How Johnson Controls is Optimizing Volute Design in a Centrifugal Compressor for Industrial Cooling

Johnson Controls is a global manufacturer of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigeration products. JCI equipment is installed in universities, hospitals, office buildings, airports, marine vessels and residences. JCI also manufactures refrigeration and gas-compression equipment for processing food processing, beverage, chemicals and petrochemical industries.

Johnson Controls’ YORK® centrifugal compressors are high capacity and in use in many large, well-known buildings across the world. Johnson Controls used TURBOdesign Volute to redesign and optimize the volute for some of their YORK® centrifugal compressors. The design of a centrifugal compressor for industrial cooling applications faces two main challenges: high aerodynamic efficiency and compact packaging. TURBOdesign Volute was able to meet these challenges and generated a reduction in overall size of 8% and improved head and efficiency at the design point of 0.8% and 0.4% respectively, when compared to the existing design.


VoluteFig. 1. 3D solid model of a volute generated by TURBOdesign Volute.


The reduction in size was generated by switching from a circular cross-section to an elliptical one, combined with a change in volute cross-sectional areas distribution and different packaging. The optimum area distribution was obtained as a result of several design/analysis iterations and the main target of the area re-distribution was compressor efficiency. This is where TURBOdesign Volute offered the main advantage of outputting a 3D model of the volute that could be sent to a meshing software in a couple of steps. The entire process, from new inputs to TURBOdesign Volute to solid model, took less than 15 minutes.

Fig. 1. shows an example of a 3D volute ready for meshing. As a result, an optimized volute could be generated in a day. By comparison, using the older methodology and creating the solid model from ground-up took several days per iteration.

To discover how TURBOdesign Volute is revolutionizing volute design, we invite you to download your free copy of the case study below.


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Mehrdad Zangeneh

Mehrdad Zangeneh is Founder and Managing Director of Advanced Design Technology and professor of Thermofluids at University College London.

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