do this effectively, the CFD units within these companies, for the most part, relied on the latest solvers to perform calculations based on user-entered data. These solvers, including popular applications like Fluent, CFX, and FLOW 3-D, are the workhorses behind achieving outstanding technical results.
But the need to achieve outstanding results continues as the chemical processing industry increases its focus on process efficiency and bottomline results. Tougher business challenges and more uncertainties appear each day, and now, more than ever, a CFD solution has to help companies address the difficulties of running the business; not just solve analysis problems.

Currently there are two key questions in the industry: How can results derived from a solver be communicated effectively to other team members, and how can the entire enterprise benefit from the CFD group’s knowledge and experiences?
“More than ever, all of us in this industry need to have the ability to quickly understand what’s happening inside our equipment,” said David Davidson, a former director of CFD at Solutia, “and, based on the information we have, find a solution that can make it better, more efficient, and more cost-effective.”
In short, the industry needed a tool to address a CFD user’s dual role as technological wizard and business-minded professional.

This FLUENT simulation uses FieldView to illustrate how a helical mixer blade combines two fluids and drives them toward the bottom of a tank where they are mixed effectively via strong recirculation.

Post Processing Software Leads the Way


One such postprocessor is FieldView. Developed and marketed by Intelligent Light of Rutherford, New Jersey, FieldView takes data sets (large volumes of raw numbers) produced by the CFD solver and generates 2D and 3D images, which can then be organized and manipulated by users to understand how the device they’re designing will react with heat, gas, or fluids. The solution works with data generated by just about any of today’s leading CFD solvers and presents the mathematical results in 3D visual representations.
Veteran CFD users in the chemical processing industry can attest to the importance of having a powerful postprocessor on hand. These users—many of whom were considered leading-edge pioneers just a few years ago—now sit at the forefront of this dynamic industry, facing the technical challenge of designing or optimizing equipment in addition to the business challenges of day-to-day operations.
The postprocessor is well-suited to help CFD users in the chemical processing arena after having proven its effectiveness in other complex design environments. For years, CFD users in industries like aerospace and automotive have used postprocessing solutions to analyze aircraft designs, peer inside combustion engines, and perform other analytical functions. As in these industries, accuracy, functionality, and flexibility are necessities in the chemical industry, where increasing complexities and workloads are challenging even the most veteran of CFD users.

Christian von Törne of Bayer used this simulation to quantify the impact of a chemical reaction on physical operating conditions.

“Our work is nowhere near done when the solver gives us data,” said Davidson. “There are so many steps to accomplish when we design or optimize our equipment. A powerful postprocessor like FieldView lets us reach our goals in a very efficient, cost-effective manner. It’s that level of functionality and accuracy that’s necessary in this business.”
The business Davidson referred to is a 10,000-employee international behemoth with $3.2 billion in annual sales in a number of divisions, including nylon fiber, chemicals, and acrylic fiber. A large portion of the business involves the design and development of highly specialized equipment used for spinning fibers, mixing chemicals, or cutting and measuring materials used both in house and also sold to international customers. Solutia’s experts also work with these customers to help them use the equipment more efficiently, and feedback informs the company’s equipment designers as they make improvements.

FieldView and CFX are combined to improve the baffle design in a drying apparatus. The aim was to get uniform air flow distribution in a certain area of the machine without undue pressure loss.

A Flexible Solution
Davidson directed a team of about eight CFD users, just two of whom were considered expert-level users. While the team supports the various divisions at Solutia in addition to its consultancy work with customers, the relatively small size of the CFD group combined with the sheer volume of its workload means it must leverage every advantage from its CFD tools. To accomplish this, the team maximizes features such as visualization and calculation tools, its ability to handle data sets from various solvers simultaneously, and its “batch mode” that allows the team to process multiple cases, export results, and share data with other design codes to integrate the analysis process.
It’s the combination of speed and functionality that Mathijs Goldschmidt relies on in his work with Akzo Nobel, a Netherlands-based producer of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and coatings.
Goldschmidt is responsible for applying CFD technology to support many internal business groups. He and his three-person team work on many types of challenges, from improving equipment design to streamlining research and even production processes.
As a result, the team needs a postprocessor to quickly and easily help it understand how everything—heat, liquid, gas, etc.—moves inside the process or device on which they are working. One of the most successful uses of the postprocessor for Akzo Nobel has been its work on the bubble column reactor.
“An environment like our bubble column reactor has to be highly calibrated in order to produce the accurate measurements that our clients require,” said Goldschmidt. “If we don’t completely understand the hydrodynamics of this controlled environment, then our clients can’t meet their goals. With FieldView, the compelling visualizations of our data gave us the quick, comprehensive view we needed to understand the situation.”

Value added In Numerous Ways
While quick and powerful performance is a common requirement in any chemical processing company’s technology solution, many users of FieldView have echoed a familiar sentiment: its intuitiveness and ease of use are key to their CFD success.
At Solutia, the CFD team’s workload had become so large that it just wasn’t practical to ride a learning curve of any kind. With FieldView, the team was able to implement the postprocessor almost immediately. The ability to efficiently and quickly integrate its features into existing processes is crucial when time to market can mean the difference between success and failure.
“This is a very competitive environment,” explains Dr. Christian von Törne, a CFD user with Bayer AG in Germany, a chemical and pharmaceutical giant, “so it is important to be able to do things quickly.” Dr. von Törne’s applications using the visualization program include optimizing the efficiency of his company’s process equipment. One example of a typical application requires him to find recirculation zones within reactors. For this, he uses a variety of features, including the Feature Extraction-Vortex Core tool, iso-surfaces, and cutting planes with projected vectors. These tools help him to identify the recirculation zones within reactors and then present the easily understood graphic results to colleagues or customers quickly and easily. “With FieldView I could start right away, without training. This is not something one would expect from such a complex tool.”
The postprocessor has become an integral component of CFD operations and beyond. It has not only provided technological benefits, but has improved and in some cases made it possible for CFD users to communicate problems, solutions, or ideas. This is an audience that might understand business, products, or services, but not necessarily CFD.
When using this tool in live presentations with customers, Akzo Nobel’s Goldschmidt and his team can “move dynamically, so the customer can guide you to the area of interest. This leads to a much better understanding of the process being studied,” he said. “In the past, if I had prepared a written report with pictures, I would invariably miss some angle or area that the customer wanted to see. With FieldView we can explore the data together.”
This improved interaction is a large benefit to the CFD team. Because the solution makes CFD data so clear, users like Goldschmidt can spend more time talking with customers about the real challenges in a design; he can get to the heart of a problem, without having to worry about the postprocessor. Presentations or projects can be streamlined, so discussions can focus on the issues the customer cares about most.
Intelligent Light makes such interaction and visual generation possible by equipping FieldView with advanced postprocessing features. These include Automated Feature Extraction, Surface Streamlines (oil flow traces), Data Set Comparison, quantitative analysis tools, and interactive tools to create high-quality presentations and animations.

Addressing Real Needs
In the end, features and functionality—no matter how innovative or advanced—do not benefit a company unless they help address the engineering challenges of today’s chemical processing industry. These challenges include achieving efficiency in product development, processes, and services; effectively interacting with customers and internal management alike; and being able to make informed decisions that can trim the cost of doing business.
Solutia’s Davidson once summed up his perspective on CFD postprocessors with a story about a colleague at a different company who was conducting measurement and optimization work on a chemical reactor. Management at this company gave this employee a directive to implement a new $1 million design in order to improve the reactor’s efficiency.
Sensing that something was amiss in the new design plans, the engineer performed some further measurements on the reactor and collected data on its hydrodynamics. He then took the data and generated some graphics using FieldView. To his surprise—and satisfaction—the results showed that, while the old design certainly did have some inefficiencies, the new design was not going to solve its problems.
“He just took the still images of his data,” said Davidson, “walked into the project meeting, and presented the visual evidence that supported his hunch that a new upgrade strategy was needed. Well, the room just went silent. There was all the proof management needed.”
The company eventually scrapped the new design, opting instead for an alternative plan supporting upgrades. Ultimately, the new course of action cost about 30 percent less than the redesign would have cost, and expected efficiencies were improved. “You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words?” said Davidson. “Well, these kinds of pictures are worth a million dollars.”
Steve M. Legensky is the general manager of Intelligent Light, Inc. You can contact him about this article via e-mail addressed to de-feedback@helmers.com.

by Steve M. Legensky