One of the ways Rocky DEM, Inc. aims to set our software apart from other DEM (Discrete Element Modeling) codes is our ongoing commitment to clear, accurate, and complete technical documentation and user assistance. Since being released as a commercial code in 2011, the Rocky DEM team has focused on documenting the features and functionality of our software in ways our customers can understand and make use of quickly, and also provides this information in various formats for different learning styles and interests (Figure 1).
Figure 1: User Assistance Resources Provided with Rocky DEM: From the Top Left, Technical Manual, User (Help) Manual, Technical Articles, Workshops, and other Supporting Technical Documents
In this entry, we’ll cover several specific ways Rocky DEM supports you in your usage and understanding of the product. Which of the following Rocky resources have you referred to lately?
1: In-Program User Manual—300 Help Topics and Growing
The User Manual is Rocky’s largest and most complete resource. Provided in an easily-recognizable online-Help-type format (Figure 2), the Rocky DEM User Manual wraps procedural “how-to” topics, videos, conceptual “about” information, and best practices in one simple-to-search collection.
Figure 2: Rocky DEM Help Displaying a Conceptual Topic
Focused primarily on tasks accomplished through the Rocky DEM user interface, the content within the User Manual aims to answer your questions about using and making the most out of Rocky DEM. Topics are continually being added and updated as our writers strive to stay in-sync with the latest Rocky DEM releases.
As of this posting, the User Manual has more than 300 individual topics – and counting! – covering a wide range of features and functionality central to the work you do within Rocky DEM every day.
For more detail about accessing and using the Rocky DEM User Manual, see this article posted to the Customer Portal: Rocky User Manual – 300 Help Topics and Counting!
2: Self-Guided Training Workshops for Hands-On Experience
For those users who prefer to play around with the program instead of just reading about it, Rocky DEM offers a growing set of self-guided training Workshops. These individual training modules cover various topics that you can walk through at whatever time and pace you find convenient.
Each workshop includes the necessary input files – like equipment geometries or project files – and illustrated, step-by-step instructions for modifying them (Figure 3). With module topics ranging from CFD Coupling to Particle Breakage, there is bound to be a Workshop subject (or ten!) to interest you.
Figure 3: Rocky DEM Workshop 08 – Cone Crusher
For more detail about accessing and using the Rocky DEM Training Workshops, see this article posted to the Customer Portal: Gain Hands-On Experience with Rocky Workshops
3: In-Program Technical Manual for Advanced Users
If you are curious about contact forces or mulling over models, there’s a manual for that, too. The Rocky DEM Technical Manual documents the underlying mathematical equations upon which the simulation results are based. This is the resource to use if you want to know more about the various contact forces used in Rocky DEM, including the normal and tangential contact models available, for both spherical and non-spherical particles. Details of how the adhesion is taken into account are also available, including equations for all the adhesion models implemented within Rocky. It is also where you would learn about how the simulation timesteps are calculated (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Rocky DEM Technical Manual
4: Technical Documents Supporting CFD Coupling with ANSYS
In addition to the Technical Manual, the Rocky DEM team has also published several technical documents to help explain the underlying technologies and options built into our 1-way and 2-way CFD coupling abilities with ANSYS.
The CFD Best Practices document provided with the software (Figure 5) explains the current limitations to the coupling technology, as well as provides best practices for setting up your simulation on both the Rocky DEM and ANSYS sides. The Particle Drag Laws document explains the various Dilute Force and Dense Flow drag laws that you can set within your CFD Coupling simulation, while the Single Particle Non-Drag Forces document explains the various options for Lift and Virtual Mass Forces, and Fluid Torque.
Figure 5: Technical Document on CFD Best Practices
5: Ongoing Customer Support Articles
Our support staff is also busy updating the Rocky DEM Customer Support Portal with ongoing support articles highlighting new or especially useful features and providing additional examples for our customers (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Recent Customer Support Portal Article on the Particle Time Selection Feature
Learn more about the support articles posted to the Customer Portal here: New “News And Announcements” Customer Portal Section Helps Keep Rocky Users Informed
6: Dedicated Customer Support Staff
Last but certainly not least is our expert Rocky DEM customer support staff. These smart, friendly, and technically savvy individuals all hold masters degrees (or higher) in mechanical or chemical engineering and have years of experience with various CAE application tools. By working closely with those building the Rocky software, they are able to help get you answers to your software questions quickly and knowledgeably. From installation issues to feature questions, and bug reporting to software improvement suggestions, the Rocky DEM support team is dedicated to helping you make the most out of your Rocky DEM software experience.
Feeling Unsupported? Reference a Rocky Resource!
With all the great resources the Rocky DEM team provides, there is no excuse for feeling unsupported. In fact, more and more of our Rocky DEM customers report that one of the reasons they choose our software over competing codes is our superior documentation and customer support services. What Rocky resource have you referenced lately?
If you haven’t referred to any of our user assistance resources recently, we invite you to give them a try the next time you have a question or issue with the software. Then, tell us how you think we’re doing in the comments section below.
By Katie Aldrich