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Virtual Event

Rotating Machinery Simulation and Testing

Nov. 18, 2020 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM (ET) Online


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Rotating machinery is present in almost all corners of the world, working around the clock, to help us accomplish many of our day to day activities.

They power your homes, carry you across the world, and provide you with a reliable and clean water supply. From gas turbines for power generation to turbojet engines, our lives are directly impacted by their performance. For a long time, engineering simulation and testing have played key roles in ensuring the reliable, optimal, and efficient performance of these systems. This technology evolves every day, so please join us for this rotating machinery symposium to explore how structural and fluids simulation approaches combined with physical testing contribute to rotating machinery today.




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1:00-1:05pm  – Log in and get ready for an interesting and informative virtual event!

1:05 – 1:15pm  – Welcome: Tara Khani, Business Development Manager, SimuTech Group

1:15 – 1:30pm  – Introduction

1:30 – 2:30pm  – Rolf Orsagh, Manager of Testing Services, SimuTech Group

    • Steam Turbine

2:30-2:45pm  – Break, Entertainment videos

2:45 – 3:45pm  – James Burger, Mechanical Engineering Lead, MDS Aero

    • Rotor Dynamics

3:45 – 4:45pm  - Ian Whenham, Senior CFD Engineering Analyst, SimuTech Group

    • CFD application: 1D, 3D Turbo Tools

4:45 – 5:00pm – Closing remarks




Rolf Orsagh

Manager of Testing Services, SimuTech Group

Rolf Orsagh has over 20 years’ experience in structural testing and project management. His testing experience includes experimental modal analysis, operating deflection shape analysis, strain measurements, radio telemetry and Campbell testing. Rolf has extensive experience in industries including aerospace, power generation, industrial equipment, and turbomachinery. Rolf’s recent work includes: 

  • A ground vibration test on a C-130
  • Wind turbine power performance and loads test
  • Strain measurements on a forging press
  • A wind turbine failure investigation

Rolf received a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1999) from Rochester Institute of Technology with his thesis on “Experimental Investigation of Electromechanical Surface Damping Treatments.” He also received a B.S. in physics from GuilfordCollege (1989). Rolf has published over 30 technical papers in the areas of vibration control, condition-based maintenance, and tribology.  

Presentation Topic: Steam Turbine

Rolf will present a test procedure for measuring the natural frequencies of a turbine blade in an operating steam turbine. The procedure includes strain gauge installation, radio telemetry, and calculation of a Campbell diagram.



James Burger

Mechanical Engineer, MDS Aero Support Corporation

Over James’s 10 years at MDS, he has built a personal brand of high performance.  His forte is problem solving in the indeterminate non-linear regime and frequently pushes the art of the possible through his mastery of mathematics and modelling.  During his tenure at MDS, James has developed systems for precision engine thrust measurement, high temperature compressible flow, and high-speed mechanical power transmission.  He is the go-to for structural modelling through Finite Element Methods.  James shares his passion for engineering with his colleagues through active mentorship. James holds a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious University of Waterloo, and is a licensed member of Professional Engineers Ontario.  When he is not pushing the envelope of the built environment, James enjoys time with his family including his two young children and is an avid cyclist.

Presentation Topic: Introduction to Rotordynamics

James will present RotorDynamics. Understanding the dynamic behavior of rotating machinery (RotorDynamics) is of the utmost importance when operating at high speeds, or for long term continuous operation.  When supplying driveline style test systems, MDS ensures proper integration between the test articles and the test facility equipment. 

Lateral vibrations are easily monitored by accelerometers of proximitors through a typical vibration monitoring package.  Torsional vibrations are not easily detected.  Measuring the varying angle of twist of the overall shaft string is incredibly difficult and usually requires modification of the driveline itself.  Most torsional vibration problems are discovered when the shafts themselves fail due to high cycle fatigue.

This session starts off with the basics of natural frequencies and forced vibrations, then applies these theories to rotating shafts and equipment.  Design and mitigation strategies are discussed for both torsional and lateral vibrations.

While the primary focus of equipment manufacturers are the component lateral critical speeds, it is often required to update these analyses considering the impact of the remainder of the system and analyze the system as a whole.  Torsional critical speeds however cannot be evaluated in isolation, therefore for each driveline configuration the entire shaft string must be analyzed to determine the system natural frequencies and critical speeds.



Ian Whenham

Senior CFD Engineering Analyst, SimuTech Group


Ian is a Senior CFD Analyst at SimuTech Group’s Toronto office. He graduated with an M.Eng in Mathematical Engineering from the University of Leeds in England, and has 20 years of CFD experience. Previously, Ian worked for Rolls Royce North America developing aerodynamic simulations for centrifugal compressor stages, then researching the fluid mechanics and next generation combustors in power generation turbines. While working at Rolls Royce he was listed as a co-inventor for a Patent Application. Currently, Ian manages CFD consulting projects and provides technical support and mentoring services in CFD applications for Ansys Fluent, CFX and Polyflow.

Presentation Topic: CFD application: 1D, 3D Turbo Tools

Ian will present an overview of the aerodynamic design of turbomachinery components. He will then give a demonstration of the Ansys suite of turbomachinery design tools including 1-D sizing, 3-D Geometry, meshing and CFD.


Event Organizers:

Tara Khani

Business Development Manager, SimuTech Group

Main Point of Contact

Tara is business development manager at SimuTech Group, Ontario Office. She graduated from Concordia University’s Master of Applied Science program. She is a trusted advisor who has helped SimuTech clients/business partners gain insight to improve product efficiency, reliability and performance using Ansys and Rocky DEM Engineering Simulation Software. She has helped business leaders and engineers to deliver a simulation solution that has saved real time and real dollars.

Szymon Buhajczuk, P.Eng., MASc

Engineering Manager, SimuTech Group

Szymon is an Engineering Manager at SimuTech Group’s Toronto, Ontario office.  He graduated from Ryerson University’s Master of Applied Science program, specializing in Aerospace Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).  His current duties include managing one of the Toronto engineering teams as well as performing analysis in the fields of CFD and Fluid Structure Interaction. This includes consulting services projects and technical support done on the ANSYS CFX, FLUENT, AIM and IcePak line of products.  In his personal time Szymon pursues hobbies in animation, visual effects, and development of Virtual Reality experiences.

Dr. Gary Elfstrom

Vice President, Aiolos Engineering Corp
Adjunct Professor, Automotive Center of Excellence,
Ontario Tech University

Gary Elfstrom is the Vice President of Aiolos Engineering in Toronto and has a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from UBC and a PhD in Aeronautical Engineering from Imperial College in the UK.  He has a long track record of success in leveraging Wind Tunnel testing systems for Aerodynamic R&D.  His work as an Adjunct Professor at Ontario Tech University ensures that the ACE Wind Tunnel is backed by his industry and academic experience.

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