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Murata Machinery, Ltd.
Fluid Analysis Software Helps Demonstrate Product Mechanism to Customers

Murata Machinery, primarily dealing with manufacturing of textile machinery as well as machine tools etc., has successfully reduced lead time and prototype production by applying fluid analysis to their product development. They explain that Cradle’s fluid analysis software helps simulate the operation of large-scale systems, visualize the air-flow inside a space that cannot be observed easily in actual tests, and create powerful presentations for their customers.

Figure 2: Application example of SC/Tetra for development of VORTEX third generation. Steady-state analysis was undertaken to evaluate compressible air-flow in the space where yarn is woven by rotational flow (click to enlarge).

Introducing Fluid Analysis to Observe the Flow Changes


 The product development that motivated Murata Machinery to introduce fluid analysis involved their major textile machinery products, VORTEX®. By applying fluid analysis to visualize the aerodynamic phenomena in VORTEX®, Murata Machinery engineers were able to better understand air-flow inside the small space of the equipment. Two things make VORTEX® unique. It is able to automatically detect and remove faults to ensure the quality of the final product. It also possesses superior spinning performance. Because of these, yarn generated by VORTEX® embraces exceptional characteristics; it produces less lint, dries quickly due to its high degree of hygroscopicity, thus preventing clothing from deforming after being washed many times. When VORTEX® yarn is woven into a piece of textile, the surface is sleek and smooth. This makes printing easier and effective. It also prevents pilling. Offering both fashionable and functional quality, VORTEX® yarn is highly acknowledged and favorably used by worldwide textile manufacturers to develop products with high added values.

 The length of yarn calculated in the analysis is approximately equal to the distance between a person’s second and third knuckles. Fiber sets in from above and is loosened by continuous air owing at subsonic to sonic speeds. The fiber is then twisted into yarn by rotational flow. Although high speed cameras recording at more than one million frames per section now make it possible to observe the phenomena inside VORTEX®, this was not the case back when computer simulation was introduced. By applying fluid analysis to visualize the air-flow, Murata Machinery was able to advance beyond their engineers’ experience (Figure 2).

Figure 3: Designing an air suction device with 1.5 times greater suction, without producing prototype
(click to enlarge)

 

 The Air Suction Device is another example where Murata Machinery was able to use fluid analysis to reduce product development time and only conduct a few prototype tests (Figure 3). The Air Suction Device is mainly used for textile machinery to remove unnecessary threads by ejecting high speed air and entraining surrounding air. Intending to generate more suction than conventional devices, Murata Machinery performed analyses ten times in one week to determine the best design. Based on this they created a prototype for a two week period. The test result showed that the device achieved the estimated performance, and Murata Machinery decided to proceed to production. This is an excellent example demonstrating how the use of computation simulation can reduce the time for prototype production and testing and as a result, reduce both time to market and overall cost.

Fluid Analysis for Effective Presentation


 Murata Machinery has also applied SC/Tetra to develop products and use the graphics of analysis results for meetings with their customers. This is beneficial when the product is very large, very small, not easily accessible, not physically visible, or functions at extreme operating conditions. One example is a crane, which conveys cassettes containing liquid crystal panels packed in a clean room. When moving vertically and horizontally, the cassettes scatter micrometer sized dust particles into the air, which could cause fatal flaws when dealing with semiconductor or FPD (Flat Panel Display) related appliances. Even if prevention measures are taken, it is difficult to prove the effectiveness. Mr. Takeuchi says that applying SC/Tetra offered a solution to this. Murata Machinery used analysis results to demonstrate and explain how the equipment mechanism worked, and successfully convinced the customer to proceed with this design. In this case, Murata Machinery carried out a transient analysis with incompressible flow and overset grids to evaluate the moving object, as shown in Figure 4. “If I’m not mistaken, we are the first company to use visual CFD analysis results on conveyance devices in clean rooms, for presentations to customers,” says Mr. Takeuchi.

Figure 4: Simulation of clean room crane and dust dispersion. Using overset grids and moving object, transient analysis with incompressible air and low speed flow (approx. 0.1-3.0 m/s) was undertaken in 10-40 meter size (click to enlarge).

Further Uses of Fluid Analysis


 On the other hand, Mr. Takeuchi believes there are many opportunities to improve fluid analysis. He thinks that the contact function can be improved for a six degree of freedom analysis. He believes it will be possible to integrate other software if Cradle incorporates ideas of contact mechanics and body dynamics. “It would mean that analysis could be used for other purposes,” he explains. He also hopes to reverse the mesh sizes of moving objects and the surroundings when dealing with overset grids. In the current version of the software, mesh sizes of the surroundings need to be equal to or smaller than the mesh within the moving objects to produce high accuracy. However, as the company places more emphasis on the behavior of moving objects, it is desirable to use smaller meshes for the moving objects.

 In the future, Murata Machinery hopes to work more on large-scale computation. They are especially interested in undertaking aerodynamic noise analysis using a clustered environment. “Noise has become an important issue for almost all product development, and it must be solved if the model is to achieve the required performance,” says Mr. Takeuchi. Since Murata Machinery has little experience working in this area, they are taking their first steps when it comes to performing large-scale computations. To manage job tasks and licenses, they are planning to use Windows® and HPC Server. Another related challenge is to promote the engineers’ understanding of fluid analysis. They hope to continue this through central management of licenses and making computing server available to more engineers.

 In summary, Murata Machinery, who adapted fluid analysis software in the early stages, has demonstrated the potential of fluid analysis with some very insightful applications. Continued development is expected to lead to an even broader context of applications.

*All product and service names mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
*Contents and specifications of products are as of April 1, 2013 and subject to change without notice. We shall not be held liable for any errors in figures and pictures, or any typographical errors.

Company Details





 

Murata Machinery, Ltd.
Established July 1935
Businesses Development, Manufacturing and Sales of Textile Machinery, Machine Tools, Sheet Metal Machinery, Automated Systems, Clean FA Systems, Communication Equipment
Representative Daisuke Murata (President)
Headquarters Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Number of Employees 3,000 (6,300 in the entire group)
Capital 900 million JPY

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