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Hiller optimizes decanter centrifuges

Hiller GmbH

Hiller decanter centrifuges are in demand the world over. And CADFEM’s simulation solutions help turn energy efficiency, lightweight design and ever higher speeds into a reality.

Hiller optimizes decanter centrifuges

Hiller GmbH specializes in decanter centrifuges and turnkey complete plants for solid/liquid separation. The medium-sized family-run company has been developing and manufacturing these solutions for more than 45 years at its headquarters in Vilsbiburg, Bavaria.
Hiller decanter centrifuges are used in an extremely wide variety of applications and have proven their worth in the likes of processes within the food and beverage industries, in mineral oil, gas and renewable energy production and processing, in tunneling and mining, in wastewater treatment and in the pharmaceuticals industry.
The technical requirements are constantly increasing: Hiller product development engineers are increasingly facing the challenges of weight reduction, energy efficiency and ever-increasing speeds by using modern simulation technology.

Hiller and CADFEM

Decanter centrifuges basically consist of a rotating drum, which ensures high centrifugal forces, and a screw conveyor for removing the solids. The screw drive requires a high torque and a low differential speed compared to the drum. A typical medium-sized Hiller machine has an inner diameter of around 570 mm and runs at more than 3,000 revolutions per minute.
“When it comes to sizing the individual machine components, we need more and more extensive knowledge about the critical areas of the designs in question,” explains Robert Wagenbauer, Hiller’s Design Manager, describing the background to Hiller’s use of simulation in product development, before going on to detail the benefits: “Since simulation enables us to estimate in advance what will happen if we change individual parameters, we learn a great deal about the machine’s running behavior. We know the limits beyond which problems may occur and how they can be mitigated.”

Having performed several unsatisfactory tests with different simulation products, Hiller has relied on the Ansys simulation software and maintained a close cooperative relationship with CADFEM since 2014. “Since CADFEM GmbH is known for its simulation expertise and Ansys, the FEM software it offers, has been established on the market for decades, we initially started a consulting project to conduct a modal analysis of our decanter centrifuges,” says Robert Wagenbauer, recalling the successful start to the companies’ collaboration.
Once this project was completed, all the knowledge acquired about the simulation application was transferred to Stefan Huber, Hiller’s designer, to make the expertise available locally on Hiller’s premises and to further expand it within the company. While the consulting project was ongoing, Mr. Huber also completed CADFEM esocaet’s three-month part-time “eFEM for practitioners” course.
Today, Hiller uses simulation technology for every new design, improving machine performance and efficiency and, at the same time, shortening development times and cutting development costs – not least by reducing the need for prototypes.

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