Howden and GCU to develop innovative industrial compressor techniques

20 October 2015

Howden and GCU to develop innovative industrial compressor techniques

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers are working with global engineering firm Howden to develop new compressor modelling and control techniques.

Howden Process Compressors (HPC) is a leading international engineering group that designs, manufactures and supplies process gas screw compressor systems - mechanical devices that increase the pressure of a gas - for industrial applications in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries, where rigorous air and gas handling is required.

Screw compressors are a mainstay of Howden’s product family. The company has recently undertaken projects in China, Russia, Australia, Nigeria and the United States.

During a 30-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), researchers will help HPC develop new methods of compressor control and troubleshooting techniques, with real data taken from machines in the field, giving the company a competitive advantage and cost savings through production efficiencies.

KTP is Europe’s leading graduate programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within universities.

Howden will embed a KTP Associate with expertise in modelling software and numerical analysis techniques into the business, overseen by GCU’s Paul McKenna. GCU has expertise in the area of nonlinear modelling of rotational systems.

Currently, an on-site Howden engineer may be using their experience of previous problems to re-tune a compressor control system. The models developed during this research project will allow Howden engineers to better reflect the environments and machine conditions found on-site for a particular problem scenario. This new information will better inform solutions in a much quicker timescale.

Mr McKenna said: “This is a great opportunity to work with a major international company with progressive ideas that is prepared to put investment into developing new ways of improving the design of complex systems. I am particularly excited at the prospect of testing new ideas on real systems and getting physical data from real problem systems in the field.”

Howden Process Compressors Managing Director, Fred Hearle commented: “We’re proud to have entered into this partnership with GCU which will further develop our system modelling capabilities and which also aligns with many of our core values regarding innovation and continuous improvement.”

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