Simulating their Way to Engineering Solutions
- Dr Ravindra Aglave, Director-Chemical Process, CD-adapco

Opportunities are tremendous due to the growth potential of the chemical industry in India. With the growth and demand, the only way the chemical industry can innovate at a rapid speed and manufacture at reduced cost is when the latest technology is available to help them deliver.” said Dr Ravindra Aglave, Director-Chemical Process, CD-adapco while speaking to Mittravinda Ranjan at ACHEMA on their ingenious simulation software and discussing trends and opportunities in the Indian market.

Changes in the process industry According to Dr Aglave, the chemical and process industry has been under pressure because of rising raw material cost, manufacturing cost and environmental regulations for many years. To ease this pressure, engineers have to provide new and innova t i ve solutions in business relevant time scales. This is either accomplished by formulating new products or engineering new processes to manufacture chemicals on a large scale on 1000s of tonnes per year.
C D - adapco products are useful in engineering new manufacturing methods because they reduce the designing time and also help analyse those designs for sufficiency. If cer tain designs are not performing to the expected level, the situation can be rectified by performing computat ional f luid dynamics (CFD) simulations to reduce the amount of expensive experiments in the laboratory.

Dr Aglave i n fo r ms that CD-adapco products are essentially designed to create those experiments in a vir tual space and thereby reduce the t ime required to take the product to the marke t . Thus CD-adapco products perfectly respond to fulfilling the market demands of any new market. This also enabl es the company to respond i n t e r ms of their precise requirements when their clients are trying to design new processes. With every release of the ingenious STAR-CCM+ software, a vir tual sandbox for engineers, the company is better equipped to respond to the future wishes and demands of the clients. CD-adapco is the only known company in its domain that offers three releases of STAR-CCM+ software every year and delivers a fast cycle of response to its customers.

Trends across Simulation Software domain
Dr Aglave notes that there is growing complexity and bigger problems which means that people need bigger computers to perform simulations. People are eager to resolve different aspects of a problem simultaneously; such needs can only be handled by bigger computers. The benefit of having bigger computers is that the problems will be solved efficiently in a short span of time.

More often than not, users are eager to look into fluid flow and heat transfer, motion, corrosion, and acoustics as all these factors influence how products will be designed. CD-adapco responds by including cutting edge technologies which enable one to study the complex motion of bodies using overset meshes or Chimera meshes, par ticle flows using Discrete Element Method (DEM) where f l ow of fluid is coupled with flow of par ticles – a very unique benefit offered by CD-adapco. The company recently did a benchmark study at NCSA in Illinois, USA where a problem with billion cells was scaled up to 102,000 cores by getting close to 75 per cent parallel efficiency. The solutions offered by this company are in line with the trends of the industry and based on physics, motion, chemistry and scalability.

Receptiveness of Indian companies to buy new software
The Indian companies started accepting the software because many international companies began using them, bringing in the benefits. Indian companies also need to be competitive as the market has become completely global which means that most of the hurdles have been removed.

The company is currently in talks with some of the largest chemical companies in India who want to acquire this technology and to use it in-house. As the market changes; obviously the technology needs to be upgraded and these upgrades occur as new updated version of the software is made available every four months. This helps to be responsive to customers because solutions are already present to take care of new demands, without having to wait for a longer duration.

Competition with peers and share in India market
Dr Aglave stated that chemical industry division has experienced a growth of 22-23 per cent over the last 3-4 years. He attributes this success to their philosophy in simulation, support of the users and cutting edge tools.

Growth Drivers and Focus
The focus of CD-adapco is to make tools perfect for solving a given problem. Dr Aglave said that the market share enjoyed by their competitors do not drive the company to be better in the industry. The driving motto of this company is solving engineering problems, to create a tool that is useful in solving those problems. The company was founded by engineers, is run privately by engineers, and the focus is solely to offer solutions to a diverse range of industries.

Opportunities in Indian industry
Opportunities are tremendous due to the growth potential of the chemical industry in India, says Dr Aglave. The population is upwardly mobile where everyone needs carpets, rugs and paints and other essential utilities which are essentially driven by the chemical industry. With the growth and demand, the chemical industry is eager to step up and manufacture to fulfil this demand. However, it has to be done in a competitive manner and prevent producing something that is expensive. The only way to manufacture at a rapid speed is when the technology is available to help them deliver.

CD-adapco is keen to explore the Indian market and is ready with examples to provide validation of success stories. Dr Aglave said that the company is looking forward to getting in touch with management level industry players that can understand the depth and breadth of what such technology can do in terms of cost and competitiveness. With the tremendous number of skilled engineers produced every year in India, a behind-the-scenes process is in motion that can help expansion.

Simulation for problem solving
While elaborating about the simulation software, Dr Aglave shared an incident where the reactor head of a chemical manufacturing company was encountering two d i f ferent problems. One was hindering the functioning of the reactor as the explosion in the reactor would require the process to be shut down for maintenance and would consume a considerable amount of time. The simulation was performed so as to detect the root of the problem so that appropriate elimination routes could be devised at the earliest. The simulation not only detected the problem but also helped to pick out the best method to resolve the issue. However, post implementation of this solution; difficulty was experienced in starting the reactor from a standstill point.

A proper procedure was devised that specified the steps that need to be followed on an hourly basis. Once the startup procedure was thoroughly followed, the problem of explosion was eliminated completely which helped the company achieve the desired product quality. This entire process helped the (client’s) company to improve the overall perfor mance and utilise 5 per cent less raw material which translates to millions in Euros.

Dr Aglave added that when designing chemical process plants or trouble-shooting of chemical process plants, people use two main methods – one is conducting many experiments and the other is based on experience and both have limitations. Adding another tool to these methods can help to remove limitations easily. Sometimes, a single tool is not enough and combinations of tools are needed to resolve the problem. CD-adapco tools have a certain strength that can help the process of resolving problems. The users only need to have an open mind to expand their portfolio for the benefit of their own company and the benefit of the industry at large.