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Turbomachines

Turbomachines

Design of turbomachines has been mainly based on a set of well established design methods mixed experience based coefficients. Although different literature sources provide for values for those coefficients, they never fail to mention that nothing replaces experience when designing, prototyping and building efficient turbomachines.

Although this still holds, CFD has certainly allowed companies to acquire this experience in building turbomachines virtually and testing them in a way not attainable in experiments.

CFD is certainly almost the only option for those exceptional turbomachines rarely described in literature or those which are totally new concepts.

ACMT has a proven track record of CFD based design, engineering and prototyping of exceptional turbomachines of which the predicted performances has been confirmed in prototype field test and which have delivered the required value added to our customers.

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CFD allows for detailed understanding of the inherently unstable complex and transient flow in turbomachines. The visualisation of the flow inside turbomachines is the basis for optimisation of the design for maximum performance or minimal cost.

CFD enhances the understanding of the loss mechanisms and efficiency coefficients available in advanced literature and recent academic articles in the field of flow mechanics and turbomachine design.

Case studies:

A high speed jet of air is well suited to clean, dry or cool objects that are moving in a continuous process. The images show the pressure gradient of the air flow through the impeller rotating at 30 000rpm.

Combined design of impeller with the diffusor and high speed exit nozzle, added greatly to the total performance of the turbomachine.

From our experience, the environment in which open fans are used contribute substantially to the overall performance of the installation. What was initially a good design can perform poorly when fans are used in confined spaces like heating or freezing tunnels. Special designed fans are to be used in these cases.

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This radial compressor is a design made for fast-flow, axial CO2, high-power, laser cutting machines.

Due to the special properties of helium, three stages are needed to obtain the required pressure rise. The 30kW compressor runs at 30 000rpm, accelerating the flow in the rotor channels to velocities near the speed of sound.

Besides the CFD design for rotor, diffusor and return vanes, the structural, dynamic and thermal design of the complete machine are made.

After prototype engineering and manufacturing, field tests are performed and proved the performance of the compressor within 3% of the values predicted in our CFD simulations.

To strengthen their competitive position by acquiring the manufacturing capabilities, and to avoid early warning to the competition by ordering a custom made helium mixture turbo compressor with the regular European OEM, a Flemish machine builder turned to ACMT to design, develop and prototype the helium turbo compressor for their new 3kW laser cutting machine. ACMT optimised the flow path for the helium mixture circuit and designed the impellers, diffusor and return vanes for the turbo compressor by using CFD. They also made the structural, dynamic and thermal design of the impeller and machine axis. Finally ACMT made the CAD model and production drawings for the prototype of: impellers, diffusors, return vanes, heat exchangers, axis, bearings and housing of the complete turbo machine. After assembly of the prototype, ACMT assisted in the laboratory tests to assess the performance of the turbo machine which was within 3% of the predicted values from the CFD design. The company conduced field tests to assess the lifetime predictions with several of their customers. Today this machine has been built into growing series and has been shipped and installed all over the world.

Few low power propeller pumps exist for extreme low head and high volume flow. Most commercial available machines are downrated versions of high power machines. In installations where many of these propeller pumps are required this represents an economic operational cost factor.

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