Computer modeling: A tool for predicting equipment performance — Part I
One problem facing many processors today is accurately predicting how a major structural modification will affect a process machine's performance. With the cost of high-speed computers dropping and software becoming more powerful, it's more practical and cost-effective than ever to use computer modeling to solve such complex industrial problems. Using the example of a spray dryer that will be modified to produce an improved powder, this two-part article describes how you can use computational fluid dynamics modeling to predict the performance of modified equipment before you make hardware changes. This and similar computer modeling methods can be applied to predicting the performance of various bulk solids processing equipment. Part II will appear in the October issue.
Modifying your equipment to improve a final product's quality or to handle a new product involves some risk. Downtime for the equipment changeover can eat up your profits, not only because of the days or weeks required to modify and install the equipment, but because field-testing the new configuration takes time too. Your profits can drop even more if the performance improvements you expect don't materialize and you end up going back to your original equipment configuration or making further modifications.