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CFD Leads to Better Power Tool Design
Posted Thu July 24, 2008 @02:46PM
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Application AEG Electric Tools GmbH, one of the market-leading manufacturers of heavy-duty portable electric power tools for professionals, uses Flomerics EFD.Lab fluid flow and heat transfer simulation software for optimizing airflow and cooling effects in their power tools.

"On a recent project we used EFD.Lab and we were able to get the engine running 20% cooler, and also we obtained this improvement much faster than before," said Markus Wörner, design engineer at AEG.


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“Because power tools are getting more compact, we investigate airflow and cooling issues to better understand the effectiveness of the method used. We used to rely on our prior experience or on the results from physical prototype testing. But now we use EFD.Lab to complement information we have gained from experience; therefore, we have a much better idea of how our products will perform well in advance of the physical testing stage.”

Recognized as a member of the “Top 100 Most Innovative Companies in Germany’s SME Sector,” AEG’s product portfolio includes more than 100 different types of tools for the professional market including hammers, percussion and diamond drills, angle as well as straight grinders and jig- and circular saws. AEG products are meticulously tested before market introduction to ensure high quality and reliability. To test new design concepts created with PTC’s Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 2, the design team uses EFD.Lab for thermal and airflow conditions.

“We chose EFD.Lab because it was easy to use. For example, with EFD.Lab we do not need to define the fluid area – the software does this automatically.” Most traditional fluid flow simulation programs require users to create “phantom” solid parts to represent the (empty) fluid regions – an extremely time consuming process since users need to identify each region manually and then create geometry to fill it.

EFD.Lab saves users time and effort by automatically differentiating between solid and fluid regions for internal and external flows to create the fluid domain. Testing prototypes with EFD.Lab enables the AEG design team to fine-tune new design concepts by using information that they have amassed over the years as the basic building block for their new design work.

“By using EFD.Lab we are able to further fine-tune our designs to reach an optimized design much faster. On a recent project, we realized that we had already reached our goal for improved airflow with the very first prototype,” added Peter Henske, CAD Manager.

Aside from dealing with engineering design issues, the AEG design team also faces a very unique challenge: power tools designed at the South German facilities are engineered for two different brands -- AEG Power Tools and Milwaukee Electric Tools.

The tools are based on a common platform which makes it possible to modify the machine components for the different needs of users. The modular design gives the chance to realize two different exterior designs.

“Different exterior design and internal components result in completely different airflow in the machine. Testing each configuration would take a lot of time. But with simulation we can identify the effects caused by all the different design options and ensure proper performance for all machines based on the platform,” said Henske.

airflow
AEG Electric Tools uses EFD.Lab to optimize airflow and cooling effects in power tools. large image

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