Design & SimulationMay 14, 2020

Keeping Machinery Cool with Cloud-Based Simulation Solution

While simulation has been in use in some industries for a long…
Avatar Clare Scott

While simulation has been in use in some industries for a long time, other fields, such as industrial, construction and agricultural machinery, have only begun to utilize it. These industries have, however, found important uses for the technology, particularly in the area of engine cooling.

In contrast to automobiles, these slow moving and stationary machinery do not have any “free” ram air to help with the cooling but rely solely on the performance of the cooling package including cooling fan(s) and heat exchangers to reject the excess heat. Thus, an effective cooling system is extremely important for them. Cooling maintains thermal efficiency and keeps parts from overheating and subsequent safety and durability issues. Gradual heating is required to avoid thermal shock, and uniform cooling is crucial to prevent temperature spikes that can result in structural issues.

Designing an effective system to circulate coolant around the engine block is a complex task that can be significantly simplified with the right digital processes. Keeping this coolant at a low temperature, even in hot environments, is imperative to maintaining performance and keeping them running.

Some digital processes, however, require a great deal of expertise due to their complexity. This puts serious limits on who is able to work on a cooling system design, relegating tasks to the more simulation-savvy, rare individuals within a company. In some companies, those individuals may not exist, forcing the company to outsource the simulation work to engineering services companies or to spend valuable time and money on additional training. Even worse, they may end up relying on physical testing seriously impairing the performance of the machine while increasing development cost. Even with that training, inexperienced users can make mistakes. This can lead to delays in releasing the machinery as well, overages on product development budgets, and losing market share.

SIMULIA, however, has developed a cloud-powered solution that is easily used by designers, simulation analysts and experts. The engine cooling automated process, which utilizes PowerFLOW and is hosted on SIMULIA Cloud, is fully automated and requires no prior knowledge of simulation. A user simply needs to input basic data on the desired operating condition of the machinery, and the automated process does the rest of the work, simulating how the cooling system will function in installed condition.

“We know exactly what our customers’ pain points are when they turn to simulation technologies to assist with the engine cooling systems,” Tristan Donley, Industry Process Consult Senior Manager from SIMULIA, said. “We’ve listened to their feedback and that is why SIMULIA developed an automated solution for the market.”

According to Satheesh Kandasamy, Industry Process Expert Director from SIMULIA, “The idea to develop an automated process originated from our experience with the equipment manufacturers around the globe, where an engineer who is involved with testing, designing an equipment that also need to run simulations to get insight into reasons for change in performance due to design changes. Unlike T&M industry, IE industry does not always have a dedicated CAE division that can support analysis. This means the engineers who work on the design and testing of the equipment has to do the analysis as well. Unfortunately, due to demanding task of designing an equipment, there is no time for the engineer to learn a CAE workflow that involves multiple modules that vary quite a bit. In order to empower our clients to design and develop world-class equipment that they excel in, we took a strategic decision to develop this end-to-end automated process to deliver the results that our clients were looking for to design world-class equipment.”

Because SIMULIA’s automated process can be used by anyone, regardless of experience level, it allows multiple team members to collaborate, sharing information and designing more efficiently. Multiple design runs can be easily submitted, best practices are built into the automated process reducing possible errors, while balancing best simulations cost and enabling an optimal design.

“The cloud environment has led to a much faster/natural collaboration between sites and countries.  The ability to view/process results simultaneously between sites and engineering groups with zero file transfers and no software to install has led to better communication of results and ideas,” said 2020 SIMULIA Champion Jamison Huber, Sr. Simulation Engineer from NA Acceleration Center in Doosan Bobcat (Bismarck, ND).

SIMULIA offers a unique and integrated engine cooling solution to the industrial, construction and agricultural machinery industry leveraging the truly rotating mesh for cooling fan modeling and the fully transient and high-accuracy Lattice-Boltzmann solver of PowerFLOW.

“This new automated process, which connects all the dots in the CFD simulation process through automation techniques including computer vision, has opened a new era for engine cooling simulation market,” said Kandasamy.

To understand the difference that the new automated process makes, one must understand the simulation process without it. The analyst would need to have knowledge of fluid mechanics, heat transfer, fan modeling and heat exchanger design. He or she would also have to know how to prepare the surface mesh from the CAD model, which could consume several days or more, and the analyst would have to be knowledgeable on how to prepare the volume mesh. Once the model is prepared, the next step would be to input all the simulation parameters in the GUI-based software, which assumes the analyst already has an intimate understanding of the software. Unfortunately, this is a very error-prone process where human mistakes are frequent. After the simulation has run, the analyst then manually processes the simulation results, again assuming he or she knows what is necessary for a good quality check of the results and how to obtain the necessary information from the simulation. The manual process can take several days and also wastes resources if reruns are required due to errors in the simulation setup.

The new automated process integrates all of these simulation processes together by automatically preparing the surface mesh from the CAD model, preparing the volume mesh, simplifying the simulation input parameters, submitting the simulation to run, and auto-generating standard simulations result. Each step incorporates standard best practices that have been developed over thousands of simulations to provide the most accurate simulation result. The total labor time saving is up to 80%.

“As an engineer that operates in a competitive world, the automated process gives me the chance to simulate some very complex and expensive tests, thus reducing the number of physical testing. The process is always being improved by the SIMULIA team, by automating the meshing process, setting up the analysis, and reading the results, with just some intervention from my part I can see some results a lot faster,” said Sergiu Ciuparu, the Design Engineer from the Power Train Engineering Department in Doosan Portable Power (Statesville, NC).

The automated engine cooling simulation process is situated on the SIMULIA Cloud, which makes it even easier for individuals to work together across departments and separate locations; all files are kept in a safe and secure environment that can be accessed at any time by anyone assigned to the project. With its ease of use and access, SIMULIA’s new automated process makes a complicated process extremely simple.

SIMULIA offers an advanced simulation product portfolio, including AbaqusIsightfe-safeToscaSimpoe-MoldSIMPACKCST Studio SuiteXFlowPowerFLOW and more. The SIMULIA Learning Community is the place to find the latest resources for SIMULIA software and to collaborate with other users. The key that unlocks the door of innovative thinking and knowledge building, the SIMULIA Learning Community provides you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, whenever and wherever.

Stay up to date

Receive monthly updates on content you won’t want to miss


Register here to receive a monthly update on our newest content.