Drying simulations

New supercomputer lifts GEA to another league

A new supercomputer – an HPC cluster with 512 cores, 90 TB of disk space and 2 TB RAM – puts GEA Process Engineering in a league of its own regarding Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations of spray drying processes. The benefit for the customers is even better and more efficient spray drying plants.

Process simulations are the key for developing better and more efficient processing plants. GEA Process Engineering has been ahead of the game since the company introduced the Drynetics method in 2008. By using real drying properties established by single droplet experiments, the Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations provide far more precise results. But because the new 512 core HPC cluster has more and faster CPUs, more RAM and larger storage capacity, and therefore is more than six times as powerful as the previous computer, GEA’s Fluid Mechanics R&D-team can now push the boundaries for what’s possible even further – whether the job is to give proof of the performance of a given design, help trouble shooting on existing plants or developing new dryer components.

“With this computer we can process the smaller and less complicated simulations a lot faster avoiding bottlenecks, and at the same time complete far larger and more complicated calculations within a reasonable amount of time,” says Mads Reck from the Fluid Mechanics R&D team in Copenhagen. “It allows us to do simulations so advanced, that it puts us ahead of any and all competition. Had competitors started to catch up, this is a giant leap effectively leaving them behind,” he continues.
Extensive CFD simulations were, for example, key when the world’s biggest dairy spray drying plant, Fonterra’s Darfield D2 in New Zealand, was designed. All components were examined and optimized for the complete process line and advanced CFD modelling techniques were then used to further optimize and confirm the design for all critical parts. The plant was successfully started up last year and has had continued plant performance throughout its first season. Another use of CFD simulation is troubleshooting and optimization of existing spray drying where it is applied to re-configure the spray dryer and detect and remedy any bottlenecks. This is an area with great potential for many customers.
The new supercomputer contains 512 cores, and has 90 TB of disk space and 2 TB RAM. This makes it a very strong tool for advanced CFD simulations. GEA is not only using it to simulate spray drying processes. Other technologies, like the company’s mixing technology, are benefiting from the insights gained from advanced process simulations.

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