Watts Industries Netherlands Ensures Safe Drinking Water by Using Engineering Fluid Dynamics
Watts Industries Netherlands BV used FloEFD, the popular Engineering Fluid Dynamics (EFD) software to develop a range of water backflow prevention devices while drastically reducing their design test period. "By using FloEFD we have been able to develop a complete range of products instead of just one or two products" explained René Aarntzen, R&D / Engineering Manager. "Testing, which used to take 2 weeks, now takes only one day; therefore, our design test schedule has shortened dramatically."
Watts Industries manufactures and markets backflow prevention devices and automatic control valves for domestic, commercial and industrial use of water. Since contamination of drinking water could prove disastrous, Watts must meet strict European Ministry of Health standards for water suppliers in addition to supplemental standards adopted by France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
As a result, Watts has embraced the principles of concurrent engineering: the "Dry" R&D Department uses Autodesk Inventor for solid modeling with Flomerics FloEFD for analysis while the "Wet" Department verifies the performance of the prototype on a test rig. The impact of this system has been significant. Within the first 10 months of adopting their virtual prototyping system they were able to build and test 1 to 2 virtual prototypes a day – this system has proved so reliable that they have been using their system 24 hours a day.
In addition, the team of experts at Watts has gained new insight into their designs. "Our team has more than 40 man-years of empirical experience on fluid flow phenomena. We knew that certain behaviors were present in our models but we didn't know their impact until we saw the results generated by FloEFD" mentioned Mr. Aarntzen. "FloEFD has definitely allowed us to further investigate both the good and the bad aspects of our designs. As a result, we have been able to further improve our products."
Due to the nature of their products, Watts will continue to verify their new designs on their test rigs. "For the past year we have found exactly the same results from FloEFD and our test rig. That's important because maybe in a few years, after we've built an extensive library of results, then we won't need to build and test physical prototypes anymore" said Mr. Aarntzen.
For additional information on Watts Industries, please visit www.wattsindustries.com.
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