The founders of Maple Key Labs began working together at Western University (London, Canada) where they all obtained graduate degrees in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Through our training and subsequent work experience, we recognized that numerical simulations are a powerful tool for product design and optimization in industrial applications. Maple Key Labs was born of our combined experience, offering the best of advanced simulation capabilities to our clients, especially those in industries without the same access to knowledgeable CFD experts in their design processes.
The name of our company is a nod to our Canadian roots, where the leaf of the maple tree is featured prominently on our country’s flag. The phrase “maple key” refers to the colloquial name for the fruit of the maple tree. The maple key is featured prominently in our logo, and was chosen as the visual representation of our company because of its unique aerodynamic characteristics. More information about our founders can be found on the About Us page.
Computational Fluid Dynamics: The Promise and the Pain
CFD is a powerful tool for gaining insight into a new or existing product. In the right hands, CFD is capable of predicting important performance metrics, for example: aerodynamic lift on an airplane wing, the effectiveness of mixing and aeration in a bioreactor, or the drag on a space capsule as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speed. Without proper training, CFD can produce colourful images that can give the impression to managers that their product performance has been successfully simulated. This is what is sometimes derisively called “colourful fluid dynamics,” since the results look impressive but have limited predictive value.
Many users have told us about their excitement when learning how the tool could be used in their company, but quickly realize that the analysis of their product isn’t as simple as what is shown in the software tutorial. Combined with the high cost of commercial CFD software and the need for specialized personnel to conduct the simulations, many companies start to think that CFD isn’t really for them. If this sounds familiar, Maple Key Labs is here to help. We have a combined 25+ years of CFD experience, and thrive on new and exciting CFD challenges. Working with Maple Key Labs will allow you to focus on what you do best, while leaving CFD analysis to us. This will help you lower your CFD costs by avoiding the need to purchase expensive items such as software licenses and computing hardware. Outsourcing your CFD needs is ideal for companies where hiring dedicated staff is not feasible, such as the case where simulations are not needed on a daily basis, but rather only as the need arises. And if your company does decide to bring CFD in-house and hire dedicated staff, Maple Key Labs is here to offer training to get your staff up and running as quickly as possible.
While Maple Key Labs considers itself to be a general purpose CFD consultancy, we define a few niche areas where we have an exceptional level of expertise. These application areas include:
- Wastewater treatment Our team has significant experience applying CFD analysis to wastewater treatment processes, including: filtration, UV disinfection, chemical disinfection, activated sludge reactors, bubble column reactors, virtual tracer tests, baffle placement/optimization, etc.
- Heat transfer We are experts in conducting heat transfer analysis using CFD and have studied applications such as: heat pipes, heat sinks and heat exchangers, porous materials, thermal energy capture and storage, injection moulding of thermosets and composite materials, etc.
- Compressible flows Using OpenFOAM’s rhoCentralFoam application, our team has had incredible success simulating supersonic flows and complex shock structures. While compressible flow may seem exotic, it is actually common in many engineering applications. It requires only modest supply pressures to form and can significantly impact the performance of your system.
How to Work With Us
If your company is developing a new product or process, Maple Key Labs can help ensure the design is successful through virtual prototyping using CFD. This will save your company time and money by avoiding expensive and time-consuming testing of physical prototypes. By investing in CFD early in your design process, your limited prototyping resources can be reserved for later phases when the design is much more refined.
If your company already has a product or process, but it is not performing as expected or you simply want to improve its efficiency, Maple Key Labs is here to help. We use CFD simulations to diagnose performance issues and provide solutions for correcting issues. Performance can also be optimized by simulating alternate designs and evaluating their performance.
If any of these descriptions fit your company, then we encourage you to contact Maple Key Labs as soon as possible for a complimentary consultation appointment. The best way to get in contact with us is through our Contact page which will always contain our most up to date contact information.
About the Blog
This is the first of many blog articles where we plan to cover a wide variety of topics of interest to the CFD community, including:
- OpenFOAM technical tips
- Commentary on industry trends
- Case studies
What sort of challenges have you faced where CFD would have been a useful tool? Let us know in the comments!