Siemens 2017 Energy & Process CFD Symposium

HOUSTON — The Energy & Process CFD Symposium event in Houston May 17–18 was the first for the former CD-Adapco event to be under the Siemens umbrella. Early last year, Siemens acquired CD-Adapco and Red Cedar, and their two respective flagship software brands STAR-CCM+ and HEEDS still live on, as part of Siemens Portfolio Lifecycle Management (PLM) SimCenter portfolio suite of simulation software and test solutions.

The event throughout held a steady balance between product information and customers sharing experience. A strong take-away message was how well-modeled simulation, supported by selected test data, can support the design exploration process, resulting in robust optimal solutions using the “digital twin” of physical design.

The keynote speaker from Honda, illustrated how balancing needs for battery cooling with power to the wheels paid off in a race contest to the top of Pikes Peak. The Honda race car beat a more powerful car that overheated in the endurance race up that mountain.

Several speakers presented on issues of relevance to downstream refining and petrochemical plants, including particulate attrition research by PSRI, dividing wall column simulation and scale-up by University of Texas, three complex physics examples for the refining industry from Porter-McGuffie, and improved pump efficiency from Mechanical Solutions Inc. Several of the design exploration examples using HEEDS did not involve CFD or FEA, rather used the powerful SHERPA algorithm from Red Cedar to find optimal solutions without needing to provide any starting point. What they were optimizing included process simulations and spreadsheets.

Attendees were polled for common themes that resonated with them. In addition to the points made above, smart design of testing in parallel with simulation gets better value from limited testing, and extend with simulation for parameters that are not easily tested. The simulations, when properly matched with the right test data, can reduce uncertainty and over-engineering. Visualization is also a powerful tool to communicate what the model runs reveal, help build understanding across disciplines, add powerful impact to marketing and proposals.

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