Many of us have this image of the mellow person in the 1960’s suggesting they just ‘go with the flow.’ This might suggest that they took the path of least resistance or simply followed the crowd, but neither of these reflect the work ethic of the Sure Flow team.
While many of our products are, in fact impacted by ‘the flow’, we do everything possible to rise above what everyone else, including our competitors, are doing to understand that flow.
One prime example in our engineering department is our use of ‘computational fluid dynamics.’ The majority of our products have a fluid flowing through them, and the more knowledge we have about how these flows interact with the products we produce, the better we can respond to our customer’s requirements.
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has been around for many decades and was initially applied to fluid and air movements over ships and aircraft. As computing power increased and many high-end applications became available on more widely used platforms, Sure Flow was an early adopter of the technology.
Most of us are familiar with the fluid dynamic concept of ‘laminar flow’. We witness it when we are fortunate enough to get out in nature and stand beside a rushing stream that we have decided to portage our canoes around. The challenge becomes when laminar flow changes to turbulent flow.
When a fluid is flowing through a pipe basically unencumbered and flowing smoothly, it is considered ‘laminar flow.’ But when it moves at higher velocity or encounters obstacles it becomes ‘turbulent flow.’ We can visualize this when that rushing water down the stream encounters a rock. The flow is interrupted and ‘eddies’ form, those swirling spots that no one wants to get stuck in with their kayak.
At Sure Flow the products we design do in fact affect that laminar flow, but for a good cause. If that fluid is flowing towards a pump or expensive piece of equipment, you want to ensure that you remove any foreign materials that might damage it. We do that with strainers. The challenge is that it will affect the flow of the fluid and along with it things like the flow velocity and pressure in the system. We often measure this as the pressure drop that occurs when the fluid reacts with a frictional force, like the mesh in our strainer.
It’s a fascinating concept and is very relevant to our products. Our computational fluid dynamic software allows us to study these many scenarios and find the optimal product design for our customer.
You can see from this image the types of turbulence that are affecting the fluid movement through this strainer and the sophistication of the algorithms the software must use to analyze these fluid flows.
The process provides a great challenge, and it is challenges like these that have defined Sure Flow’s pre-eminence as the industry’s leading provider of custom engineering solutions.
Our computational fluid dynamics allows us to test the applicable flow and thermal simulations when designing a custom product. We can literally build a ‘virtual prototype’ of a strainer in order to generate a drawing that can be submitted to the end user for review.
We integrated AutoCAD software early on in our engineering history, and then adopted ‘CFdesign’ software for our computational fluid dynamic applications. In 2011 Autodesk which produces AutoCAD purchased the company that created ‘CFdesign’ because they agreed with us that better understanding the impact of fluid flow on designs greatly enhances the quality of the final product.
Sure Flow Equipment prides itself on being ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to product innovation. We like to anticipate where the industry is headed and what our customers will expect even before it’s on their radar. It’s like the analogy of that fluid flowing through a pipe unencumbered, in a ‘laminar flow’ state. But there are challenges ahead. Someone has decided to put a strainer in our path. What’s even worse is that they don’t want to ever interrupt the flow so we’re about to take some pretty abrupt changes in course because it’s a dual basket strainer we’re about to encounter.
Business today is battered with turbulence from many areas. There is price competition, technology that is constantly disrupting our business models, and there is the expectation that we will be constantly innovating to minimize the impact of the products we produce.
Sure Flow gets this and we’re doing everything we can to ensure our customers are ready for that turbulence. We use state of the art technology to create designs that meet our customers challenges head-on. We make high quality products that we test to ensure we exceed our customer’s expectations. Computational fluid dynamic software is just one more method to ensure we minimize our customer’s turbulence and keep work ‘flowing’ in a ‘laminar’ or smooth state as much as is physically possible.
Sure, it’s a high aspiration but we’re up to the challenge. That’s why we’re ‘Sure Flow!’