You are on page 1of 9

“Using Computational Fluid Dynamics

To Design
Heat Transfer Rollers”
- A Leap Forward in Thermal Roller Engineering -
S

This short technical paper briefly overviews the key point relating
to the utilization of Computational Fluid Dynamics as a tool for
designing liquid-filled heat transfer rollers
for the packaging and plastic converting sectors.

Subjects Covered Include:


 Importance of Heat Transfer Rollers & Thermal Transfer to Converters
 Challenges Facing Engineers in Designing New Heat Transfer Rollers
 Overview of Solutions Provided by Computational Fluid Dynamics
 Details on Secondary Applications that Optimize Use of CFD Thermal Models

Presented By:

Menges Roller Company


260 Industrial Drive
Wauconda, IL 60084
Main Tel: 847-487-8877
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

About Menges Roller:

Menges Roller Company is a leading supplier of industrial rollers to the plastics, film, paper and geosynthetic
material industries. Primary customers include raw material manufacturers as well as those converting the
materials into finished goods. Many top OEMs also rely on Menges to develop and manufacture their rolls.
From multi-layered plastic packaging for the food industry, to sterile linings for the medical sector, or heavy-gage
nonwoven barriers used to protect man from the elements, Menges Roller plays a key role in manufacturing these
important products and optimizing their quality.

Menges’ flagship product line includes high-performance double-shelled spiral-helix-wrapped heat transfer
rollers, sometimes called chill rolls. For converters, heat transfer rolls are one of the most critical components in
the plant. Menges Roller has invested heavily in the equipment and manpower necessary to develop and
manufacture some of the most advanced thermal rollers on the market today.

The company has built its name on embracing innovation, understanding the changing processes of converters,
and delivering products and services that make a real difference in their operations by helping them run faster,
reduce waste, and produce better products. Menges Roller Company serves small specialty plants as well as large
global brands.

Overview of Menges Roller’s New Technology:

Today’s converting industry is very competitive. Engineers are under enormous pressure to innovate – new
products, new processes, new coatings and vapor barriers, and more layers to a laminate – anything to get a
competitive edge. This means diverting from ‘standard’ processes. To accomplish new tasks, engineers are
repurposing and modifying existing equipment, and heat transfer rolls play a key role in this quest to innovate.

But what temperature should my heat transfer roll be to meld a 7 layer laminate if I do 5 now? How big should
my chill roll be if I increase my extrusion laminating line’s output by 30%? My new coating requires a temperature
variance of only +/- 1 degree; can my heat transfer roll perform at that level? Can I get away with simply changing
my fluid velocity? Even veteran process engineers have struggled to answer these questions, until now.

Menges Roller is breaking new ground in the converting industry by bringing science’s most advanced molecular
modeling technology to the converting plant – giving Process Engineers and Plant Managers never-before-seen
images and unprecedented data regarding the chemical, physical and thermal processes taking place in their
plants.

This technology is known as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and the Menges Roller Engineering
Department is now using this powerful technology for a completely new purpose: simulating converting
processes and modeling thermal roller performance. This is a new use for CFD Modeling, and Menges Roller’s
use of it in converting has the potential to change the industry. Menges Engineers can now accurately see,
design and modify the temperature and performance specifications of heat transfer rollers before they are built.

CFD technology has been used for some time in the aerospace, medical and molecular sciences. Menges Roller is
now applying this advanced modeling discipline toward – for example – visualizing the effects that changes in
fluid turbulence may have on linear BTU measurements across the face of an 84 inch duo-flow heat transfer
roller running modified terphenyl heat transfer fluid at 335F pumped at 135 gallons per minute.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

We believe applying CFD technology toward modeling heat transfer roll performance is an innovation onto itself.
The benefits to converters take the form of ultra-accurately-designed heat transfer rolls that perform at a higher
level with more predictable & consistent temperatures; this translates to better converting results , reduced roll
replacement costs, reduced waste, freed-up man-hours, and substantial overall cost savings for the converter.

Problem & Solution Details:

Today’s converting market relentlessly pushes engineers and developers to innovate – via new products and
improved processes. As a result, machines and lines are constantly being upgraded, modified and repurposed.
Heat transfer rolls, cold and hot, are an integral part of all this – but they can be difficult to properly configure,
especially for advanced applications where temperature consistency and control is critical.

Even certified engineers may have difficulty calculating the heat transfer coefficient and its primary inputs, such as
thermal fluid flowrate, viscosity, conductivity and density properties. The roller’s properties add another layer of
complexity, as calculations must consider spiral baffle angles and interior cavity dimensions. Put all that in
linespeed motion, with coatings requiring very specific temperature ranges, and the puzzle becomes exponentially
complex. So it’s easy to see the difficulty Converting Engineers might have in attempting to design a new chill roll.

Our industry’s longstanding inability to develop comprehensive formulae that encompass all the factors
impacting chill roll performance has been costly to plants & converters:
 Uneven temperature distribution, the most common result of improperly designed chill rolls, is highly
detrimental to all but the most basic converting processes. Most processes require exact & consistent temps.
 In some cases, poorly-designed rolls cannot even reach the desired target temperature (even less acceptable)
 Too hot, too cold or uneven temperatures in heat transfer rolls can completely or partially ruin whatever
process application they’re involved in, whether blowing or extruding film, laminating, coating, sealing, etc.
 Nobody wants to be responsible for spending $75,000 on heat transfer rolls that foul the laminating process
because of a design flaw, so engineers risk their careers when ordering questionably-designed chill rolls
 Re-installing a new heat transfer roll is a disruptive and costly process even under optimal conditions, and if
the plant has to go through the process a second time because the first roll had a bad design, heads will roll

But Menges Roller has solved these issues by bringing Computational Fluid Dynamics to the converting sector.
In the hands of Menges Roller Engineers, CFD Models generate performance simulations that feature accurate
data and imaging on the dynamics of heat transfer originated from rollers and transferred to the web.
Complex yet dependable formulae that consider all
the chemical, thermal, physical and reactive factors
are the key to Menges’ CFD Models.
This image represents a portion of the data typically
found in a final temperature variance report.
These reports require a substantial amount of time
and attention for data entry – and high-performance
computers must be employed to speed the modeling
process – but the results are very accurate.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

The data generated by these high-tech models is primarily temperature-related, obviously highly-relevant to
process engineers. Typical data points generated by Menges’ CFD Thermal Modeling Technology include:
 Overall peak/maximum potential temperature of the roller (BTU/hr.)
 Rollface temperature across hundreds of vector points (temperature variance)
 Overall and node-based data on energy transference/temperature change in substrate material
 Detailed data on the physical & chemical effects of hot/cold energy has on the web and its coatings

Being able to see how a roller will perform – before it is built – is a colossal advantage for roller manufacturers
and for converters in general. And the accuracy of Menges CFD Modeling Technology is unprecedented. This
can be attributed to the fact that every conceivable variable and input can be worked into our CFD engineering
calculations. By considering every factor, even second-tier and tertiary factors, unknowns are eliminated. This
increases accuracy, as unknown factors are often the root of flawed calculations.

The following is a partial list of the factors & data points integrated into Menges’ Thermal Modeling calculations:
 Rollface Width & Diameter  Thermal Transfer Fluid Temperature
 Interior Cavity Volume & Thermal Fluid Capacity  Fluid Volumetric Flowrate & Velocity
 Spiral Baffle Angle & Helix Configuration  Interior Cavity Pressure
 In-Feed & Siphon Tube Dimensions  Web/Substrate Thermal Properties
 Journal & Collar Dimensions & Heat Sink Specs  Web Chemistry, Dimensions & Density
 Density, Mass & Conductivity of Steel Grades  Station Temp. (entrance, exit, etc.)
 Rollface Finish Properties (Ni, Chrome, WC, etc.)  Target Temp. / Temp. Change Data
 Rotary Union Specifications  Nodal Temperature Variances
 Linespeed & Roll Rotation Speed  BTU Loss/Gain to Web
 Web Wrap Angle & Contact/Nip Pressure  Ambient Air Temp. & Humidity
 Thermal Transfer Fluid Chemistry  Coating & Adhesive Chemistry

The benefit of Computational Fluid Dynamics technology is the capacity to digest chemical, physical, motion and
thermal information. Aerospace and medical sciences use CFD to test complex processes and develop advanced
solutions. Menges believes heat transfer technology for converters warrants this level of engineering sophistication.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

The Benefits

Now that the temperature and performance of heat transfer rolls can be visualized before being manufactured,
modifications to the roll’s design can be made until optimal characteristics are reached. Menges Roller’s Thermal
Modeling technology ensures the roll will perform as planned for the application for which it was designed.
The benefit chain to people, products and corporate budgets is extensive:

 Rollers can be designed to perform with a degree of accuracy never before seen: guaranteeing temperature
profiles accurate to within +/- 1 degree F; this level of accuracy will make tight-tolerance converting
applications run smoother, produce less waste and allow plants to produce higher-quality products.
 For purchasing directors, Menges’ new technology makes purchasing heat transfer rolls (and upgrading their
machines in-general) a less-risky act: no more fearing for your job when you the roller will work correctly
 Menges’ technology will reduce hot/cold roller rebuilds and “re-rebuilds”: You only have to build it once.
 Converters can now spend more time running their chill rolls than monitoring them! Heat transfer rolls
produced using Menges’ Thermal Modeling technology have more reliable performance, so converters can
reduce the time spent monitoring temperatures and compensating for temp variances: this has traditionally
included such time-sapping tasks as tweaking heater/chiller temperatures, monitoring and modifying thermal
fluid flowrates, increasing/decreasing linespeeds and ‘dwell time’ (duration of time the roll contacts the web).
 Menges’ technology will promote innovation in the converting industry. Engineers and product developers
will “feel more free to develop” new products & processes, knowing whatever they dream-up can be tested
and modeled in-advance: no more building expensive equipment just for elaborate trial-and-error testing.
 CFD Thermal Modeling from Menges can save existing rollers. If a converter is having issues with their
application, it is possible the heat transfer roll is actually not the problem. There may be an issue with low
pump capacity, improper thermal fluid chemistry, or something else related to the converting station:
because Menges’ new technology encompasses all the factors in the chain, it may be able to detect issues
such as these, potentially enabling the converter to make simple adjustments without making a new roll.

With Menges Roller’s new CFD Thermal Modeling Technology, the data and images relating to the roll itself are tremendously
useful. But this technology really shines in the fact that we can also see how the roll’s temperature transfers to the web.
This is important because, just because a heat-transfer roll reaches a certain temperature, not all that energy is necessarily
transferred to the web. Every substrate absorbs heat differently, and Menges’ technology can work different web chemistries
into the equation – so converters can see exactly how the roll design will affect their specific web in their specific process.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

The Evolution of this Technology:

Menges Roller Company has a long history as a respected designer and manufacturer of heat transfer rolls. We
work daily with well-known extruders, converters and plastic packaging brands. Our decision to develop Thermal
Modeling technology was an informed decision, based on market-driven factors and the unmet needs of our
customers in the converting industry.

Competition among converters in today’s environment has become increasingly fierce, and this has spurred
innovation forward. As plants started reaching for ‘the next groundbreaking thing’ we at Menges Roller started
seeing large numbers of heat transfer roll rebuilds. Upon further inquiry, we noticed two basic trends:

a. Heat transfer rolls were being built and rebuilt to fit new applications, but using existing machines. Rolls
were modified to be larger, hotter, with different finishes, and so on - but it seemed most were going into
machine/line modification projects. The key flaw was that we saw many engineers “guesstimating” on the
size, finish and flow these heat transfer rolls would require to get the job done in these new applications.
Substantial resources were being put toward new components, but nobody knew for sure if they would
actually work properly when complete. Our goal at Menges Roller was to eliminate those questions.
AND
b. We also started seeing a large number “re-rebuilds”. This is where the first roller design did not work
effectively for their “exciting new process” and the engineers had to change the roll’s dimensions (make it
bigger, smaller, with higher fluid flow, etc.) and/or get an entirely new roll manufactured. Again, most of
the time, the first design didn’t work because the engineering team simply didn’t have the capacity and
tools to design the roll to the proper specifications. And again, we sought to eliminate this guesswork. We
simply felt plant managers should have a better way of determining how large their chill roll should be.

Although we admire the “if at first you don’t succeed, try-try again” attitude, the Menges Team knew there had to
be a better approach. We asked ourselves a series of questions: “How hard would it be to develop an algorithm
tying together all the factors that go into chill roll performance…thermal fluid temperature, turbulence and
flowrate, roll dimensions, interior cavity and spiral wrap specs along with their effects on flowrate and
temperature distribution, plus comparative heat conductivity data for the various steel grades, linespeed and
rotation data, etc. Could we develop a formula encompassing all these factors and generate meaningful results?”

It soon became obvious the required calculations would be quite complex. Even with the help of engineering
calculators, spreadsheets and a good amount of industry knowledge, a reliable all-encompassing formula was
elusive. So, after extensive research, the Menges Team concluded the same type of applications used by NASA to
put spacecraft in orbit, monitor chemical reactions in the human brain, and calculate the number of SOx molecules
in power plants could in fact be utilized to model temperature and performance profiles for heat transfer rollers.
We made a trailblazing corporate decision: we would bring Computational Fluid Dynamics to the roller industry.

Today, Computational Fluid Dynamics and CFD Modeling simulations are used daily Menges Roller. We are
coupling our use of CFD Thermal Modeling with Finite Element Analysis, which helps engineers see the strength
and load-bearing capacity of our rollers. After the roll’s design specifications have been finalized and the key
decision makers on the customer-side have approved the roll for production, the Menges Engineering Team
exports the design specifications to a CAD program which generates final fabrication schematics. From there, the
roll goes into production at the Menges Roller Fabrication Facility in northeast Illinois.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

Strength Testing:

To ensure a roll’s strength and load-bearing profile is just right, engineers may also utilize a technology known as
Finite Element Analysis (FEA). Often used in direct conjunction with CFD, FEA Simulations generate detailed data
and images to accurately dissect which parts of the roll will incur the most stress when loaded (usually the
shoulder area, where the journal meets the endplate). The engineer can then test and re-test the capacities of
components made from various grades and thicknesses of steel, stainless steel or aluminum until they arrive at
the optimal balance of strength and functionality.

In today’s converting plant, stress testing is actually more important than ever. With faster linespeeds, higher
pressure nip systems, and 24-hour operations, factors such as deflection and centrifugal force represent ever-
present stresses that will breakdown an under-engineered roller in a hurry. On the other hand, every roll cannot
be such a solid steel behemoth that it causes mounting or maintenance issues. We want a balanced design…not
“not enough”…not “too much.” In the hands of a skilled engineer, FEA is useful in finding the proper balance of
size and strength.

After the roll’s design specifications have been finalized and the key decision makers on the customer-side have
approved the roll for production, the Menges Engineering Team exports the final CFD & FEA design specifications
to a CAD program which generates final fabrication schematics. From there, the roll goes into production at the
Menges Roller Fabrication Facility in northeast Illinois.

Conclusions:

At Menges Roller Company, we see our job as delivering more than just rollers: our mission is delivering roller
solutions. This means we don’t just manufacture rollers: we help customers determine which type of roller is best
for their particular process challenge; we help them test different elastomers until the best material handling
rubber is found; we conduct research in an effort to offer informed advice; we track our results so we can offer
solutions that are proven to work; and we work tirelessly to seek out new technologies that will help us design
higher-performing chill rolls & heat transfer rolls - as we did here with acquiring and developing Computational
Fluid Dynamics Thermal Modeling Technology for the converting industry.

As a result of our new and innovative utilization of CFD Thermal Modeling technology, when a converter purchases
a heat transfer roll from Menges, they are purchasing a heat transfer roll that is guaranteed to achieve its target
temperature and meet their predetermined specifications. Additionally, this level of performance and temperature
distribution is stable and capable of being maintained over long production runs. Reliability and accuracy are the
hallmarks of quality when it comes to thermal rollers, and Menges Roller has taken a giant leap toward total
accuracy and total reliability by bringing CFD technology into the roller design realm.

Customers have been thrilled with the results of our thermal models and process simulations, and the
performance of heat transfer rollers designed using this technology has been outstanding. Temperature variations
of 1-2 degrees are regularly delivered, while 7-10 degree variances were common in our customers’ previous rolls.
We believe CFD Technology represents an outstanding solution for this company, our customers, and the
converting industry in general.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

Supporting Images:

This is a temperature distribution image generated


during one of Menges’ CFD Thermal Modeling
projects.
Images and data generated from our CFD system are
critically useful, but this technology does not
represent a turnkey fix for every roll design challenge.
The knowledge and contribution of Menges Design
Engineers as well as Process Engineers on the
customer side is very important.

This is a wire-frame still of a heat transfer roll about


half-way through the design process. The roll will be
modified until the temperature is more consistent
and uniform. Each little cell or node in this wire mesh
can be dissected and analyzed. Menges Engineers use
CFD Models to look at heat transfer in a granular
manner, analyzing all the causes and effects, then
ultimately delivering very high performing rolls for
our customers.

This image illustrates fluid velocity through a duo-


flow heat transfer roll. With the duo-flow, thermal
transfer fluid is pumped in and out of the same end.
This is accomplished with the help of a specially-
designed rotary union. The unique design of the duo-
flow has a significant effect on temperature
distribution, both internally and across the face of the
roll. We utilize CFD Models to test design
modifications and tweak component specifications –
until the converter’s desired temperature and
performance profiles are reached.
Menges Roller Company “Using Computational Fluid Dynamics To Design Heat Transfer Rollers”

This is the finished result: a medium-large duo-flow


heat transfer roller designed using Menges’ CFD
Thermal Modeling Technology.
Although this roller may look basic from the outside,
this is a highly-engineered component that is
absolutely critical to our customer’s converting
operation.

The rollface is over 84 inches long and we modeled its


internal components and exterior shell to maintain a
temperature of 340 degrees Fahrenheit with an
allowable variance of +/- two degrees, just as the
customer required.

This is a heat transfer roll under a load-bearing


stress test. Finite Element Analysis show
progressively increasing areas of stress.

Here a Finite Element Analysis simulation is


testing the strength of journals in a high-
pressure nipping system