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CASE STUDY: Wilo configures products robustly with Enventive Concept

Wilo, one of the world’s leading suppliers of pumps and pump systems, is a digital innovator with its products, processes and business models.

Robust configuration of multistage pumps using Enventive Concept is one example.

Wilo is one of the world's leading manufacturers of pumps and pump systems.

MULTISTAGE PUMPS ARE CHALLENGING TO DESIGN ROBUSTLY

Wilo’s engineering team designs multistage centrifugal pumps for industrial and building applications. These pumps stack impellers — rotating disks with blades that push a fluid forward — in series to meet required pressures and flows.

A pump’s top and bottom components, number of stages, dimensions, and other parameters vary by application. For instance a water pump servicing the bottom of a 40 story building will be configured differently versus one for a two story building. Possible configurations can total to 1000 or more for Wilo’s Helix line of pumps.

As stages increase, so do mechanical complexity and the risk of performance being overly sensitive to component variations. Wilo needs to manage all the configurations in a robust way.

Wilo's engineers design multistage pumps for a variety of applications.
Wilo’s engineers design multistage pumps for a variety of applications.

WHY ARE EXCEL SPREADSHEETS NO LONGER A GOOD OPTION FOR TOLERANCE ANALYSIS?

Wilo’s initial use of Excel spreadsheet models for tolerance analysis became a poor option due to limitations, including:

  • Not visual: While spreadsheets do advanced calculations, in the end they do not visually represent the actual mechanism, making it difficult to understand the impacts of design variations on performance.
  • Inflexible: It was difficult to setup multiple versions of spreadsheet templates and to make modifications as they were needed.
  • Slow calculations: The Excel sheets with their macros were slow to calculate.
As pump stages increase, so does complexity.
As stages increase, so does complexity and the risk of pump performance being overly sensitive to component variations.

RETHINKING WILO’S NEEDS

Wilo’s team needed a new tolerance analysis tool that effectively modeled the impacts of component variations for each configuration since even the smallest deviations from specifications could have a major impact on pump performance.

They needed to determine where to tighten tolerance ranges to ensure that functional requirements would be robustly met. They also needed to loosen tolerances where possible to lower manufacturing costs while maintaining quality.

More importantly Wilo sought a configurator tool that was both powerful at modeling variational impacts and simple to use for engineers. The idea was for users to be able to run a complete tolerance analysis on a new configuration within minutes.

HOW ENVENTIVE ENHANCES WILO’S DESIGN APPROACH

After a demonstration of Enventive Concept, Wilo’s engineers understood its potential for improving their design and configuration processes but needed to test it for themselves. Wilo found Enventive’s team to be very responsive to their unique evaluation needs, going far beyond a traditional free proof of concept.

For deployment, after training, Wilo’s engineers first modeled pump components as Smart Components within Concept, making sure they were optimized for manufacturing.

Then Wilo defined equations with Concept’s equation tool to enable end users to specify input parameters for a configuration such as number of stages and required pressures.

Wilo found that Concept proves to be far easier to use in comparison to other tools, even with the high number of components in the models.

Over time their Concept-based configurator will be able to integrate increasingly advanced equations such as thermal variations or other nonlinear equations specific to pump applications. Wilo’s team decides the level of modeling detail that they need to satisfy their expectations for robust configurations.

Wilo uses Enventive Concept's Smart Components
For deployment Wilo modeled pump components using Concept’s Smart Components feature.

 “The trainer understood our applications. He was good, open and insightful in his answers. The web training proved to be valuable and adapted to our needs. Later on also we liked that the Enventive team always makes it easy to ask questions with quick answers every single time.”
Lucas Briend
Lead Engineer at Wilo

CONCEPT’S BENEFITS

BENEFITS FOR WILO

 “A great asset of Enventive Concept is the well-thought user experience which makes it easy for any new users to get the most needed mathematical results. And this without being an expert in mathematics, statistics…”
Lucas Briend
Lead Engineer at Wilo

BENEFITS FOR WILO’S CUSTOMERS

BENEFITS WITH WILO’S SUPPLIERS

Beyond the configurator, Wilo uses Enventive Concept to analyze manufacturing deviations and spot where parameter tolerances can be enlarged to lower costs while keeping the same levels of quality. There are often beliefs about needed tolerances that die hard, which can greatly challenge Wilo’s suppliers.

The visual explanations of Concept enables Wilo’s team to have open discussions with suppliers so that those challenges can be met together. Suppliers know that Wilo is running advanced calculations that gives confidence in the requirements.

 “In the end, the objectivity of Concept’s data drastically improves communications, efficiency, and cohesion with our suppliers. Overall our relationships are better.”
Lucas Briend
Lead Engineer at Wilo

WILO’S LAST THOUGHT ON DEPLOYING ENVENTIVE CONCEPT

 “We should have been trained on this tool in school. It clearly helps engineers and designers with a GD&T background to get to the bottom of their mechanical design.”
Lucas Briend
Lead Engineer at Wilo

Further reading on our tolerance analysis software

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