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AFT’s engineers play an active role in helping customers with a range of issues, whether it be software installation and product training to creative approaches in design engineering. This first-hand experience with end users directly influences the development and maintenance of AFT software products. In the fourth part of our spotlight series, we hear from Cort Hanson, a Chemical Engineering graduate from the Colorado School of Mines with a minor in Materials and Metallurgical Engineering. As an Applications Engineer with Applied Flow Technology, here is what he had to share:
“I love using my technical background in a people-focused way. It’s always satisfying to be on the phone talking with users and hear a concept ‘click’ with them as they try to understand a new concept or learn a new feature with our software. It’s also fun to help users apply their knowledge using a creative approach and our software to solve a problem. AFT software can be used for so many applications beyond its stated capabilities, but it takes some outside-the-box thinking to get there.
Some of my favorite client issues to help solve are convergence issues. In one case, a user was attempting to model the initial timestep of an emergency blowdown of a high-pressure gas system. This system was close to choking in several locations, and had some substantial pressure drops across the system. By working with the person and helping them apply the Solution Control methodology correctly, I was able to show how AFT Arrow was breaking up pipes to calculate conditions at intermediate locations along the pipes. We were able to get the system to converge and give reliable results for the system.
One of the main ways we come up with new features to include with our products is user requests. As we interact with AFT users for support and training purposes, we frequently have users ask if Fathom can do certain things. Usually, the answer is ‘yes’, but sometimes, the answer is ‘no’, and we realize we have a great opportunity to increase the capabilities of our software.
An example of this is for compressor curves in Arrow. We’ve had a number of users specifically request the ability to define a compressor curve using Compression Ratio vs. Flowrate instead of Pressure Rise vs. Flowrate. So one of the major new features we’re introducing with Arrow 8 is this capability.
It’s amazing to look back at older versions of our software and see how far Fathom, Arrow, and Impulse have come over the past several years. While the software has maintained a high level of accuracy, the systems it can be applied to have grown considerably as we’ve added in new features. It’s also amazing to know that most of these features are being used extensively by users, since they’re the ones who request them.”