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FloEFD has enabled Graco to substantially improve the performance of its spray gun products while reducing time to market.

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The complete design process of all sizes took only about 3-4 months or about one-third as long as would have been required using the trial and error method.”

Rick Anderson, Senior Project Engineer, Graco

Designing a new spray gun

Rick Anderson, Senior Project Engineer at Graco, needed to develop a new spray gun with a wide pattern mix chamber capable of delivering round spray patterns with a diameter 50% greater than the standard guns.

In the past, the company’s engineers would have built and tested a benchmark design to identify performance problems and built new prototypes to run more tests. This process would have taken 9 to 12 months before CFD software.

Switch to CAD-embedded CFD

A few years ago Graco purchased CFD software and trained one of its engineers in its use. The result was substantial performance improvements in several products. However, the software was expensive, difficult to use, and took a long time to analyze each design. Then the only engineer who knew how to use the software left the company.

Engineers decided to evaluate alternative CFD software and discovered FloEFD, which is tightly integrated into the computer-aided design (CAD) software used by the company’s design engineers.


Iterating to an optimized design


Graco uses FloEFD to simulate flow trajectories in the mix module of its Fusion MP spray gun.

Anderson constructed a benchmark design using the company’s Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire CAD system and then used FloEFD to directly analyze its flow performance. “The use of software prototypes made it possible to explore a much wider design space than would have been possible with physical prototypes,” explains Anderson. “As a result, we are confident that this design is the best that can be achieved within the constraints of the project.”


Graco has since expanded their use of FloEFD to three different divisions. In each division, the software is used sequentially by many design engineers rather than being limited to a fluid dynamics expert. Anderson said that the use of CFD software, such as FloEFD, has made it possible for Graco to substantially improve the performance of its products while reducing time to market.

It’s important to note that I achieved these results despite the fact that I am a design engineer without any training in CFD.”

Rick Anderson, Senior Project Engineer, Graco

About Graco

Graco offers systems, products and technology that set quality and production standards in a wide range of fluid handling applications including spray finishing and paint circulation, lubrication, sealant and adhesives, processing, as well as power application equipment for the contractor industry. Founded in 1926, Graco’s ongoing investment in fluid management and control will continue to provide innovative solutions to a diverse global market.

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