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Product News

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  • Transient Analysis - Unbalanced forces

    12 March 2015

    Developing an understanding of the hydraulic forces acting on pipe anchor points during pressure surges is now easily achieved in WATHAM Version 11.

    Doing an "unbalanced force" surge trace at a node is all it takes to graph theses forces.  Results are presented as the overall force magnitude, plus its component vectors in the x,y and z direections.

  • Calculating pipe celerity values

    12 March 2015

    Version 11 calculates pipe celerity values for you, when you use Standard pipes from the Pipe Library.

    Each nominal pipe size in the Pipe Library uses its material properties and physical dimensions to calculate the celerity for three pipe restraint conditions:

    • fully constrained;
    • fixed only at one end; and
    • expansion joints throughout.

    The laying condition ("buried at cover", "lying on the surface", "follows plant isometrics" etc.) set for an individual pipe, specifies the pipe's restraint conditions. In this way, each pipe's celerity is calculated by the software when a Standard pipe is used.

  • Safe working head

    12 March 2015

    Sometimes transient analysis software is used to see if the pressure surges are so large that they burst pipes and fittings.  Version 11 no longer demands that the safe working head remains a piece of hidden knowledge in the designer's head.  Now the safe working head envelope appears on hydraulic grade lines.

    This simple yet essential feature, is made possible by the new Pipe Library, with each pipe class having a known maximum allowable working head.

  • Modelling fluids other than water

    12 March 2015

    Yes we often call it water-hammer, yet WATHAM is not limited to analysing transients in systems carrying water.

    WATHAM can simulate the transient behaviour of most isotropic-Newtonian fluids provided their behaviour can be adequately defined by constant parameters of:

    • kinematic viscosity;
    • density;
    • bulk modulus; and
    • vapour pressure.
  • Modifying pipe friction

    12 March 2015

    Transient simulations involving a pump running up to a particular speed, or a valve opening to a defined position, now reach terminal hydraulic conditions that match those predicted by steady-state simulation.  Version 11 achieves this outcome by more accurately assessing each pipe's Darcy friction factor during transient simulations.

  • Setting the transient calculation interval

    12 March 2015

    Previous versions required users to manually select a suitable transient calculation interval.  The software would then warn users at run time if their choice was inaccurate.  Version 11 still works that way, yet it provides the ability in the editor to let the software calculate the required transient calculation interval.

    We recommend letting the software compute the calculation interval and then manually rounding the interval yourself to a convenient value.

  • Death of the SPR file

    12 March 2015

    The surge protection (.SPR) file served a noble purpose while HCP Software enhanced the WATHAM editing tools from a text-only-tool into the world of graphical mapping.  We didn't want to break anything in our existing data structures while we started mapping things like air valves and surge vessels.  As a result the separate .SPR was born.  Unfortunately experienced WATHAM users would have seen that the SPR file caused issues with keeping surge trace requests synchronised with the addition and deletion of assets in the underlying model.

    Version 11 resolves that issue.  All surge protection data is now embedded in the primary .WDF database and its companion .WDT recovery file. All old datasets with a .SPR file will have their data automatically upgraded when you save the model in the new data format.  A job's .SPR file will be kept for archival purposes and will be annotated as redundant.

  • Simulating transients in tiny systems

    12 March 2015

    WATHAM has been used for decades to model pipelines from a few kilometres to hundreds of kilometres long.  Including very short pipes, perhaps only one or two metres long, in long pipeline models required small calculation intervals such as one thousandth of a second.

    Recently a client asked for help to simulate the transients in a very short system. The whole system was only tens of metres long with the shortest pipes being fractions of a metre. Modelling this system required WATHAM to use calculation intervals as small as one hundred thousandth of a second. Version 11 allows for very small systems. In this particular client's case, WATHAM provided results that correlated strongly with actual field measurements.

    If you need to model pressure surges in treatment plant modules which are typically quite short - WATHAM Version 11 is well suited to the task.

  • User Manual

    12 March 2015

    The new user manual is a PDF document.  You still find and launch the user manual from the Help - Contents menu.

    Changing to PDF allows users to print parts or all of the manual.  Plus Adobe's PDF Reader comes with in-built search functions.

    Navigating through the manual can be done either through the table of contents, or by showing the Adobe Reader's Navigation Pane.  Each subject heading in the document has a bookmark that can be clicked in the Navigation Pane.

  • Handling Program Exceptions

    12 March 2015

    Unexpectedly a novice users crashes a piece of software.  Their much cherished edits of the last 45 minutes are lost.  Their emotional state for a few moments is %^?#?%!3# (unspeakable)!

    Will you still be able to crash Version 11?  Sadly yes - users are still human and complicated software is likely to be imperfect somewhere in some circumstances.

    Will you lose your data due to a Version 11 crash?  No - hooray!  Version 11 includes exception handling functions that do two things:

    1. Optionally allow the software to automatically send an email to HCP Software with attachments that describe the problem and the data that triggered the issue.  We encourage you to let the software generate and send these emails as way of conveniently allowing us to improve the software; and
    2. Save your data before the software shuts down.  If a crash occurs and you are not given a chance to save your data, the data was previously saved and remained unchanged before the crash.
  • The editor has grown a "tree"

    12 March 2015

    Many software applications and websites use a tree, which users can expand and collapse to suit their navigation requirements.  Trees as so popular that we decided it was time to grow a tree of our own.  The user interface for our graphical editor is now split into a left and right window.  The left window contains a tree used for various navigation, display and editing tasks.  For example, controlling the display of mapping backgrounds, setting the development stage to be simulated, or editing entries in the pipe library.

    We are likely to expand the use of the tree.  Tabs currently used to edit different global, sub-system and protection data tables are each likely to be migrated into a branch on a future data-tables tree.   Why is this a good trend?  We believe trees provide an interface that is more intuitively understood than buttons on a toolbar.

  • Version 11 builds its own GIS

    12 March 2015

    Have you noticed the trend of CAD systems growing in simulation capability over recent years?  HCP Software products commenced their lives decades ago as simulation tools.  Our development path has seen the addition of CAD and mapping functions to our simulation capabilities.  Now we have evolved into an era of adding relevant GIS features to our CAD and simulation capabilities.

    Which GIS features are relevant to software that simulates piped infrastructure carrying fluids?  We don't need to cater for generic attributes and their spatial distribution.  Attributes relating to land elevation, land development and land use defining how much water is consumed and where it is consumed are relevant GIS information.

    Version 11 gives you the ability to import land contours and cadastral property boundaries as Shapefiles with intelligent values associated to each shape.  Version 11 also provides the ability to import water meter attributes from a city/town's revenue billing system, either as Shapefiles or comma separated text. Once imported, these spatial entities (contour, property polygon or water meter) are stored in a Topography Reference File for rapid processing by one or more models.  The Topography Reference File can have new data added to it, or the new data can replace the existing contents.  The Topography Reference File becomes your modelling project's customised, highly responsive GIS.

  • A smart pipe library

    12 March 2015

    Every business has one.  A faithful tool that has reached the end of its shelf life.  Ours was called the PIPE.REF pipe reference file.  Perhaps we let it hang around way beyond its useful shelf life.  Open format text files just can't handle today's requirements.

    Version 11 brings in a much more intelligent replacement tool, the PIPE.BPR pipe library.  The new pipe library includes the concept of "materials".  It even understands several common pipe materials and their physical properties such as Young's Modulus and Poisson Ratio.

    Pipe classes are defined within various pipe materials.  Each pipe class allows its maximum allowable working head to be specified.

    You can define multiple pipe products, being nominal diameter sizes, supplied by pipe manufacturers within a pipe class.  You can define the external diameter, wall thickness and any liner thickness.  Given the physical dimensions of a pipe product and its material's physical properties, the software calculates the pipe celerity values.  Three different celerity values are provided to cater for the various pipe restraint conditions.

    The software reads existing legacy PIPE.REF files and does its best to create a new PIPE.BPR library containing each pipe size found in the original PIPE.REF file.  Users need to complete this conversion by adding information about pipe materials and pipe dimensions such as wall thickness.  This conversion is highly beneficial, however is not trivial.  Please contact us if you need help when upgrading your models.

    The pipe library is editted and validated using a new set of forms built into the software.

  • Importing GIS Shapefiles

    12 March 2015

    HCP Software has talked to GIS software teams, water utility asset managers and engineering project teams over several years.  From these discussions we came to the conclusion that ESRI's Shapefile format is the most appropriate way of exchanging information between CAD, GIS and water system modelling environments.  Yes, GIS environments are extremely sophisticated and have a number of excellent ways of sharing GIS data - from GIS to GIS.

    We observed the strongest and most repeated data exchanges occurring between CAD and water network simulation environments.  Most of these repeated exchanges occurred BEFORE a GIS was involved, in the case of PROPOSED infrastructure.  This left a less frequent export from GIS environments of the EXISTING infrastructure into the network simulation world.  Even in this case, we found that CAD tools used in the asset management function, typically had the required data.  Sitting as a highly available exchange format in the middle of each of these environments are Shapefiles.

    Consequently Version 11 has been built to import land property boundaries, land contours and water meter information in Shapefile format.  This decision is supported by the common availability of land information in Shapefile format from government land information services.

    Export of information from HCP Software products in Shapefile format has been available from previous versions.

    The pipe library is editted and validated using a new set of forms built into the software.

  • Smart ground levels

    12 March 2015

    Manually entering node ground levels and the elevation of bends along a pipe can be "a thing of the past" with Version 11.  Each model now has the ability to point to a Topography Reference File.  After you import land contours as Shapefiles with defined elevation values, the contours are stored in the Topography Reference File.

    The Topography Reference File provides a digital terrain model sitting below each node and pipe.  You only need to locate the nodes and pipes for their elevation to be known.  To help define how pipes relate to the ground surface, each pipe has a laying condition (such as "buried to cover", "buried to a graded profile" or "above ground on blocks", etc.

  • Smart cadastral mapping

    12 March 2015

    Availability of a cadastral background showing property boundaries and roads is invaluable for building network models in towns and cities.  The same is true of infrastructure layout on a mine site or industrial plant, only the data volume and sources change.  Version 11 moves beyond just defining the spatial location of things such as a residential lot, a site's cooling water towers, the operations building, etc.  Version 11 allows property boundaries (polygons) to inherit the land use of a water meter object located within the property boundary.

    It is not yet active in Version 11, however HCP Software has structured the Topography Reference File to allow for future land use developments and their forecast development dates to be automatically quantified as future water demands.

  • Assigning existing demands

    12 March 2015

    Armed with a set of property boundaries and water meters in the Topography Reference File, Version 11 is able to join each water meter to the pipe that serves the property.  After doing these joins across the whole model, Version 11 can automatically calculate the water demand at each node in the model.  Each type of land use found in water meter records can be assigned specific water use characteristics (known as "Demand Areas" in the software).

  • Pipe data ... less is best

    12 March 2015

    In Version 11, all pipes will be classified as either Standard or Custom .  The concept of a default pipe number has become redundant.  All old datasets defining default pipe types will have those pipes converted to Custom pipes.

    This change has allowed a significant simplification of forms used to edit pipes.  Standard pipes inherent their attributes such as internal diameter, roughness, celerity and maximum allowable working head from the Pipe Library.  Users provide all the attributes for Custom pipes.

    The concept of a "Current Pipe Type" has been added.  Each new pipe added will be created as the "Current Pipe Type".  It also allows existing pipes to be quickly made to become the "Current Pipe Type".

  • System Development Report

    12 March 2015

    Version 11 introduces the ability to assign a calendar date to each stage of development in the system.  We have always been able to stage the introduction of new infrastructure in the model over stages 0 (existing) through to 99.  This feature helped the system's design engineers but did little to help communicate the intended schedule of system development in terms of actual dates.  The System Development Report lists when each proposed asset is intended to be commissioned.  It is a report that can become the starting point for your project's capital investment plan.

  • Demand Growth Report

    12 March 2015

    A Demand Growth Report is a valuable tool when you are modelling water networks in a town/city over a number of years.  The Report shows the total number of each demand type added at each development stage.  It contains just the type of business data that a client and their stakeholders ask about when considering the relevance of growth forecasts.