What else?

ScaleDEM offers you an opportunity to improve the productivity of your industrial process. By simulating the powder handling process in question, you can achieve a leap in quality with far fewer resources than would be necessary through experimentation. How to achieve this leap in quality with ScaleDEM is described below.

  • Developing scientific understanding. Through the quantitative expression of the current knowledge of a system it is possible to display the observable features and track the unknown characteristics that may affect the process.

  • Testing the effect of changes in a system. All changes can be evaluated virtually, without the risk of productivity loss associated with physical experimentation. This saves time and money in the search for solutions.

  • Aiding decision making. Based on simulation results, the implementation of corrective measures can be carried out safely (either by changing the operating conditions or by changing the powder handling equipment). Useful for:
    • Production decision for managers. e.g. decide to change the operational variables or make adjustments to equipment.
    • Strategic decisions for planners. e.g. decide to purchase equipment or to make structural changes in the process.

As its name indicates, the functioning of our solver relies on the concept of "Scale", which is used at two levels:

Computational level:

DEM presents serious drawbacks when the powder to be simulated has a very wide particle size distribution, i.e., very different size scales (e.g., from several micrometers up to a few centimeters or higher). Existing DEM-based solvers cannot cope with this because their algorithms for interparticle contact tracking becomes extremelly inefficient when very dissimilar sizes are present. The reason is because the size of the biggest particle is used as a reference and it finally leads to unnecessary computations and iterations in the searching process. However, ScaleDEM is unaffected by the size of particles. Moreover, we have paralellized our contact search algorithm, proving an excellent scalability with the number of cpus available in your computer. The figure below shows a common response from other advanced DEM-based softwares, where drastic non-linear increase of computational time is observed (black). However, ScaleDEM scales always linearly with the number of particles (blue) and even better than its GPU-based version (red).

Average calculation time per iteration as a function of the number of granules.

Physical level:

Only a handful of loose sand can contain tens of millions of grains. Many industrial processes involve a humongous amount of particles. The power of current computers can simply not afford realistic grain numbers, neither in number of float point operations nor in RAM or hard drive memory storage. In Academia, granular research typically ceils the number of particles up to several hundred of thounsands, which is already a good number to investigate many aspects of the mechanics and physics of granular materials. However, this number is not sufficient for many industrial sectors. To solve this issue, ScaleDEM uses physical-based scaling laws on the particle assembly to generate an equivalent response as if a realistic number of particles was used. These scaling laws allow us to keep the overall mechanical response of the powder unaltered while the effective number of particles is greatly reduced. The figure below shows how the average number of contacts per particle (coordination number) varies as a function of the scaling factor. With the scaling strategy applied in ScaleDEM, the results keep their consistency despite the scale change.

Scaling effect in the coordination number and in the granule distribution pattern of a rotating drum test.

These are the most relevant advantages:

  • It is highly parallelized and it will get the most of your computer's calculation power using the minimum amount of memory.
  • Its performance is not affected by the particle size distribution nor the shape or size of the domain (as it happens in other DEM-based solvers). It can handle any combination of particle sizes in domains with complex and large scale differences (e.g., a zigzag conveyor belt that ends in a V-shaped mixer).
  • Its particle contact detection algorithm does not impose any restriction to use complex path-dependent contact models.
  • Like in other software, complex geometry of granules can be introduced using "glued" particles, creating new shapes from spheres. However, unlike those software, the computational cost of these deformable clumpings is literally zero in ScaleDEM.

Our software is easy to use. You do not need to install anything on your computer. We provide a single executable file consisting in a friendly GUI with several options. With this interface, you can import the geometry from the CAD design (e.g., stl) and set up the properties of the particles. Depending on your process, we provide a customized module where you can set up the operational variables of your industrial process (e.g., movement sequence, velocities, rotations, etc).
The solver is integrated in this GUI, and you can launch your simulation once all the parameters are set up. Once the simulation is running, you can close the interface. The simulation will run in the background but you can reopen the generated file and check the result at any moment. To analyse the result, you do not need expensive GPU hardware (like those required for videogames). With our GUI, you can render millions and millions of particles very fluently in a normal laptop.

ScaleDEM is expandable through modules, which are developed on demand. Let us know what you need and we will provide you with the tailor-made module. We can provide different modules utilities which are not easily accesible in other softwares and dificult to obtain experimentally (correlation and density maps, dynamic granular packing evolution, flow and velocity profiles, degree of mixture, interaction forces with boundaries, etc).
This approach allows us to exactly meet your needs, minimizing the efforts in the user training and reducing the license cost. You do not have to pay for features or capabilities that you do not need (like in other software).

First, our team will study your particular problem. As long as the problem is related to the behavior/design process, we will provide you with a particular module. With it, you will be able to modify different parameters influencing the mixing degree. An intuitive interface will allow you to check which set of parameters will achieve your expected optimal results. With ScaleDEM you will focus on the problem straight away, so that you can get the maximum benefit from your investment.

From our experience, it depends on what you want to investigate. If you want to analyse the feasibility of a new process design, we can provide you with an efficient and validated model of powder material that will yield abundant qualitative information.
However, if you need to accurately quantify the efficiency and productivity of your process, then the properties of the powder material should be measured and integrated in the simulation.

Our team is capable of designing your piece of equipment in CAD. You need to provide us with all the necessary measures to perform the design. We will deliver the geometry in several formats, although ScaleDEM uses two: STL and MSH. STL is a widely used file format in CAD design, which describes a raw, unstructured triangulated surface by the unit normal and vertices. MSH is the native file format of GMSH (an open source 3D finite element mesh generator), which is particularly useful for ScaleDEM given its optimized structure to facilitate reading and writing of meshes.

The examples on our website are illustrative. ScaleDEM can be used to simulate a broad variety of powder-handling systems. Please contact us and we will confirm if your process can be modeled using ScaleDEM.

The modules are developed specifically for you. For this reason, if you wish, you can be the intellectual owner of the module under the Directive 2009/24/UE of the European Parliament and European Council. This means that no other company could take advantage of it. However, for the sake of clarity, it has to be stressed that only the expression of the module is protected and the ideas and principles which underlie any element of the module, including those which underlie its interfaces, are not protected by copyright under this Directive.

Yes. Although modelling is a powerful tool for solving problems that are experimentally complex, sometimes it is not entirely necessary. Our team is experienced in solving industrial problems related to powder handling. As part of our service portfolio, we also offer you technical consultancy and reporting capabilities.
Nevertheless, for an optimal and cost-effective solution of your problem, we recommmend the use of ScaleDEM. If you have other needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.