Double-time. Instantaneous. Faster than the speed of light. No… these words do not describe the speed by which I reach a conclusion (although my husband would beg to differ). These words refer to our generation wanting things.
We want it now.
We can’t wait. We no longer purchase a DVD online and wait for it to arrive – at a touch of a button we stream the movie and watch it immediately. Forget about websites that take too long to load – we move on to the next one faster than you can say “connecting, transferring, connecting…“. Sign a document and fax it? How very last century – send it via email and it’s made it across the world double quick time and without any danger of a paper-cut. Build multiple physical prototypes and test them to confirm the performance of the various designs? Sure… why not. Hey, wait a second, how did that get in there?
In this day and age of fast, faster, fastest, it is amazing that some organizations still insist on testing multiple physical prototypes instead of using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software for simulation. I fully understand why you’d want to test a physical prototype but surely testing multiple virtual models is the faster and less expensive option. Then once you’re happy with the results, you can build a physical prototype for final verification purposes.
For example, Encore Drill Bits is a relatively small drill bit manufacturer. They provide oilfield polycrystalline diamond compact (PDC) drill bits. Because of the rough drilling environment for both the cutters and the bit body, the preferred bit choice for tough drilling areas has historically been the roller cone bit; however, their relative inexpensiveness is negated by the number of bits required to finish drilling a section of the well. Encore planned to develop a bit that can drill the entire section with only one bit and be rebuilt several times as this helps reduce the costs for both the operator and Encore. However, the early versions of the bit showed an erosion problem after only one or two runs. Because Encore sets its rental rates based on being able to rebuild the bits, the severe erosion affected the company’s ability to rebuild the bit cost effectively.
Obviously, the drilling process doesn’t exactly make it easy to discover what kind of flow pattern might be causing the untimely erosion. So Encore uses CAD- embedded CFD software to optimize the PDC bit during the design phase because the time and cost required to perform CAD-embedded CFD are much lower than with conventional CFD tools. For example, it took Vince Salvo, Design Engineer for Encore Bits, only 1 day to optimize the design of the company’s F-5165D bit. The CFD simulation identified high flow areas near one blade that reduced the life of the bit. From looking at the simulation results, Salvo gained an understanding of the problem which almost immediately gave him ideas on how to improve the performance of the design. He tried several ideas … singly and in combination and with each design iteration, he gained additional insight that helped drive steady improvements. Needless to say, the bit was introduced to the market and it is performing beautifully. If you’d like to read more about Mr. Salvo’s challenge and how he used CFD to gain insight the faster, better way, please follow this link.
And if you’re looking for a way to do things the faster, better way, then take a look at FloEFD - the preferred software of choice for design engineers who don’t have the time (or inclination) to mess around with old school general purpose CFD tools. You can find many application examples here and quite a few on-demand presentations here.
Until next time,
PS. If you’re in the San Jose area, please stop by booth 202 at Semi-THERM at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. We’ll be showcasing our MicReD thermal characterization products. We will also have a new surprise for the engineering community. I’m not going to tell you what it is today but if you want a cheeky peek then stop by Ballroom E today at 2 PM. All I can say about it now is: it’s very cool.