In keeping with the R.P. Adams slogan, “Innovators of Filtration and Heat Exchange Products” the R.P. Adams engineering department has recently acquired a new and exciting software package, SolidWorks Flow Simulation. SolidWorks Flow Simulation integrates with the standard SolidWorks 3D CAD package and provides a powerful CFD (computational fluid dynamic) tool. For many years we here at R.P. Adams could only make assumptions about the flow characteristics of our strainers, filters and heat exchangers. We now have the ability to examine complex flows through our units to detect turbulences, determine pressure drops and circulation issues with animation flow trajectories. The flow analysis can even be coupled with thermal analysis, simulating convection, conduction and radiation effects. With this new software we can easily simulate fluid flow, heat transfer, and fluid forces that are critical to the success of our designs.
In our efforts to do much needed Research & Development on our line of automatic water strainers, filters and heat exchangers we believe that this software can be of immense help. It will allow us to design new products and/or components and simulate flow conditions in a virtual world. Testing and evaluation of our current product lines could also be done in this virtual world. Flow will let us see inside the solid model of the unit and evaluate the flow patterns, velocities and particle tracings and to determine what is actually working and what is not, therefore allowing optimization of the design. We can determine the feasibility of these designs while at the same time, removing the time consuming process of building a full size unit and doing real world testing.
The Flow Simulation software also provides us with a tool that has the potential to increase sales of our units. In the past we have had customers come to us with a request to use one of our products with a non-standard fluid that was not in our comfort zone. Unfortunately we had to turn down the request to quote because we just didn’t know if our product would work for their application. With the Flow Simulation program we can model our unit using the customer’s fluid and flow conditions. The program will allow us to easily evaluate the flow conditions and determine feasibility. The program can even be used to create a flow animation to actually show the customer how the product will work. These flow animations are a great sales tool to show potential customers exactly how our units work.
Another area where we plan to use the Flow Simulation software would be to troubleshoot a customer‘s system which contains one or more of our units. If a customer states that they are having a problem with high DP through our strainer or other units we can model the system and determine more easily where the problem is. If fact, we have already had a case where a customer reported that a unit we sold them was producing a higher differential pressure than our sizing program said they should get. We were able to take a solid model of that unit, input the customer’s system conditions and determine that a larger unit was required. The program allowed us to quickly evaluate the problem, determine the cause and provide a solution. We see a lot of potential for this because when a customer has a problem they need, and expect, a quick resolution.
In the future we see the Flow Simulation program playing a vital role in the engineering department. The CFD will provide us with meaningful insight into the flow dynamics of our products. With it we can compare design variations to make better design decisions, and to create new products that are superior in performance.