Bronswerk Heat Transfer BV (Nijkerk, The Netherlands) makes large-scale heat exchangers, where even small improvements in efficiency can translate into major savings in energy costs for users. Bronswerk uses EFD.Pro general-purpose engineering fluid dynamics software to develop new air-cooled coolers and fans with the potential to make an enormous impact in industries requiring a “greener” solution. While traditionally such equipment has a thermodynamic efficiency of up to 60%, Bronswerk designs based on the new fan achieve up to 80% efficiency. The new equipment can save as much as 15% of electricity use.
Bronswerk senior engineer Guus Bertels describes engineering fluid dynamics (EFD), the foundation for the fluid dynamics software, as being more practical than computational fluid dynamics (CFD). “EFD is a natural extension of CFD that is more intuitive for mechanical engineers,” he says. “The information generated with EFD.Pro especially for the taxing complexity of cooler aerodynamics is far beyond data obtainable through physical measurement and experimentation.”
The engineering team at Bronswerk used a combination of Pro/Engineer Wildfire from PTC, into which is embedded EFD.Pro from Flomerics Inc. (Marlborough, MA, U.S.). The two engineering tools enable Bronswerk to use a single design platform for geometrical design as well as mechanical and aerodynamic analysis without changing their design process.
While designing a new generation of cooler systems and fans, Bronswerk engineers faced a difficult challenge: to develop a new cooler and fan to be as quiet as possible to meet stringent environmental standards. To further complicate the matter, the new fan design needed to cope with a wide range of environmental (wind gusts and building interference) factors and pressure conditions, and the engineers turned to the EFD software.
“We were able to make hundreds of variations in the geometry to fine-tune the fan and heat exchanger performance and reduce costs without sacrificing quality,” Bertels says.
The fine-tuning led to a new design that is seen as a significant leap forward.
“Our challenge was to develop the quietest cooler system,” Bertels says. “The added efficiency was an additional and unexpected huge benefit. Sometimes when you want to improve something you can’t just improve it a little bit. You need a large improvement to break through into uncharted territories.”