Usability Improvements in the PIPE-FLO Family in v17

Usability Improvements in the PIPE-FLO® Family in v17

In version 17 of the PIPE-FLO Family of software products (Advantage, Professional, Lite, and Flow of Fluids), several usability improvements were made to speed up the modeling process and help the user to evaluate the calculated results. These improvements are a direct result of user feedback to Engineered Software on how to enhance the user experience.

Changes to the Pipe and Compressible Pipe Devices

To accommodate the more extensive calculation results of the compressible flow analysis introduced in PIPE-FLO Advantage 17, a new Compressible Pipe device was added. The Compressible Pipe uses the adiabatic fanno flow relationships in the calculations for a compressible flow analysis if the assigned Fluid Zone has a gas fluid state, and either the Darcy-Wiesbach or Hazen-Williams method (Calculation Settings) in an incompressible analysis if the fluid state is liquid.

The Darcy Limitation Warnings were added to alert the user that the assumption of incompressible flow in gas applications may not be valid. Previously, the compressibility check for these limitations was achieved using the DataLink functionality along with a Microsoft® Excel  worksheet provided by Engineered Software and installed with earlier versions of PIPE-FLO. These limitations are based on the Pressure Drop Ratio and Mach Number and required additional calculation fields for these parameters to be added to the Pipe calculated results.

Another commonly requested improvement for the Pipe was the ability to group edit the "Reverse Flow Direction" with multiple pipes. This is now achieved by selecting multiple pipes, right click on the selection, and choose "Reverse Flow Direction" from the Context Menu.

Improvements were made in the Pipe Sizing Calculator functionality. The selection of the sizing criteria can now be made from the calculator as well as the Pipe Specification. Additional calculated results were added to evaluate the selected size, and a new Messages section was added to the calculator dialog to warn if the calculated size is less than the smallest size or greater than the largest size in the Pipe Specification.

One calculation change that was made was in the calculation of the dP/100 and HL/100 of the pipe. Previously, the pressure drop or head loss of the installed valves and fittings was included in the calculation changed to represent only the pipe without installed V&F. This calculation is now only based on the pressure drop and head loss due to the pipe's length and diameter.

Changes to the Flow Demand and Pressure Boundary Devices

In v17, the Flow Demand device is now limited to placement on just the inlet or outlet of a single pipe and can no longer be placed on a Node between two pipes. If a pre-version 17 file is opened and it contains a Flow Demand on the node between two pipes, a new warning (ID 216) will be thrown. The Flow Demands can be group selected in the List View Window, cut from the model using Ctrl-x, then pasting them one grid square away. Add a pipe between the Flow Demands and the Nodes and enter the pipe design data. A compressible analysis cannot be performed unless the Flow Demand represents one end of the pipe.

The Symbol for the Flow Demand is now automatically changed on the FLO-Sheet to correspond to the direction specified in Flow Type. The symbols of Flow Demands in files created in a pre-version 17 file will automatically be changed to indicate the flow direction specified in the Flow Type field if a corresponding symbol is found.

Another change in the Pressure Boundary device in v17 is changing the Pressure design field to an Operation design field to allow for total or static pressure entry as well as gage or absolute pressures. 

Additional calculated results were added to both the Flow Demand and Pressure Boundary devices. The common set of results include total, static, and dynamic pressure, energy grade, hydraulic grade, and dynamic head. 

Changes to the Control Valves and Centrifugal Pump Devices

The Sizing Valve and Control Valve were combined into a single Control Valve device in PIPE-FLO version 17 and the Sizing Pump and Centrifugal Pump are now a single Centrifugal Pump device. If a pre-v17 PIPE-FLO file containing Sizing Pumps and Sizing Valves is opened in v17, they will automatically be converted into Centrifugal Pumps and Control Valves without device specific data. Their operating modes will be retained, except for Sizing Valve in Fully Open operating mode will be set to Fixed dP mode with zero dP value. Without device specific data (control valve data or pump curves) Operating Modes are considered Sizing modes to help size the equipment based on equipment design requirements.

Additional Operating Modes were added to the Control Valve for Differential Pressure, Fixed Flow Coefficient, and Total or Static Pressure entry for pressure modes. The Differential Pressure operating mode was also added to the Centrifugal Pump.

The Centrifugal Pump Curve dialog for manual entry of the performance curve data was changed to accommodate copy and paste from an external program like Microsoft® Excel. The same copy / paste functionality was added to the new Fan, Blower, and Compressor devices (Blower and Compressor only available in PIPE-FLO Advantage). An additional calculation was added to the pumping devices for Pump Output Power, also referred to as the "water horse power". This is the amount of power required to be added to the flowing fluid at the calculation operating point.

Changes to the Over Time Module

Improvements were made to the Over Time Module used for time-based simulation of a PIPE-FLO model. A new Rules Device Condition tab was added to allow comparing one device's design or calculated result to another device and initiate an action based on the comparison. A new Rules Device Action was added to modify a device's design data using Increments (addition and subtraction) of value in the units assigned.

An Export Graph Data button was added to output the calculated results used to generate the graph to a CSV file.

Changes to Color Gradients

To enhance the color contrast when Color Gradients were turned on, the default color gradients were adjusted to make the intermediate colors more distinct. Also, the solid black line for a pipe is removed when the model is colorized. 

Color gradients are now disabled when the Disable Colors button is pressed.

Changes to Calculation Settings

Because some systems require more than 100 iterations to solve, especially after implementing the compressible solution method in PIPE-FLO Advantage, the default Maximum Iterations in the Calculation Settings was increased to 1,000. Older files opened in v17 that already have a set value of Max Iterations will retain that value in the Calculation Settings. In addition, the maximum number of iterations that can be set was increased from 999 to 99,999.

Changes to Text Settings

Improvements to the Text Settings for all devices include the addition of Vertical Text Up and Vertical Text Down to the Orientation options and the addition of "Left", "Center", and "Right" Alignment to the settings. "Smart" Anchoring was added to fix the position of the text at the top, middle, or bottom of the displayed text on the FLO-Sheet.

Changes to the Installation of Program Files

The root folder of the program is now located at C:\Program Files\Engineered Software\<product name> by default unless otherwise specified during the installation of the program. The Projects, Reports, and Tables folders and files are installed in version-specific folders at C:\Users\Public\Documents\Engineered Software\<product name> by default unless otherwise specified during the installation of the program. Catalogs will continue to be installed at C:\Users\Public\Documents\My Engineering Files\Catalogs by default unless otherwise specified.

Additional Improvements

The interaction of cutting and pasting devices has been changed so that cutting a device re-names the remaining node so that subsequently pasting the device retains the original name.

More hover over Tool Tips for buttons were added in v17, including the hover over of the Property Grid label of the calculated results to display the full precision value and unit and the use of Ctrl+C (release C first, then release Ctrl) to copy the value and unit to the clipboard to paste in an external program.

An Open CSV button was added to all the device graph dialogs so that the data used to create the graph can now be exported as a CSV file in addition to a TXT file.