Simulation is more than Software

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HAWE hydraulics – high-quality, high-performance products

Ansys Discovery: design, straightforward experimentation, and high-precision validation

Shortening development times and enabling new ideas

HAWE, the leading manufacturer of hydraulic components, regards simulation as having an essential role in its product development process, helping to reduce development times and facilitating the rapid implementation of new ideas. Ansys Discovery represents a new and sustainable solution that has what it takes to meet the increasing demands of the future.

Hydraulic components with a huge variety of different applications

Whenever Stefan Macho, Head of Simulation at HAWE, is traveling and he sees a tractor or a combine harvester in the fields, a timber truck being loaded up near a forest, or, say, a garbage truck in suburbia, a crane truck on a construction site, a forklift truck at a company’s premises, or a snow plow out in front of him, it goes through his mind that many of these vehicles are only able to fulfill their purpose due to the fact they contain hydraulic components made by HAWE.

Production involving a high vertical range of manufacture

With 2,500 employees around the world, HAWE is a leading manufacturer of hydraulic components and hydraulic systems. Rigorous steel construction ensures HAWE’s hydraulic components are well-suited to high pressure applications. Modern production technology ensures these components are defined by maximum reliability, quality, and economy.

The high vertical range of manufacture enables us firstly to produce valves that are practically leak free and, secondly, to adapt our products to customers’ special requirements at short notice. Our hydraulic valves – a great variety of which can be selected from a single kit – are combined to form energy-efficient, intelligent units incorporating mechatronic control.

Simulation plays an essential role in product development at HAWE. Firstly, it helps to reduce development times and, secondly, it fosters the continual emergence and rapid implementation of new ideas and new approaches to development. Typical examples of how simulation is applied in the field of CFD are: optimization in relation to head loss within hydraulic manifolds and valves, and analysis of flow forces exerted on a specific structure.

A considerable proportion of the noise generated by hydraulic equipment is caused by hydraulic excitation mechanisms. Development engineers are focused on deepening their level of insight into these mechanisms so they can minimize noise by means of the various options available for the task of optimization.

In the following illustration, for example, the overall sound pressure level in [dB] plotted against the excitation variable within the rectangular grid has been illustrated using over 70,000 values. The courses of the function in relation to the excitation variables are shown plotted against the hydraulic system pressure for three prototypes.

When it comes to the transmission of this excitation to the structure, the eigenmodes and the eigenfrequencies have to be taken into account. When excitation matches the eigenmodes, the operational deflection shapes can be studied in a targeted way and then improved by making structural-dynamic changes.

How can the development cycle be shortened?

“In terms of time taken, our development process is dependent on a number of factors such as delivery time, capacity, and test benches,” explains M.Eng. Stefan Macho, Head of R&D Simulation and Deputy Divisional Manager, Simulation & Test Center. “It is therefore not unusual – in the development of hydraulic systems – for a conventional development loop involving physical prototypes to take several months. We are, quite naturally, interested in shortening the development cycle.”

One thing we have done with this in view is that we have merged the former simulation department and the test department, thus creating the “simulation & test center”. Collaboration between those involved in simulation and those involved in testing has strengthened synergy effects and reduced the time and costs that were associated with studying initial prototypes on test benches.

“In recent years, we have succeeded in integrating simulation into our development process,” says Mr. Macho. “Using virtual prototypes means we are now able to implement a development loop that takes just a few weeks. On the back of this success, our designers have increasingly been asking us to provide them with simulations.”

 Stefan Macho Head of R&D Simulation, HAWE Hydraulik SE
Stefan Macho
Head of R&D Simulation, HAWE Hydraulik SE

In recent years, we have successfully integrated simulation into our development process. A development loop with virtual prototypes can now be realized in a few weeks. With this success, the number of requests for simulations from our design department has now increased.

Simulation solutions suitable for design engineers

This led to us having the objective of equipping our design engineers and developers with appropriate simulation software so they would be able to carry out their own simulations without any delay. Our younger engineers had already been brought up to speed with this type of software during their training – i.e., they already have both the ability and the desire to perform the simulations themselves. If you compare this state of affairs to a situation where we had to take on more simulation experts, there are a number of long-term advantages: not only are more of our staff members able to carry out simulations, everyone involved regards the high degree of personal responsibility as a positive.

Consequently, in 2019, we set out to find a simulation tool that would enable the design engineers to perform their standard tasks in the field of CFD (computational fluid dynamics) on their own. At the start of 2020, following a comprehensive evaluation process, we chose Ansys Discovery.

Stefan emphasized that “One of the decisive factors was the simplicity and rapidity of the system – which became evident when experiments were being conducted; the speed and reliability of the system were also important factors. And, of course, the price was right! Plus, there is the added advantage that the package contains features relating to mechanics-based simulation alongside the CFD-based package. This enables our engineers to perform their simulations more effectively than had ever been possible when they were using the analysis functions within their CAD systems.”

Experts are able to concentrate on complex tasks

We are aiming to largely take on board ourselves the iteration loops that were previously present between design and simulation. This will enable the simulation experts to focus on verifying “product requirements” and on virtual testing and approval – by means of targeted use of simulation and testing. This will free up time slots, thereby making precise imaging of even complex phenomena possible.

When Stefan and his colleagues heard about the enhanced possibilities offered by the new Discovery edition, they were keen to test the software out. Of particular interest was the way Discovery brings together all the features that are essential in the product development process. Real-time simulation enables design engineers to actually play around with new ideas and simply experiment. With Discovery, issues requiring enhanced feature sets that have, up till now, had to be analyzed all the way up until validation can now be seamlessly studied in detail. In addition, HAWE’s engineers were impressed by the interfaces connecting the user to the tools intended for simulation experts.

“We are looking forward to future versions of Discovery providing a lot of additional features,” explains Stefan. “But we are very aware of its current potential, and we are convinced it matches our purposes very well. Explore, with its enormous computing speed, is really cool. As Discovery operates with precision, speed, reliability, and robustness, and is readily comprehensible, it will help us to establish independent analysis of variants on the part of our design engineers as standard practice. For us, innovation means thinking innovatively!”

Statements of HAWE engineers about the Discovery software

Thomas Eiblmeier, CAE expert flow simulation

"Discovery has awakened an understanding of CFD on the part of our design engineers. Simple operation and rapid results serve to facilitate the visualization of physical properties. And the results are impressively accurate. When it comes to standard tasks, my comparisons have exhibited a deviation of 10 per cent. In the context of initial estimates, these are good results.”

Thomas Eiblmeier, CAE expert flow simulation
Florian Weber, Development Engineer

"I find Discovery absolutely invaluable. It is simple, intuitive, and modern. I was surprised at how quickly and easily I picked up the operating concept and how much I am able to see inside my models. The visual processing is amazing!”

Florian Weber, Development Engineer
Eva Greisel, Design Engineer
 Eva Greisel Design Engineer, HAWE Hydraulik SE
Eva Greisel
Design Engineer, HAWE Hydraulik SE

As a design engineer, I understand my product and its requirements best. I know what behavior I expect and where critical points may be located. This enables me to focus on the simulation. Instead of explaining my model and my idea to the simulation expert - after all, he has to put himself into my design first - Discovery allows me to try out for myself which modifications lead to better results. That saves us all a lot of time. In addition, the simulation gives us a better understanding of the flow in the valve and thus also of the product behavior. This helps us to achieve better functionality even faster, not only for the current product but also for future products. In this way we strengthen our position and help our customers.

Improved understanding of physical properties

It is very apparent that, viewed as a whole, HAWE engineers have developed a better understanding of the physical properties of their products by carrying out simulations. That leads not only to improved performance and improved quality, but also to greater efficiency in product development, plus reduced development times. Of course, any increase in product quality is also reflected in terms of what the customer experiences when using the product.

Furthermore, it eliminates uncertainties, as the design engineer is able to study and assess a product’s physical properties early on in the development process.

Simulation and testing go hand in hand

Stefan emphasizes that “During our trial of the software, Discovery proved to be an interesting addition to the testing process, enabling every engineer working in testing to carry out a plausibility check in parallel with their other tests. The clever combination of being able to modify geometry and simultaneously analyze fluid flow and structure is something we have found very helpful, as it enables our test engineers to improve their test methodology during the preliminary stages of development. Thus, simulation and testing go hand in hand, with each verifying the other. When both point in the same direction, it increases the certainty that you are on the right path enormously.”

Stefan Macho
Head of R&D Simulation, HAWE Hydraulik SE

Every engineer from the test area can also carry out a plausibility check in parallel with Discovery. The skillful combination of geometry modifications and simultaneous simulation of flow and structure is very helpful for us, as the test engineer can thus improve the test methodology in advance.

Test results with the new Discovery software

Stefan finishes by saying: “The new Discovery software provides our design engineers with everything in one single user interface.” He then lists off the following advantages:

  • In the simulation environment, even the geometry can be changed quickly and simply.
  • CFD and mechanics-based simulation are both available to hand, allowing you to test your ideas
  • Discovery offers more functionality than typical CAD-integrated simulation tools
  • The reliability and comprehensibility of the solver results produced by the “Analyze” function are also important. As it is proven Ansys technology that is used, simulation experts can submit the results of their standard tasks with confidence.
  • However, what is really sensational is the outstanding computational speed exhibited by Explore.
Stefan Macho
Head of R&D Simulation, HAWE Hydraulik SE

We clearly see the potential that is available with Ansys Discovery and we are convinced that the concept fits our goals very well. Explore with its enormous computing speed is really cool. Since Discovery is accurate, fast, reliable, robust and traceable, it will help us to establish independent variant analysis as a standard feature for our designers. For us, innovation means thinking innovatively!

HAWE Hydraulik SE
Stefan Macho

Author: Gerhard Friederici (CADFEM GmbH)
© Images: HAWE Hydraulik SE

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