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Research and Development of industrial agitators (R&D)

Through this department, we have a team of specialists committed to developing products with the highest standards of quality and functionality.

In the field of agitation for industrial processes, it is necessary to have experience and knowledge directed towards the paths of innovation and technology, i.e. through permanent research.

For this reason, in Autmix Flow we carry out theory, practice, systematizations, simulations in fluid dynamics and studies, based on the scientific method, which allows us to obtain clarity and security in each of the tasks of agitation and mixing: from the simplest to the most complex.

In this way, through the area of Research and Development (R&D), we reinvent industrial agitators through research.

R&D Research Stages

As a result of our experience in the industry, we have detected specific areas in which common mistakes can be avoided or processes can be improved. It is also possible that, in a direct way, some of our customers may point out particular situations in their agitation processes. Once analyzed, they are shared with the rest of the R&D team for resolution.

In order to understand the situation, we need to know the theoretical foundations where it develops. To achieve this, in R&D we collect information from various sources such as: books, scientific articles, theses, research projects, reports, patents, among others.

Thanks to the interdisciplinary training of the members and the experience in research projects, we select and synthesize the information needed to advance in the development of the project.

The exchange of ideas allows us to have a broader perspective of the situation and to make more diverse proposals to reach the final result. It is also possible to identify some of the main challenges during the development of the project and discuss possible solutions.

At this stage we select the technological tools to use depending on the nature of the situation. For example, if we consider using computational fluid dynamics (CFD), stress analysis or vibration analysis, among others.

One of the best ways to know the behavior of any part, equipment or system under conditions of behavior similar to those that will be subjected in reality, is through the development of computer simulations. The main advantages are in the cost savings and manufacturing time of the equipment if a real test is done.

The first step in this process is to make a 3D model of the system to be evaluated. This model arises as a result of the ideas discussed previously. Generally, different models are made that allow to know how the results vary if certain physical characteristics are changed.

A computational simulation performs a series of thousands (even millions) of calculations in order to know some parameter or physical behavior. To achieve this, it is necessary to divide our 3D model to be simulated in a large number of small units that allow to perform all these calculations.

This process is known as meshing and its purpose is to have a finite number of elements (known as cells), with which the selected software will be able to carry out all the necessary calculations.

This is one of the most important processes to ensure proper results; poor quality meshing can cause the results to not match reality. On the other hand, too fine meshing can take excessive processing time.

Once the mesh has been created, it is time to move on to the most important part of the research cycle: the simulation of the process. This stage would be the equivalent of developing an experimental test in a laboratory under controlled conditions.

As mentioned before, the simulation to be developed depends on the nature of the problem to be solved. However, the most used is CFD because it is especially useful when we seek to know the operation of new types of agitators, impellers or the agitation process.

Among the main values to be obtained are:

  • Power consumption
  • Flow velocity
  • Force on the impeller

On the other hand, fluid analysis is one of the most complex branches of science; we must have a solid base of knowledge in exact sciences to carry out studies in this field.

This scientific basis allows the simulation to be correctly configured, depending on the characteristics of the process and the conditions under which it is to be evaluated. Thus, it is possible to decide whether the simulation can be considered stable or transient, or whether the regime is laminar or turbulent, for example.

Throughout the simulation process, the simulation is carefully monitored to ensure that the results match the real environment as closely as possible.

After completion of the simulation it is time to analyze the results obtained. There are tools available to analyze the results in different ways. For example, if you want to observe the fluid motion, a video with the velocity profile or a vector image are good ways to obtain this information.

On the other hand, if we want to know the variation of the torque along the whole process, a graph of this value as a function of the agitation time is the best option.

With the help of data analysis tools, such as Matlab and Python, it is possible to filter all the necessary information and deduce whether the results make sense or not. In this way, if the results obtained do not satisfy the R&D team, a new simulation is carried out, making the necessary adjustments.

Finally, after having gone through all the stages of the research process and based on the results obtained, it is time to implement the solution.

The former can be a physical process or a theoretical one. For example, changing the inclination of the agitator impellers is an example of the former, while the implementation of a mathematical formula that allows to calculate the power absorbed by a certain type of impeller can exemplify the latter.

To recapitulate, the research and development process is a continuous cycle, since, even if the initial problem has been solved, new questions arise. These questions serve as a starting point for the development of future research projects, and even to anticipate and propose solutions to new challenges in the industry.

Software in agitation

With the continuous development of tools, in charge of the R&D research team, we generate adaptations to the agitators, products and profiles ad hoc to the progressive advance of the industry. Thus, by means of these tools for internal use, we plan, verify and design our equipment.

Through the innovation and creation of specialized software in the research process - across the digitalization of data, as well as the use of algorithms capable of performing mathematical calculations quickly - we improve and obtain, with greater accuracy, the projections of the processes.

The main advantages of having this type of software are the following:

Facilitate the design process.

Streamline customer service.

Ensure quality and eliminate human error.

Verify the reliability of the equipment.

Identify agitation parameters and ratios.

In addition to the above, this software is constantly evolving. Thus, we remain as a reference in the research of fluid dynamics for industrial agitation and mixing procedures.

CFD and FEA simulations

Using highly developed software, we carry out simulations, i.e. the recreation of agitation and mixing processes. This allows us to test or rule out hypotheses or to solve mathematical operations describing the behaviour of mixers by means of numerical analysis methods.

In R&D we obtain a close version and as close to reality of the equipment operation, prior to its construction, in order to know if it adapts to the requirements requested by the customer according to the material conditions of the processes to be developed. For this purpose, we use two softwares to perform agitation and mixing simulations: CFD and FEA. Next, we will explain them in detail.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Simulation

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a method designed to perform simulations of fluid behavior, heat transfer and mass transfer.

Through CFD, it is possible to perform millions of mathematical calculations to solve the needs in relation to various processes and their reaction during the agitation or mixing phases, obtaining an accurate result, fast and with a minimum percentage of error.

Among the advantages of simulation by means of CFD we find:

Preview results and obtain flow patterns, turbulence data, pressure, temperature, among others.

Simplicity in analytical processes.

Cost reduction compared to the experimental method.

Minimal error rate for accurate and detailed results.

Optimisation of the intensity-consumption ratio.

Simulation in Finite Elements Analysis (FEA)

Another of the tools used for simulation in the design of the agitators is the Finite Elements Analysis (FEA). This development allows us to analyze each of the components of the agitator or impeller, in order to have a clearer idea of how the elements react to the processes they will be subjected to.

The objective: to have accurate predictions of its effects such as mechanical stress, fatigue, critical speed, bending of components, among others. Based on these results, we can identify the safety and warranty of the equipment before starting the manufacturing of the devices.

Do you want to know more about the simulations in CFD and FEA that use R&D to innovate in the manufacture of mixers and impellers for mixtures? Contact us, at Autmix Flow your satisfaction is our motivation.

Mathematical models

By performing the aforementioned simulations, we have an accurate graphical reference of the agitator operation during a given process. In addition, it provides us with the necessary parameters present in the agitation task. This information is used by the R&D department to carry out the methodological process based on the scientific method, and thus, generate the mathematical model of the agitation equipment.

On the other hand, with the availability of the model it is possible to check the functionality of the equipment. Firstly, covering the customer's needs and, secondly, according to the strictest international standards in force. Likewise, our group of experts uses these tools to find areas of opportunity in each industrial agitator or impeller and seek constant improvement.

Finally, we must emphasize that the use of mathematical models is necessary for the development of new equipment.

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