How to model a Wurster Coater using EDEM and AcuSolve

For the pharmaceutical, food processing and agriculture industries, it is often required to introduce a coating to particulate materials.  This can be achieved with different types of equipment, from rotating drums to fluidized bed coaters.  

In this post you can find out how to model a Wurster coater by coupling Altair® EDEM™ with Altair® AcuSolve™.  Simulation and analysis in EDEM and AcuSolve allows the 2-phase coating process to be modelled, allowing the optimal design to be determined in order to efficiently and evenly coat the materials.

You can download the model files here

EDEM-AcuSolve coupling enables virtual analysis of the particle trajectories, mixing and coating in the Wurster coater in addition to analysis of the fluid flow properties. This enables designers and operators to determine the optimal operating conditions, saving time on physical testing and improving product quality.

Wurster coaters are mainly used in the food and pharmaceutical industries to coat tablets, powders, and pellets. The coating takes place by driving the target particle material cyclically through a draft tube with a continued stream of air while getting sprayed with the coating agent.

When a coater is well designed and operates under the correct conditions for the material that is being coated, a uniform and therefore higher quality film coating can be obtained, when compared to other coating processes. However, understanding how the process works and optimizing it is extremely challenging using physical testing alone, which is not only very expensive and time consuming, but also in some cases unachievable. The best and most efficient way to find the optimal design or operational parameters for a coater with a given material is through simulation.

By modelling the coater with EDEM and AcuSolve, you can test modifications to the coater design and operational parameters like:

You can see some of the analysis done for this case in the following video: Wurster Coating modeling using EDEM-AcuSolve

The file attached includes the EDEM files required to run this simulation in addition to the .hm file for the AcuSolve model. You will need to have EDEM 2023, Hypermesh 2023 and AcuSolve 2023 installed. To run, open the EDEM files in EDEM and the .hm file in Hypermesh CFD to run the simulation. In EDEM press on the icon from the top toolbar to start the Coupling Server so that AcuSolve can communicate with EDEM as shown in the figure below:

In Hypermesh CFD select the following options from the window displayed:

Then open the .hm model and once it has opened, go to Solution and press on the Run icon:

This icon will launch the window shown below to define some settings for your run. Set your Problem name and directory where you want it to be saved. Also make sure that your AcuRun path is set to the correct folder (by default it would be: C:\Program Files\Altair\2023\hwcfdsolvers\acusolve\win64\bin). Using Intel MPO for Parallel processing set the number of processors that you will be using and press run to get your coupled simulation started.

Once your simulation is complete, you can do some post-processing in the EDEM Analyst to focus on the pellets or in Hypermesh CFD to focus on the airflow.


If you are getting started with EDEM you can have a look at our EDEM tutorials: EDEM Tutorials

And our eLearning Courses: EDEM eLearning

If you want to learn more about coupling EDEM with Altair CFD tools you can watch our EDEM-Altair CFD eLearning here: EDEM - CFD eLearning

For more details on Tablet Coating processes with EDEM alone you can find that information here: Tablet coating optimization with EDEM

Finally if you want to look into how to do more advanced modelling, for example parameterizing an EDEM-AcuSolve model in HyperStudy check this blog: Parameterizing and EDEM-AcuSolve model in HyperStudy