Sometimes completion of a project can result in an unexpected outcome with positive ramifications. When Bronswerk Heat Transfer BV set out to develop an air-cooled cooler and fan that were quieter and more efficient, the company was not aware that the resulting product also would have a positive impact on the environment.
Bronswerk systems are used as process coolers in the oil and gas and chemical industries. The company’s fans range in size from 6.5 to 32.8' (2 to 10 m) in diameter and cool extremely large heat exchangers. While designing a new generation of these industrial cooler systems and fans, the engineering team at the Nijkerk, The Netherlands, company faced the challenge of developing as quiet a system as possible to meet standards set by Environmental Control Boards across the globe. (ECBs are government organizations responsible for issues that protect the health, safety and cleanliness of the environment.) To further complicate the matter, the fan design needed to cope with a range of environmental fluids and pressure conditions.
Bronswerk engineers used a combination of software, including Pro/Engineer Wildfire from PTC, Needham, Mass., to create the design, and EFD-Pro from Flomerics, Marlborough, Mass., for flow and thermal analysis. After using the software to fine-tune the design, Bronswerk satisfied its noise and performance goals. While traditionally such an apparatus would have a thermodynamic efficiency of up to 60 percent, the new design achieves up to 80 percent efficiency, according to the company.