Leaping forward

Computer programs and software have evolved to play an increasing part in an engineer’s toolbox. Without them, innovations such as automated vehicles, digital twins or internet of things-capable sensors would not be possible.

Simulation software is one such tool that helps designers and engineers understand how their systems work and will be on display at the 2020 Australian Bulk Handling Expo (BULK2020) thanks to LEAP Australia, local partner of ANSYS and Rocky DEM.

The event will take place from 1 to 3 April at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and bring the bulk handling industry together to showcase the latest equipment and technology.

The conference will discuss key issues facing the bulk handling industry while the expo will have  equipment such as conveyors, silos, motors and devices, belt scrapers, and dust control systems on display.

Peter Rizkalla, Product Manager at LEAP Australia, says the company will have the world’s leading Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulation software, Rocky, on display at its booth.

The software simulates the movement of granular material and the way it interacts with a bulk handling system. It allows engineers to visualise the general flow trajectory to understand forces, velocities and how they affect critical points in a system. This can help to find where spillage, breakage or wear may be an issue and allows for changes to be made early in the design phase.

“Our main objective at the show is to educate Australian engineers on how DEM simulation applies to their work and the many benefits of using Rocky for DEM,” Rizkalla says.

“The uptake of Rocky over the past six to seven years has been overwhelming. We’ve had lots of interest throughout Western Australia and Queensland in the mining industry and Rocky DEM has proved very popular with bulk materials handling product designers and engineers.”

“BULK2020 will be a good opportunity to engage with the bulk material handling market not only in the mining space, but in the pharmaceutical sector, food and beverage manufacturers or agriculture.”

The event aims to connect the diverse world of bulk handling to help facilitate knowledge sharing across industries. The Australian Society for Bulk Solids Handling (ASBSH) will hold an industry conference during the event to discuss the latest advances across multiple technical streams.

While each sector often has industry specific equipment, wear, blockages or overloading on equipment and breakage are issues that can cause unnecessary downtime in any bulk handling situation.

Rizkalla says productivity requirements have increased, with operators pushing their equipment harder to get more throughput.

“When you do start to push systems to the limit, you encounter issues. That’s where simulation is beneficial. You can find out what the implications will be when changes are made to a system, or when a system is operating at the threshold of its intended operating conditions.”

Networking opportunities at the event were a major draw for LEAP Australia. The company will take part in both the exhibition and the technical conference to connect with current and future customers.

Its booth will be staffed with DEM simulation experts to answer questions regarding the virtual prototyping process and the ability to run simulations on a desktop. It will also be a chance for the company to demonstrate its software capabilities through other tools like ANSYS for structural and fluid flow applications.

BULK2020 Show Director, Simon Coburn, says he is thrilled that LEAP has decided to support the event as a sponsor.

“We’re committed to providing conference attendees with the best spread of content to ensure they have the information they need to enhance their bulk solid handling operations,” Coburn says.

“LEAP Australia’s support of the event means that we can offer delegates a wealth of up-to-date knowledge when it comes to software applications that could assist their business.”

BULK2020 will also host the 2020 Australian Bulk Handling Awards, which acknowledge the outstanding achievements of the businesses and people within the industry. Nominations for the awards are currently open and close on 28 February.

The event will be held in conjunction with MEGATRANS2020, one of Australia’s biggest transport, logistics and supply chain events. One ticket will provide access to both exhibitions.

Rizkalla is looking forward to the event and says he is excited to show off Rocky.

“Development has come a long way with many updates coming as a direct results of customer feedback, and we will continue to respond to the requirements of our customers and the problems they are trying to solve,” he says.

“Lots of companies are facing bulk materials handling issues and we want to help them troubleshoot and optimise their systems and operations. From our perspective, virtual prototyping is one of the most cost-effective ways to do that.”