Dynamic solutions for a fluid world™

News

Connecting Generations

AFT hires, and listens to, young engineers

When Applied Flow Technology (AFT) began in Trey’s Ohio basement in 1993, he had never managed a group of employees. It’s not easy. And it is even more difficult as 25 years pass and the age gap between seasoned employees and younger hires becomes more diverse. 

For many of the early years, the company had 2 employees. Then they grew to 5 employees and stayed at this number for several more years. When the youngest of the team turned 40 years old, it was a philosophical wake-up call. Trey knew if the company wasn’t careful, they would age themselves out, “We had to start thinking long-term and hire younger.”

And he did. He strategically began to hire younger engineers and support staff. It has worked well for him so far, “I value all our young engineers. We teach them things, and they teach us right back. They help keep us going.”

He explains, “This latest round of AFT Fathom 10, AFT Arrow 7, and AFT Impulse 7 has, by far, had the biggest influence from our younger engineers. A great example is the Excel Export Manager. Scott Lang and Abby Zimmerman came in and let us know they had some ideas, critiqued what we had done, and suddenly, we were changing it for the better. They understand what they like and don’t like about software and their feedback helps us ensure our products are meeting the needs of younger users.”

AFT is about to expand its team with even more young engineers. The first of four new engineers to be hired are:

Devin Rorabaugh Applied Flow Technology Engineer

Devin Rorabaugh

Born and raised in Florida, Devin comes to Applied Flow Technology after working as a Process Engineer. He was an end-user of AFT software and used it for the design and analysis of various Gas Turbine piping systems. Devin holds a B.S. Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Computer Science from the University of Central Florida. At the moment Devin is working as an Applications Engineer. However, he will soon transition to the AFT development team where he will be an integral part of creating AFT’s hydraulic flow software.
Walt Prentice Applied Flow Technology Engineer

 

Walt Prentice

A Colorado native and a recent graduate of Colorado School of Mines with a B.S. Chemical Engineering and a Minor in Business Economics. Walt will be wearing multiple hats within AFT as he works with customers to maintain their Support, Upgrade, Maintenance (SUM) Subscriptions, technical writing, and various customer relationship management roles. Chances are good that if you call AFT, you might speak with Walt.

With 19-20 employees, 38 International Channel Partners, a larger office in Colorado Springs, and a portfolio of solid products and add-on modules on the market; AFT is not the small company in an Ohio basement anymore. Thanks to the company’s expanded bandwidth and having younger people in place to keep up with technology trends, AFT has extended its reach past what Trey ever thought was possible.

Recently, Trey was interviewed by Pumps & Systems Magazine. Read how Trey is hiring millennials and how AFT opened the lines of communication for various age groups.

Read the Pumps &  Systems Article

 

Trey Walters, P.E. Named ASME Fellow

Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA --- Trey Walters, P.E., President and Founder of Applied Flow Technology (AFT), has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). This recognition is the society's highest membership grade of distinction. Trey is one of a select number of over 3,350 Fellows awarded citations out of ASME’s approximately 140,000 members.

The Board of Governors of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) confers the Fellow grade of membership on worthy candidates to recognize their outstanding engineering achievements. Nominated by their peers, ASME Fellows have 10 or more years of active practice, and at least 10 years of continuous active corporate membership in ASME.

Throughout the years, Walters has been an active member of ASME, has attended many ASME conferences and local chapter meetings, and has authored over 20 publications on diverse topics such as waterhammer, slurry modeling and pump system optimization.

Trey’s Nominator wrote this about Trey, “Mr. Walters is a pioneer and innovator in creating and advancing the state-of-the-art for commercial fluid system engineering simulation tools. His impact has been in two primary areas: creating first-of-their-kind tools which use a graphical modeling interface and bringing previously unrelated technologies to fluid system simulation to create entirely new capabilities.”

While Walters exemplifies a majority of the nine ASME Fellow categories, he was primarily recognized for three: Design, Engineering Product Application, and Research & Development.

This recognition falls on a special year for Walters as it is also Applied Flow Technology’s 25th Anniversary as a company, and the 25th Anniversary of AFT’s flagship software tool, AFT Fathom. Trey was working as research engineer in the power industry when he conceived of a graphical pipe flow analysis software for Microsoft Windows 3.1. As a hobby he began to work on the graphics and hydraulic solution algorithms and later started his own company to develop his concept on a commercial basis.

Throughout 25 years, AFT has worked together with some of the world’s best and brilliant engineers. The software tools he initially developed have continuously increased in ability and have allowed engineers around the world to design and stretch their projects beyond what they thought possible.

About ASME Fellow Membership

The ASME Board of Governors confers the distinction of Fellow grade membership to candidates who have been nominated by their peers and selected by the Fellow Review Committee with final approval of the Committee of Past Presidents. These individuals are recognized for their distinguished career and engineering achievements.

AFT Fathom Celebrates 25 Years of Dynamic Solutions

The software was the world's first commercial graphical "drag-and-drop" pipe flow analysis tool for Windows®.

 Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA --- AFT Fathom™ is considered by many as the world's leading pipe flow modeling software tool and Applied Flow Technology (AFT) is celebrating the product’s 25th Anniversary.

The story behind the Fathom name is intimately tied to the story behind the founding of Applied Flow Technology as a company in 1993. AFT Fathom started as a hobby while AFT President and Founder, Trey Walters, P.E., was working in the power industry as a research engineer. As a hobby Trey began developing a software product that did both steady-state and waterhammer calculations. He coined a name Fundamental Analysis of Transient Hydraulics using Object-oriented Modeling (FATHOM).

AFT as company was born in September 1993. But the "FATHOM" software was only half finished and Trey had no software to sell. He made a decision to have Fathom focus on steady-state pipe flow modeling and not perform waterhammer modeling. In doing so, it made his product name obsolete as "Transient Hydraulics" is a term to describe waterhammer. Fathom would focus on just steady-state modeling - so he could have a product to sell. He dropped the meaning of the acronym and the software just became "Fathom".

A trademark attorney would later advise him to use the name AFT Fathom and it was commercially released on April 12, 1994. The first license was sold in May.

The development plan for AFT Fathom has always been simple: to develop a product made by engineers for engineers to help them easily understand their piping system and predict how pipes, valves, pumps and other components interact with each other. Since the first license was sold in 1994, the tool has been used by tens of thousands of engineers to accurately select and size components to produce safer, less costly and more reliable piping systems.

Trey’s goal was to give engineers a dependable tool that could replace spreadsheets and would give reliable calculations in minutes versus hours or even days.

In 1993-1994, Microsoft Windows (version 3.1) was emerging as the future of desktop operating systems. And graphical user interfaces were emerging as the future of commercial software. It was still mostly a DOS world at that time for most engineers. There were no graphical "drag-and-drop" software products for pipe flow modeling in Windows, and AFT Fathom was the world's first such commercial product.

In 1996 a DuPont® engineer was looking to replace a home-grown and maintained x-y-z coordinate software that didn’t allow his company to really see what was going on in their systems. Prior to software such as AFT, it was common for companies to write their own programs because they had no other options. His company wanted to replace it with something commercial. After trying the software packages that were available at the time, it really came down to just a couple. AFT’s willingness to do some things specifically for them is why they ultimately chose to use AFT.

For the DuPont engineer, the first version that came out in 1996 was enough to say “wow this is fantastic” just because It was so easy to learn. However, in the DuPont engineer’s opinion, the biggest evolution by far to ever happen in the software was the Scenario Manager. The engineer says, “That was the neatest thing to happen because we could save all these different conditions.” Another tremendous capability was when he was able to model non-Newtonian fluids, which they get into quite often, “To have that capability in the software has really helped us save and helped us work out multi-million-dollar issues.”

Since 1994, the drag-and-drop interface and the original steady-state solution algorithm is largely still used today. In 2012, AFT Fathom 8 was release with a combined common code structure and migrated to the “.NET” framework. A 3rd party tool to handle the drag-and-drop interface was implemented, and Trey's original drag-and-drop code from 1993 was retired after almost 20 years of use.

In 2018 the interface was enhanced yet again with the release of AFT Fathom 10. This gives engineers the ability to integrate more than ever with Excel®, GIS Shapefiles, CAESAR II®, EPANET, ROHR2™, AutoCAD® Plant 3D, SmartPlant®, PDS™ and CADWorx® as well as utilize 2D or isometric pipe model viewing. The new features added a level of ability to not only efficiently model and analyze a system, but to present it to others in an isometric and more 3D-like fashion.

Throughout the past 25 years, AFT Fathom has been used by leading international companies and engineers. From theme parks to aerospace, and refineries to power generation, AFT Fathom has been used around the world to identify solutions and create proactive designs within the world’s most advanced piping and ducting systems.

Where the software tool goes will depend on industry trends. As long as fluids are transported through piping systems, AFT Fathom will be there to model and analyze the flow.

 

AFT Supports Research Students Domestically and Abroad

 

AFT often donates full version licenses to university research students around the world for graduate and Ph.D. projects, as well as senior group projects. To request a license, students must work with their professor to submit a letter of request to AFT. After the project is concluded, students submit a report of their findings to AFT. 

The partnership is dually beneficial. Students receive an industry-leading, fluid flow simulation tool, and AFT gains insight into innovative engineering projects which help us continue to provide software that meets and exceeds the expectations of engineers; both now and as younger engineers enter the workforce.  

Applied Flow Technology (AFT) has donated software to dozens of universities around the world and offers extremely inexpensive software bundles to professors who teach hydraulic flow. Recently AFT donated AFT Arrow and the Goal Seek & Control (GSC) Module to a university researcher from National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. 

Researcher Wan -Yi Hong will use AFT Arrow and the Goal Seek & Control Module to evaluate the effectiveness of existing natural gas pipeline networks in Taiwan. He will evaluate the effectiveness of pipeline network supply of natural gas by collecting existing known data such as pipeline diameter, pressure, temperature, time, flow, etc. and evaluate them under challenges and constraints.

According to Hong, AFT is known for its professional software for fluid simulation analysis of pipelines. In his research project, titled, "Building a Natural Gas Network Traffic Assessment and Prediction Model" Hong will simulate a network and will then verify the data using AFT Arrow.

At Kansas State University in the United States, students will be using AFT Fathom, along with the GSC Module, to redesign the the campus boiler feed pump. The current boiler feed water pumps are currently much larger than necessary. To remedy this, students Jacob Ockerhausen, Mark Blevins, Glen Coffman, Mathew Walburn, and Marcus Gammill are designing a new pump layout with new, much smaller, pumps. The end goal of this project is to greatly reduce the energy costs that Kansas State pays for its campus heating. To begin this project, the team toured the facilities building to better understand the current situation and to see the space and fixtures. They calculated the NPSH and the pump discharge head loss values by hand using fluid mechanics textbooks. 

They have values they believe are accurate, but wanted to calculate the values using the AFT Fathom to confirm their results and request a quote for the design boiler feed water pump skid.

Finally, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology located in Wroclaw, Poland used AFT Impulse on two student projects on waterhammer and pressure pulsation research. In the first project, titled Waterhammer phenomenon analysis in a process installation on the example of an oil pumping station, Karolina Pawluć investigates waterhammer as a result of the sudden closing of valves or sudden stop of the pump in a process oil system by means of numerical simulation. The scope of work includes the analysis of the state of knowledge in the field of numerical modeling of the waterhammer phenomenon in pipeline installations, preparation of geometric and numerical models of the selected section of the installation, definition of boundary conditions, performing numerical calculations and analysis of the results. 

Wroclaw's second project, titled Pressure pulsation analysis in a process installation on the example of an oil pumping station, Dominika Wyrwas investigates pressure pulsation generated by positive displacement pumps in an oil process installation by means of numerical simulations. The scope of work includes a state of knowledge analysis in the field of numerical modeling of pulsating flows in pipelines, preparation of geometric and numerical models of the selected section of the installation and definition of boundary conditions, performing numerical calculations and analyzing the results.  

Learn more about AFT's opportunities for education at www.aft.com/education

 

Trey Walters, P.E. to Present to UCCS School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

UCCS Logo

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Research Seminar Series

Applied Flow Technology's President, Trey Walters, P.E. will present "Waterhammer Theory & Applications" as a part of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs MAE Research Seminar Series. The series is a monthly event and is open to any UCCS student and general public members who would like to attend. 

Trey is not foreign to the UCCS campus nor to any other engineering programs within Colorado. A request for Trey to either speak or guest lecture in an engineering class, or campus organizations, is a regular occurrence which Walters enjoys. He is a regular visitor at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, University of Colorado Boulder, and Colorado School of Mines. 

While Trey has worked with waterhammer/surge issues since creating AFT Impulse in the mid-90's. He worked extensively in 2019 to spread education and create awareness on the methods associated with waterhammer and surge analysis. He presented three technical papers at the 2018 ASME PVP conference in Prague, Czech Republic and five technical papers at the distinguished 2018 Pressure Surge Conference in Bordeaux, France. Additionally, he presented a short course on waterhammer at the 2018 Texas A&M University Turbomachinery & Pump Symposium in Houston, Texas USA and has been asked to present at the 2019 conference. Finally, Trey will present at the 2019 Hydraulic Insitute spring conference in Florida USA in February. 

If you would like to attend the UCCS presentation: 

MAE Research Seminar Series 
Topic: Waterhammer theory and application
Dwire Auditorium (DWIRE 121)
Thursday, January 31, 2019
11:00am-12:00pm (MST)
All seminars are open to the public.

To subscribe to the MAE Seminar Mailing List, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.