Purdue University Northwest’s CIVS Surpasses Expectations for Local Manufacturer

Purdue-Northwest-colorRobert Moss, Director of Engineering at Dwyer Instruments, Inc., understands the significance of precision in his role at the Michigan City-based manufacturer of controls, sensors, and instrumentation solutions. He also appreciates the value that computational investigative techniques, such as those used by Purdue University Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation (CIVS), can bring to solving fluid flow complications.

Through collaboration between CIVS researchers and Dwyer engineers, one such puzzling phenomenon was resolved through simple modification to current parts of an instrument. This solution was developed, recommended, and implemented in less than three months. Moss noted that without the alliance with CIVS, the company “would have encountered significant challenges to manufacturing the product.”

“I was amazed by how quickly the problem was solved and the significant improvement this will have on our ability to manufacture our new Insertion Flow Transmitter going forward,” said Moss. “I shared my excitement with our senior team and emphasized how important this collaboration is to Dwyer.”

The phenomenon under investigation involved an Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter (magmeter), which can be installed into pipes to measure fluid velocity. Through much experimentation prior to the partnership, Dwyer’s engineers had encountered difficulties in automatic calibration of the instrument.

Knowing that a better understanding of the fluid flow field around the magmeter was needed, but lacking sufficient computational resources for the required simulations, Dwyer brought the phenomenon to CIVS as a collaborative project.

The research team, comprised of CIVS Senior Research Engineer Armin Silaen, Ph.D.; Dwyer Research Engineer Shilei Ma, Ph.D.; and CIVS student Haibo Ma, used Dwyer-provided physical data to model both the instrumentation and environment. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was applied to analyze flow fields under different conditions.

Research quickly led to identifying the underlying cause of the problem as well as possible solutions. The team suggested a solution that reduced the calibration time by 50 percent. That solution was implemented into Dwyer’s production process in less than a week—surpassing all expectations.

CIVS Director and Purdue Northwest Professor of Mechanical Engineering Chenn Zhou summed up the project’s outcomes saying, “CFD is a powerful tool for gaining fundamental insights into physical phenomena. It’s useful in achieving foresight and in answering ‘what if’ questions. It’s also efficient and cost-effective. The close interactions with Dwyer definitely made for a successful collaboration, and we look forward to more productive collaborations in the future.”

Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation Purdue University Northwest’s CIVS is an interdisciplinary applied research center that combines advanced simulation techniques with 3D visualization and virtual reality technologies to produce innovative solutions in response to real-world industrial, research, and community challenges. Further information about CIVS is available online at www.pnw.edu/civs.

Dwyer Instruments Dwyer Instruments, based in Michigan City, Indiana, is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative control and sensor instrumentation for such markets as HVAC, water and wastewater, powder and bulk, and more. The company holds more than 650 technical patents. Learn more at www.dwyer-inst.com.

Purdue University Northwest Purdue University Northwest (PNW) is a student-centered university that values academic excellence, supports growth and celebrates diversity. Located in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago, PNW fosters a vibrant academic community through high quality and engaging undergraduate and graduate education. For more information about PNW, visit www.pnw.edu.