Major Port Talbot Manufacturer of Industrial Instrumentation Researches World Leading Capability in Noise Level Prediction
Business: British Rototherm Company Ltd.
Academic Partner: Swansea University
Location: Neath/Port Talbot
The British Rototherm Company Ltd., based in Neath/Port Talbot, is a global company that designs and manufactures a range of precision instruments for the oil, gas and other processing industries.
Their customer base, particularly in the Oil & Gas and Refining/Chemical market, have had to settle for second best solutions due to limitations on calculations used for designs. For this reason, British Rototherm wished to develop market-leading capability in noise prediction for orifice pressure reducers used for managing pressure drops of liquids and gases in pipelines.
ASTUTE 2020 has been working with British Rototherm to demonstrate the acoustic modelling capability of numerical modelling tools to predict noise levels from the pressure reducers, bringing together the company’s expertise in flow control and measurement with the ASTUTE 2020 team’s expertise in computational modelling.
There are no current design or technical practices that address noise level predictions. There is increasing demand from customers for accurate data on the noise generated by pressure reducers, as this has significant implications on health and safety in the working environment, and vibration of the pipe network leading to damage in the network. Through effective collaboration, ASTUTE 2020 and British Rototherm have developed noise prediction capability based on advanced computational engineering modelling techniques to identify a solution for the following objectives:
- The development of an experimental protocol for the investigation of noise levels and noise sources form pressure reducers and cross-reference initial noise level findings against predictions based on British Standard BS EN 60534-8-2011.
- Scope of numerical modelling methods for the prediction of noise emissions.
Image: Velocity Magnitude & (Bottom) Vorticity contours
The research included experimental and numerical work. ASTUTE 2020 carried out research on the monitoring locations for temperature, volumetric flow rate and pressure, identified through steady-state numerical simulations. British Rototherm commissioned and invested in an experimental loop rig while ASTUTE 2020 assisted with creating an anechoic chamber to house the test rig.
The modelling feasibility for flow and acoustics custom-designed to ensure that the complex phenomenon could be captured as well as coupling of the pressure imposed by the fluid on the pipe surface into the vibro-acoustic solver. This research was paramount to ensure the smooth transition of the computational methodology when the desired operating conditions were decided.
Image: Orifice Pressure Reducer
The collaborative research on this project has supported British Rototherm to achieve market-leading capability in noise prediction for orifice pressure reducers.
The company recognised that, in order to market and maximize the unique capability resulting from the project, an increase in British Rototherm’s workforce was required to bring additional knowledge and skills to the team. Five roles were created at British Rototherm which enabled them to meet impending customers’ orders.
British Rototherm have invested heavily to facilitate a successful outcome of the collaboration with the purchase and installation of a custom-designed ‘Pressure Test Rig’, testing machinery that is primarily used to assess the capability and performance of components.
Image: Sound Pressure Level Contour
The computational modelling enhanced the company’s process in understanding the noise phenomenon and assisted in tuning the noise predictive tool that they were developing to fulfil the British Standards requirement on noise levels for industrial applications.
In addition, an M2A student was embedded at British Rototherm to undertake complementary research activities linked to the modelling of noise generation based on the planned experiments and ASTUTE 2020’s modelling findings, making this collaboration a great example for the complementarity of ERDF and ESF funding for the economic benefit of local industry.
In 2019, British Rototherm were shortlisted for the ‘Operational Excellence’ award at The Manufacturer MX Awards, supporting diversity and innovation within UK manufacturing, won the Innovation of the Year award at the South Wales Business awards and were runner up at the Make UK Innovation awards for Wales.
"The ASTUTE 2020 team was challenged to investigate the noise levels and sources from pressure reducers. has was a complex problem to simulate and required the team to develop skills in the area of acoustic modelling. Additionally, an experimental rig was developed for validation. The outcome was a realistic model of the British Rototherm system which they can use for product optimisation.”
- Dr Fawzi Belblidia
Senior Technical Manager, ASTUTE 2020
The Materials and Manufacturing Academy (M2A) is a Swansea University initiative which provides industry-led postgraduate research training in the areas of advanced materials and manufacturing.