Making room for Tier 4

  • 19-Jun-2008 07:37 EDT
Exa’s PowerCOOL is a tool that AGCO used to simulate thermal flow in the engine compartment. (Heat exchanger hidden to show effect.)

By some accounts, off-highway equipment engineers have been struggling to grasp the impact that the EPA Tier 4 standards—and the resulting compulsory phase-in of compliant equipment scheduled for 2008 to 2015—will have on their engineering design and development.

AGCO, like other OEMs, is working with the additional issue of incorporating, over the next few years, the Tier 4 requirements into an already over-loaded engineering design cycle. Designing an engine that achieves acceptable top-tank temperatures, hydraulic oil temperatures, and has space allocated for super-heated Tier 4 aftertreatment components such as particulate filters and reduction catalysts is challenging. Today, many companies are forced to approximate the proper cooling needs of an engine and thus make accommodations such as larger fans and grilles that are often expensive, take up space, increase warranty costs, and reduce styling options.

David Bloch, Chief Engineer of Engine Installations at AGCO, leads a team whose primary responsibility is to find a way to design and fit engines within a small underhood compartment while balancing performance, new space demands, and styling requirements.

“Cutting-edge engineering of the underhood is now a critical part of the design process,” said Bloch.

Traditionally, Bloch had used a series of physical tests to map out and analyze engine airflow and thermal management issues, often running up to 20 iterations for each proposed design. In the end, hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours were required to run, analyze, redesign, and run again each physical model test.

With multiple platforms and numerous variations of engines and cooling packages to support for each platform, Bloch decided that CAE would be required to streamline the process and reduce his budget.

“The first CFD software application I investigated was not user-friendly, and in our numerous attempts to run thermal and airflow simulations, we never got acceptable results; often, no results,” said Bloch.

After evaluating the extensive list of simulations required, and with his team already being pulled in many directions, Bloch tried Exa’s On Demand option.

“It not only handled both our underhood cooling and airflow management demands, but also virtually extended my engineering staff,” said Bloch. “We were able to use our fully detailed geometry with Exa’s PowerFLOW and PowerCOOL applications. For the first time, the results reflected the extremely complex underhood geometry.”

Using Exa’s On Demand servers enabled Bloch and his team to turn around PowerFLOW and PowerCOOL simulations very quickly. “To have CPU-capacity ready and waiting is a luxury most companies cannot afford,” he said. “We were able to perform geometry iterations in record time.”

“By using Exa’s PowerFLOW suite, my team does not have to over-design our engines,” said Bloch. “We put in what is needed, exactly where it’s required. As we incorporate other Exa products, like PowerCLAY, to morph CAD components and re-simulate, design iterations that would previously have taken us weeks will be reduced to days.”

AGCO is on track to incorporate Tier 4 emissions requirements on time and under budget.

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