Case Study: Simulation-Driven Design for Agricultural Vehicles

SDF uses Exa Corp. software to help design and validate agriculture vehicles with better performance while reducing development time and cost.

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For nearly a decade, Exa Corporation has worked in partnership with leading agricultural vehicle manufacturer, SDF, to use Exa PowerFLOW CFD simulation to improve the efficiency of SDF’s engine cooling systems and reduce development time and cost.

Agricultural operations place intense demands on engine cooling systems. Tractors and combine harvesters generally move at very low velocities, or are stationary for long periods. At the same time, the torque requested from the engine during productive work like plowing, is very high. The ram air that provides cooling airflow to passenger cars and commercial vehicles is unavailable at agricultural speeds, meaning that the efficiency of the agricultural vehicle’s fan-based cooling system is of primary importance. The fan must be placed in the right position in order to provide sufficient cooling airflow to the cooling pack, consisting of radiators and heat exchangers. Design decisions are complicated by the fact that a fan performs differently in the congested underhood area of a tractor compared to how it performs in an empty test laboratory.