Thursday 16th Jul, 2020

Simulation of success with DEM

Discrete element method (DEM) modelling software gives engineers all the information they need to design bulk handling systems. ABHR speaks to Peter Rizkalla, Rocky DEM Product Manager at LEAP Australia, to learn more.

Discrete element method (DEM) modelling software gives engineers all the information they need to design bulk handling systems. ABHR speaks to Peter Rizkalla, Rocky DEM Product Manager at LEAP Australia, to learn more.

To optimise the design of a bulk material handling system, it is important to have as much information as possible. Without having a good understanding of how material flows through a system, it can be difficult to achieve the throughput targets required.

In some cases, it is almost impossible to get this information simply due to how a system is built or operates. In other cases, building a prototype is prohibitively expensive and not worth it in the long run.

This is where simulation software can add value, and according to Peter Rizkalla, the industrial use of DEM software such as Rocky DEM is becoming more and more popular.

“A lot of engineers are confronting problems in the design of machinery but can’t get the data they need, no matter how many sensors they have,” he says.

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“This can be particularly important for equipment operating close to capacity or in extreme conditions, such as transferring wet, sticky ore. In addition, there can be a safety aspect to this, as not all equipment is safe to access while it is operational.

“All of these problems are addressed by simulation software which provides all the data you need to make an informed decision.”

LEAP Australia has a number of software offerings, such as ANSYS and Rocky DEM.

Rocky DEM uses the Discrete Element Method (DEM) to simulate the movement of granular material and the way it interacts with a bulk handling system. It allows engineers to visualise the general flow trajectory to understand forces, velocities and how they affect critical points in a system. This can help to find where spillage, breakage or wear may be an issue and allows for changes to be made early in the design phase.

“Our main objective is to educate Australian engineers on how DEM simulation applies to their work and the many benefits of using Rocky for DEM,” Rizkalla says.

“The uptake of Rocky over the past six to seven years has been quite staggering. We’ve had lots of interest, especially throughout the mining hubs, Western Australia and Queensland, and Rocky DEM has proved very popular with bulk materials handling product designers and engineers.”