Case Study

MasterFilter

MasterFilter

CLIENT NAME: MASTERFILTER Masterfilter logo

MEASUREMENT FOR RECOVERY (M4R) Project – COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS (CFD) Upscaling of Car Oil Filter for Wind Turbines

TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory provided MasterFilter Limited with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) services when they wanted to modify their oil filter design to access the wind industry. MasterFilter have a product which they believe can solve an important issue affecting wind turbines but needed help to adapt the design.

Challenges

Paul Clark, Managing Director of MasterFilter, set up the company with his co-founder who had designed the basis of the oil filter system some time ago. Paul’s role has been to commercialise the product and he identified the wind industry as a target market.

MasterFilter designed and patented an innovative oil filtration system that can keep hydraulic and lubricating oils ultra clean. Ultra clean oil constantly maintained has been shown in the automotive industry to massively reduce mechanical wear. They decided to target the wind energy sector because the industry has experienced a high number of premature failures of gearboxes, bearings and hydraulic circuits. Paul believes they are the first company to come to market with the answer to the root cause of these issues.

Their initial oil filter design was targeted at the car industry and did not meet the specifications required for the wind turbine market. They fine-tuned the base filter design to be appropriate for the wind industry but then faced a challenge requiring specialist help. They needed to work with Computational Fluid Dynamics consultants to assess the current design performance and then scale the design to meet the wind market performance target, which has an 8.5 times higher flowrate.

MasterFilter were fortunate to work with TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory as part of the M4R programme. Paul said:

“We chose TÜV SÜD as a partner because we hoped that this would be the first of several collaborations with them. To fully exploit the potential of our products we needed a number of different technical skills, abilities and measuring facilities. TÜV SÜD not only have all of these abilities and facilities but they were also people that we immediately built a rapport with.”

TÜV SÜD solutions

TÜV SÜD carried out CFD analysis on the current oil filter design and calculated the resultant pressure drop. They were then able to upscale the filter design until it met the required flow rate condition while the pressure drop of the filter remains the same as the original design.

Following this, TÜV SÜD worked with MasterFilter to produce a design that used materials and products which were readily available. This meant that it would be quicker and easier to produce the filters at a lower cost than originally thought.

Paul explained:

“It is often easy to get carried away in trying to design something that provides a theoretical optimal answer but with no consideration of the design’s manufacturability or cost. TÜV SÜD were fantastic at working with us to produce a design that used commonly stocked material sizes yet still meet the design brief for performance.”

MasterFilter CFD Oil Filter Wind Turbine Base Case Results MasterFilter CFD Oil Filter Wind Turbine Scaled Filter Results

Business benefits

Through their work with TÜV SÜD’s CFD consultants, MasterFilter have been able to create a larger sister product to extend the range of their products considerably thereby opening up a whole new market. With demand growing exponentially for the wind industry on a global scale, the wind turbines are also increasing in size. Therefore, the filtration systems required for this new generation of larger turbines needs higher flowrates of oil than MasterFilter’s standard product can provide. The company needs to be a full-service solution provider and TÜV SÜD have helped them “supersize” their current product but maintain the same design ethos so that patents cover both existing and new products.

Masterfilter Wind Turbine Sizes Over the Years

As well as having a new version of their product which can be manufactured more easily and at a lower cost, MasterFilter was also able to benefit from the BEIS-funded Measurement for Recovery (M4R) programme which TÜV SÜD was pleased to support. M4R aimed to help businesses recover and grow in the challenging economic situation resulting from COVID-19 by providing access to world-leading measurement experts and facilities at no charge. The company has since won an A4I Round 7 project grant and will be working with TÜV SÜD again. 

Paul Clark, Managing Director of MasterFilter:

“I can’t commend TÜV SÜD highly enough. Their communication is spot on, and they exhibited a very high degree of flexibility that was offered rather than requested. This makes a huge difference to a working relationship.

We are using their services again as we are building the first prototype supersized filter system. TÜV SÜD will be functionally testing the design to verify that theoretical performance is achieved in real life.”

Konrad Kuczynski, Consultant at TÜV SÜD enjoyed working with MasterFilter:

“It was great to be able to work with MasterFilter as they wouldn’t have been able to access our services without M4R. I found it very satisfying working with a small business in creating a new product design. I was able to apply wide range of skills and knowledge of fluid flow, mechanical design, and also a commercial focus. As a result, the new design meets the client’s technical specification and is also easier to manufacture, therefore more competitive. It also demonstrates how CFD is a valuable tool for a range of industries and products.”

If you think your business could benefit from using CFD, please contact our CFD consultants who will be happy to discuss your project.

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