Watch examples of applications of Altair EDEM in the pharmaceutical, food, chemicals and additive manufacturing industries.
EDEM software, powered by the Discrete Element Method (DEM), enables companies to accurately simulate and analyze the behavior of bulk solids, providing key information on processes otherwise difficult or sometimes impossible to measure. EDEM enables a detailed analysis and visualization of the flow of particles, from powders to tablets, through process segments and handling equipment and can promote both innovation in product design as well as reducing the need for physical prototypes and long product development cycles.
Wurster coaters are mainly used in the food and pharmaceutical industry to coat tablets, powder, and pellets. The coating takes place by driving the coated material cyclically through a draft tube with a continued stream of air while getting sprayed with the coating agent.
When a coater is well designed and operates under the correct conditions for the material that is being coated, a uniform and therefore higher quality film coating can be obtained, when compared to other coating processes. However, understanding how the process works and optimizing it is extremely challenging using physical testing alone, which is not only very expensive and time consuming, but also in some cases unachievable. The best and most efficient way to find the optimal design or operational parameters for a coater with a given material is through simulation.
By coupling Altair software tools Altair® EDEM™ with Altair® AcuSolve®, as seen in this example, engineers can gain key insights into the coating and drying process. Using EDEM coupled with AcuSolve, users can identify how to improve on the coating obtained in the process by modifying the draft tube position, spray rate or airflow rate and temperature.
This video presents how EDEM can be used to achieve a reliable mixing process for bulk solids enabling engineers to meet product quality requirements in a wide range of industries without the need for physical trial and error. In this example, EDEM is used to simulate the mixing of two powders in a conical ribbon blender.
EDEM allows you to perform virtual tracing to analyze the mixture component distribution, visualize the flow pattern, including identifying dead zones, and complete advanced post-processing of mixing simulations to analyse the convection of the bulk solids in the system by computing continuum fields from discrete data. Altair users also benefit from the unique EDEM Powder Material Model Database containing thousands of pre-calibrated DEM models that capture the complex bulk behavior of powder materials using scaled-up numerical particles.
This video was part of a project with Micron, where EDEM was used to model a food processing extruder. Using EDEM software it was possible to simulate how the material turns into a solid under high compression at the extruder nozzle. In addition, key analysis was conducted on the system including material throughput through the nozzle and identifying the amount of material not discharged.
This simulation models over 8 million particles of less than 0.3mm in size. Large amounts of tiny particles are common in Additive Manufacturing applications. This video shows powder raking and how EDEM tools can be used to analyze voidage, particle orientation and number of contacts at different time steps. Similar simulations can guide the design and optimization of the powder rake and its speed.
The video presents how EDEM can be used to analyze the mixing efficiency within a High Shear Granulator filled with 10 million particles. In this example, the mixing process of two powders with different particle size is shown. EDEM allows to visualize mixing from different angles, color particles by velocity to see where particles stagnate and analyze the mixing effectiveness by showing the concentration of each type of particles in the mixer.
In this video EDEM is used to simulate and analyze a tablet compaction process, using the Edinburgh Elasto-Plastic Adhesion contact model (EEPA) to capture the complex behavior of the powders. EDEM enables users to obtain key micro-mechanical information such as compression forces, stress and porosity and to predict tablet defects.
EDEM can be used to simulate and optimize a range of food processing operations. In this video EDEM is used to analyze a cereal coating process. Results of the simulation can be used to improve process efficiency and ensure a high quality end product.
In this collaboration with The Barnes Group Advisors, EDEM has been used to get an insight into the functioning of the material delivery system used in an additive manufacturing printer. Two powders with different flowability were characterized and simulated to compare and analyze the differences in the dosing process. Some of the analysis conducted includes material agglomeration, mass flow rate and powder compression. EDEM can assist in obtaining an in-depth understanding of the additive manufacturing processes.
In this example, EDEM’s Application Programming Interface (API) can be used to introduce custom physics to the simulation, allowing particles to have a liquid content. Here, particles with a water content are added into a mixer containing powder. EDEM allows users to study the increase in water content over time and to analyze mixing efficiency.
Pin mills are widely used across many industries to comminute bulk solids like chemicals, sugar, herbicides and resins. In this video EDEM is used to simulate and analyze material size reduction in a pin mill, using the Tavares Breakage Model to accurately simulate breakage.
This video shows the analysis of the hopper discharge process for powders. EDEM allows coloring the powders by layers, velocity and residence time. Additionally, the set-up of bins enables collecting, extracting and plotting data such as mass flow rate, for further analysis. By simulating powders with different cohesiveness and varying other parameters, EDEM allows specific equipment and process optimization for different powders.
Fluidized beds have been in use for almost 100 years for a wide range of processes including powder mixing, powder and tablet coating and powder bed heating and drying. However, the understanding of fluidized beds is still limited and multiple factors impact the fluidization and efficiency of the process, making it challenging to predict how the process can be improved.
The EDEM Application Programming Interface (API) is used to create custom contact models and properties to simulate tablet coating process. The video demonstrates how EDEM can be used as a predictive tool to perform virtual testing and investigate the effects of parameters like tablet shape or coating pan speed on the coating uniformity.
This video shows the analysis of the feed frame for the die filling process for pharmaceutical powders. EDEM allows the use of colors to differentiate powders by type, velocity and residence time. Additionally, the set-up of bins enables collecting, extracting and plotting the data, for further analysis. By simulating powders with different cohesiveness and varying other parameters such as the RPM, EDEM allows equipment and process optimization for any combination of powders.
EDEM can be used to simulate a range of food handling and processing operations. In this video EDEM is used to analyze the separation process of palm fruits, ensuring that the fruits are not damaged and that the process is optimized.
This video compares the behavior of two different powders in a screw auger – one of the powders being highly cohesive and the other one free flowing. EDEM provides key insight into the discharge of the hopper, the compressive force acting on the powders, the mass flow rate and the power required to drive the screw blade.