Can a sales team select the right turbomachinery for a client without bothering the engineering team?

[:en]This might seem like a strange question, but we get ask this a lot. The question takes the form of: Can the sales side do a proper preliminary design and select the optimal machine (turbine/compressor/pump)?  Is it possible for the design and application task to be integrated in a way allowing the application team the autonomy to make decisions without going back to the engineering team every time they get an inquiry? After realizing how large of a pain point this is for our clients, we decided to solve this problem for a major turbine manufacturer in Asia and in the process, provided a time-saving solution to maximize the returns for all the stakeholders.

The challenge came with the different competencies of the sales and design team. The sales/application teams are not necessarily experts in design while designers cannot double as application engineers to meet the sales requirements.

In our efforts to solve this issue, we worked with this turbine manufacturer. We listed all of their current processes, limitation, requirements, constraints, and etc. to explore the many possible ways to resolve this pain point. In the end, there were two solutions; (1) Develop custom selection software, or (2) Leverage the AxSTREAM® platform using AxSTREAM ION™.

    1. Developing Custom Selection Software: Developing a custom selection software specific to the manufacturer where their application team can choose the optimal turbine based on expected customer needs. Developing such a custom system requires bringing together the expertise of different teams from turbomachinery (such as aero-thermal and structural) to software developer, testing, etc. Developing such a one-off system also takes considerable time at considerable cost. This approach could solve the current problem, but with rapidly changing technologies and market requirements, this is not a viable long-term solution.
    2. Leverage the AxSTREAM® Platform using AxSTREAM ION™: We evaluated the limitation and possibilities of utilizing our turbomachinery design platform AxSTREAM® to meet the requirement of sales/application engineering team for today’s needs and in the future. We found the organization had a greater advantage using this existing platform rather than investing in the short-term solution of developing a custom selection software. Many of the building blocks required for customization are already available to use via an interface a non-technical sales person could easily use. This platform was utilized for meeting the requirement of this turbine manufacturer saving time and cost while resolving a large pain-point for the organization.

With the introduction of AxSTREAM ION™, our AxSTREAM® platform finds extensive application superseding the initial goal of SoftInWay to be a dominant turbomachinery solution provider. Today this powerful platform can perform a multitude of task ranging from turbomachinery flowpath design to automating the entire design process from specification to manufacturing and even integrating application engineering with design tasks.

Here is the process we followed to solve this pain point for our client. All of the manufacturer’s existing designs were built inside the AxSTREAM® flow path analysis tool and performance was estimated for different conditions. Scripting was done to identify and select the turbine flow path based on customer requirements specific to this manufacturer. AxSTREAM Organizer™, our tool for file organizing, was used for selection of the appropriate project file from the large database of available manufacturer turbine flow paths. The inquiry specific requirements were entered via a spreadsheet, and the output provides all information required to answer the inquiry, including cost, automatically.

Figure 1, below, shows the simple process flow AxSTREAM ION™ uses to select the proper turbine based on customer requirements using the Integration and Optimization Network. The entire process is automated.  Instead of bothering the design team to answer each inquiry, the sales team, now, inputs the information submitted into an excel sheet or a simple GUI. They submit the data to the program and a report is generated automatically containing all the information the potential customer needs, including price.

AxSTREAM ION for Process Automation
Figure 1: Application engineer task for selecting turbine based on customer specification.

The embedded process for turbine analysis within the AxSTREAM Platform® not only provides an accurate estimation of the performance for the sales team, but also gives the engineering team the ability to select the analyzed turbine and either further fine-tune the design before production or proceed with release of manufacturing drawing. Thus, the entire process from sales to engineering to manufacturing is integrated saving aggravation, time and money.

To further understand on how AxSTREAM ION™ can be used to automate your entire design process, please write to[:]

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