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The Benefits of Fluid Flow Software Part 1: Visualizations and Calculations

Computer-aided design (CAD) and spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel enabled a major leap forward in fluid flow calculation, but even with these advancements, it’s still an error-prone process. Sustaining a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace takes more than spreadsheets and renderings — it requires comprehensive software made specifically for fluid system design, with a complete view of a piping system. New software integrates all of the disparate features and capabilities required for fluid flow system design into one software pack-age, enabling:
If you’re still relying on spreadsheets and other basic programs for fluid flow calculations, you’re missing out on all of the benefits of end-to-end software. Read on to learn about a better way to manage fluid piping systems.

CAD vs Fluid Flow Software

Traditionally, CAD has been instrumental in creating piping schematic drawings, which show how all of the items in a fluid system are connected. Piping schematic drawings, process flow diagrams, or piping and instrument drawings (P&ID) are often created with CAD software and become the primary design documents of the piping system.

Spreadsheet calculations vs Fluid Flow Software A typical pipe sizing spreadsheet can only look at a single pipeline, limiting data visibility. This is especially a problem if the piping system consists of multiple pipelines in series, as stakeholders can only calculate the total system head loss using the spreadsheet’s sum feature. When calculating the pipeline head loss with a spreadsheet program, the names of the individual pipelines and the design data are taken off the CAD drawing and manually entered into the spreadsheet’s columns and rows. However, the spreadsheet’s row-and-column format does little to show how the pipelines are connected into a fluid piping system.

Fluid flow software like PIPE-FLO a Revalize brand utilizes a piping schematic drawing interface (the FLO-Sheet) as the primary user interface. Users can create piping schematics by inserting objects into the FLO-Sheet and then entering the details for each object.

For example, when entering a pump on the FLO-Sheet, it imports the pump’s unique name, along with the elevation and operating characteristics. After the various piping system objects are placed on the FLO-Sheet, the software automatically draws the interconnecting pipelines and imports the relevant data, including pipe material, valve-types, and process fluids, eliminating the need for manual data entry and reducing the risk of human error.

Spreadsheet calculations vs Fluid Flow Software

A typical pipe sizing spreadsheet can only look at a single pipeline, limiting data visibility. This is especially a problem if the piping system consists of multiple pipelines in series, as stakeholders can only calculate the total system head loss using the spreadsheet’s sum feature.

Fluid flow software like PIPE-FLO provides a complete solution for detailed network analysis calculations. The program uses the FLO-Sheet drawing to set up the equations needed to calculate the balanced flow rates. With advanced hydraulic network analysis techniques, the program calculates the balanced flow rates and pressures for piping systems of any size, whether they contain straight pipe segments, loops, or branches.

In addition to the head loss, PIPE-FLO can make calculations for selecting pumps and control valves. These calculations include:

Without integrated software, these calculations require the use of different spreadsheets, and a lot of manual data entry. PIPE-FLO calculates the effect that pumps, components, tanks, and controls have on the piping system operation in a fraction of the time and with minimal effort.

As a result, the program provides information on how the total system operates, including the pumps’ TDH and NPSH, as well as design points for control valves. All calculated results are displayed on the FLO-Sheet, providing the user with a clear picture of how the total piping system operates.

PIPE-FLO: All you need to know

Spreadsheets are an excellent tool for organizing data and performing a variety of engineering calculations; however, to properly simulate the operation of piping systems, you need to employ a specialized fluid flow network analysis program such as PIPE-FLO.

PIPE-FLO is the engineering standard for modeling and simulation calculations that manages your entire fluid system lifecycle. From design to digital twin simulations, our software is proven to save time and money. Schedule a demo.

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