XPS coater (RCPE GmbH)

Cutting edge features of XPS – eXtended Particel Simulation

After the signature of the cooperation contract between AVL List, RCPE and CATRA last November 2015, the distribution of XPS, the new, coupled CFD-DEM software, has started. This integrated numerical simulation software perfectly combines the unique product specifications of the GPU-based DEM solver XPS, developed by RCPE GmbH, and the multiphase CFD solver of AVL FIRE™, developed by AVL List GmbH. XPS is thus able to predict not only the behavior of several Millions of solid particles, but also their interaction with surrounding fluid flow in arbitrary complex geometries.

The advantages of using the new, coupled software can be summarized as follows:

  • Being able to predict and understand fluid-granular flow is necessary for many industries, e.g. process, pharmaceutical, food, plastics, chemical or minerals.
  • The coupled software allows allows faster product and process development, because simulation is faster, safer and, moreover, cheaper than Experiments.
  • The computational expense for large amounts of particles (up to 80 Mio.) is low, thanks to the GPU-based massive parallel architecture


  • Optimized to drastically reduce the computational demand per time-step and the memory consumption
  • The two codes run on separated computing platforms (CPUs and GPUs): the computing performance of each code is not affected by the other
  • Reduced transferred data amount between the DEM and the CFD codes, which depends only on the number of the DEM-cells and not on the number of particles
  • Working on deskside environment: workstation with multi-CPU + single/double GPU
  • Modular software design: highly extend- and configurable

Software specifications:

  • Fully developed Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • Handling of complex geometries (STL)
  • Handling of many millions of particles (up to 80 Millions in single GPU)
  • Poly-disperse particles
  • Clumps (Multispheres), real-shape tablets
  • Heat Exchange
  • Spray modeling (coating, impregnation)
  • Validated DEM and CFD/DEM coupling


XPS-videos on vimeo

Take a look at the newest XPS simulation videos on our vimeo channel!

CATRA GmbH vimeo channel

Enjoy the stunning simulations of coupled particle-fluid flow with rotatimg stirrer and 1 Million DEM particles.

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RCPE/AVL/CATRA: New Software for the Pharmaceutical Industry


With the signing of the contract between the companies RCPE, AVL and CATRA the distribution of the new particle simulation software XPS has started. Combined with the 3D CFD software AVL FIRE® exciting applications open up, which are of particular interest for the pharmaceutical and food industries.

XPS was developed at the Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH (RCPE) in Graz. It allows an accurate and ultra-fast calculation of mixing processes for powdery media to an extent which was inconceivable until recently. While currently established computer programs for the simulation of several 100,000 particles reach their limits, XPS allows to simulate up to 50 million (!) particles at once and with appealing computing speeds. Thus, processes can be described in such great detail that reality and simulation seem to merge.

“The biggest challenge was to do justice to our own high demands on a realistic process mapping and short simulation times,” say the two RCPE CEOs Khinast and Klein. “We are delighted to have mastered this challenge and to bring the XPS software, a very powerful product, on the market.”

Other possible applications of XPS open up by the co-simulation with AVL FIRE®, a modern simulation tool for predictive calculation of gas and liquid flows, developed by AVL List GmbH. FIRE® / XPS computations illustrate the interaction between fluid flow on the one hand and solid particles on the other. Thus, for example, mixing and drying processes of particles considering the interaction with the surrounding air can be shown by simulation.

“By coupling AVL FIRE® and XPS the application fields of both products significantly expand. This results in the ability to satisfy existing customers even better and simultaneously expand into new markets“, says Maik Suffa, Product Manager for AVL FIRE®.

While the co-operation partners AVL and RCPE are responsible for the development and coupling of the two calculation tools, the company CATRA handles the software solutions’ worldwide distribution and first level support. It is particularly pleasing that after signing the contract, the first software licenses were directly delivered to an internationally renowned pharmaceutical Company.

CATRA increases its developments, machinery and equipment for the field of homeopathy and pharmaceuticals! 24 hours conditioning service throughout Austria (07/15)

The CATRA GmbH is a research and development company in the field of pharmaceutical process and product development. At its headquarter in Salzburg, the custom tailored systems are developed and manufactured. The branch office in Graz provides simulation-based methods for the optimization of products and processes in all areas and for all starting materials (powders, granules and liquid and gaseous substances).

We live and understand the modern homeopathy, which was developed by Samuel Hahnemann in the 18th century. Homeopathy, which follows the basic principles of its founder Hahnemann is called classical homeopathy. The treatment of patients is carried out with soft drugs that are administered in tiny concentrations. Homeopathy is a natural and therefore for the organism easily compatible alternative healing method, with which a variety of diseases can be treated successfully. In order to get a better understanding what homeopathy is about, one must know the homeopathic principles. Based on our knowledge of the Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia, our understanding of homeopathy, Schüssler mineral salts, globules,… we are able to develop and adapt our machines and systems accordingly.

CATRA machines and equipment are of the highest Austrian quality and they process a variety of different products for various applications. Our processing methods guarantee best taste and energetically best values. Whether it comes to homeopathic medicines in liquid or powdered state or globules, capsules, tablets or food, we have the right system. Our services range from manually operated small systems up to large fully automated complete line for powder, beads, granules, tablets, capsules, dragees, sweetener, spices, herbs, tea, coffee, blends, granola and cereal, baby food, veterinary medicine and animal feed. Our 24-hour service throughout Austria for service and repair is highly appreciated by our customers. All equipment and plant systems can be manufactured in accordance with GMP. When developing new systems or applications, we work in close cooperation with our customers. Therefore, we are able to realize exceptional, sophisticated solutions.

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CATRA developed a machine for the production of homeopathic high potencies (05/15)

CATRA has developed a machine for the production of homeopathic high potencies, completed construction and successfully put into operation. The requirements for such a potentizing machine „Potenziermaschine“ “are very complex. The system must ensure process reliability and run fully automatically 24 hours a day. In addition, the production of reliable and at the same time powerfully acting Korsakoff Potencies requires (single flask method for machine production of homeopathic potencies) a high consistency of stroke intensity and dilution ratio. The plant is operated by a PLC control, which monitors the production process and simultaneously documents the potentizing.

Potentizing machines were always used for the manufacture of drugs that could not be produced by hand due to their high dilution; it represents a subsidiary establishment of manual potentizing. In order to use a machine for the production of homeopathic potencies, it is essential to use the single flask method by Korsakoff. The change of bottles after each stage may be a technically very complicated and expensive process.

Small tolerances - big impact

The question of the proper name for high potencies produced by machine has been repeatedly discussed, but not their efficacy in therapy. Mathematically, the result of a dilution of a Korsakoff potentiation compared to the Hahnemann multiple flask method is identical, unless one assumes that 1/100 of drug solution adheres to the glass wall. In practice, however, small tolerances in the machine settings have a major impact on the degree of dilution of the drug. All discontinuously potentiating machines that apply the Korsakoff potentiation are often equated in terms of accuracy to the multiple flask method.

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CATRA attends the AVL Advanced Simulation Technologies International User Conference 2015 in Graz (06/15)

AVL 's global conference and exhibition on "Advanced Simulation Technologies" will be held from 23rd to 25th June 2015, Graz exhibition center. Our GM Georg Scharrer will also give a talk on the subject.

“Enhancements of a high-performance CFD-DEM coupled code towards heat and mass transfer in pharmaceutical application”

The AVL AST User Conference consists of an ideal balance between customer presentations, a mutual exchange of practical experiences with AVL's Advanced Simulation Technologies simulation and analysis software and the latest information about current simulation software developments.


10th Anniversary Human.technology.Styria (10/14)

The Styrian Human Technology Cluster was founded in Graz 10 years ago. There are currently about 130 companies which generate an annual turnover of about 2,9 billion Euros with roughly 14.800 employees. Meanwhile the industry has developed to one of the three main supporters of Styrian economic policy.

The Styrian Landesrat for Economics Dr. Christian Buchmann is accordingly pleased about the development of the Cluster. The human technology is a particular strength of Styrian economy and has developed dynamically during the last few years. The companies whose products are globally very successful have generated thousands of new jobs. Since its foundation 10 years ago, the Human technology Cluster has made a major contribution to a positive development by providing numerous services, raising awareness and supporting the company’s expansion into new markets. Therefore, the cluster will continuously play a crucial role for the development of the industry and Styria as attractive business location“.

CATRA was introduced as new Cluster member.


6th International Congress for Pharmaceutical Engineering (IKSE) (06/14)

CATRA participates in the 6th International Congress for Pharmaceutical Engineering (IKSE) from 16th – 17th June 2014 in Graz. On this occasion, we are going to present CATRA’s portfolio. This Pharmaceutical Engineering Congress represents the perfect event for us to exchange scientific information. Young as well as already established scientist from all over Europe take the opportunity to present their work in numerous meetings and poster presentations. They share new scientific findings and talk with colleagues about related issues.

Our topics will be: Health Care Engineering, Pharmaceutical Modelling & Simulation


Cooperation between AVL List GmbH and RCPE GmbH agreed on July 11th, 2014 in Graz (07/14)

Another focus in Graz will be the First Level Support and the distribution of the coupled RCPE Software XPS and AVL FIRE®. The coupling of these two programs was a joint project of RCPE and AVL List GmbH. XPS simulates the transport of solid particles while AVL FIRE® simulates liquid and gas flows. By coupling both programs, it is possible to visualize the interaction between flow on the one hand and solid particles on the other. Moreover, the interaction between particles and passing airflow can be perfectly demonstrated (such as, for example, a mixing process).

Photo above: AVL Head, Prof. Helmut List (right) and Prof. Karl Gruber (left), CEO CATRA GmbH at announcement of the cooperation between AVL – RCPE – CATRA in the field of software AVL FIRE®. © CATRA GmbH