Azbil uses CFD analysis to design control valves and explains how implementation of this highly accurate fluid analysis design system that employs frequently upgraded analysis functions has helped them to successfully reduce cost. Mr. Yoshio Nomaguchi from Azbil (Development 1, Valve Product Development Dept.) tells the story behind Azbil’s success.
Azbil Corporation is one of the largest measurement and control equipment manufacturers in Japan. The company officially established its symbol “azbil” and group philosophy in 2006, with the objective “to contribute to global environment preservation through human-centered automation." This was followed by the corporate name change from Yamatake Corporation to Azbil Corporation in 2012.
Azbil mainly consists of three businesses.
Mr. Nomaguchi is in charge of developing control valves, one of Azbil’s major products, which are inserted between pipes to adjust the fluid flow for transferring liquid and air in pipes for plants, factories and air-conditioning systems. Having sold domestically produced control valves in Japan since 1936, Azbil is known as a pioneer in this field with rich history of successful sales records.
Azbil’s control valves can be categorized into two types.
Mr. Nomaguchi’s division deals with the latter.
As illustrated in figure 2, chilled/hot water is pumped to each floor, and when it reaches to the air-conditioner, heat is exchanged, creating cold/hot air. Control valves adjust the amount of chilled/hot water flow in the system. The valves can be small or large depending on system requirements. A valve can fit in one hand or be so large that it weighs over 100kg.
Just as there has been a growing demand in recent years for almost all products to become smaller and lighter, the same applies to control valves. Miniaturizing is also energy efficient for equipment like control valves which are operated by electric motors. Smaller internal components reduce energy consumption. In addition, a smaller valve makes the overall weight lighter and easier to install. Mr. Nomaguchi says that it’s essential to design the valve that enables to get the required flow, and meet other design requirements while making the valve as small as possible.
The design must achieve less fluid noise and less cavitation (formation of vapor cavities in liquid when the pressure rapidly decreases). Cavitation creates fluid noise and damages the valves. According to Mr. Nomaguchi, until recently their designing process involved using estimations from their experiences for how much flow can be expected for a certain flow passage area. Since facing the situation where they must take fluid noise and cavitation into consideration, they decided to apply fluid analysis software.
Mr. Nomaguchi claims that what convinced Azbil to employ SC/Tetra compared to other fluid analysis software, were the facts that its analysis and test results are in close agreement with the experimental results and that it is capable of flexibly generating a mesh because of its unstructured mesh. Cradle, the developer of SC/Tetra, was also responsive to Azbil's request for support. This enabled them to solve problems quickly with the respective staffs keeping in touch through emails and phone. Mr. Nomaguchi considered this as excellent customer support.
As a team that undertakes product design, prototype development, and experiment execution all by themselves, Mr. Nomaguchi’s division uses SC/Tetra to estimate the flow and velocity distribution within the valve. Analysis models are mainly created by CADthru. “Since upgrading to version 7, SC/Tetra has become much easier to operate, allowing us to specify conditions using the settings wizard. Another change was that if we want to re-analyze using a different condition, we can now easily change input boundary conditions with a text editor without having to restart SC/Tetra,” says Mr. Nomaguchi.
|Businesses||Development and designing measurement and control equipment|
Seiji Onoki (Chairman)
Hirozumi Sone (President, CEO)
|Headquarters||Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Number of Employees||5,335 (as of March 2013)|
|Capital||Approx. 10.5 billion JPY
(as of April 2013)
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