Phoenix Business Journal: Why architecture matters

I’m an engineer. If pushed I will tell you that function should dominate design and that spending time and resources on aesthetics or styling is a waste of money. But a little voice in my head would be screaming “No! Wrong!” because there is value in the visual beauty of something. Nowhere is that truer than in architecture

Phoenix Business Journal: Developing a product in a global market

Everyone has adjusted to the fact that these days products are manufactured and sold globally. What many companies have not accepted, is that fact that the product development process is also global. If you don’t accept that and adjust, your competition will. “Developing a product in a global market” goes over the basics to successfully leveraging global resources to develop new products.

Phoenix Business Journal: Using small amounts of capital to make a big difference with microloans

Ten years ago PADT, deposited $1,000 into an online service called Kiva. Kiva makes small loans to people all around the world.  We just made our 100’th investment, bringing us to $7,900 lent to different businesses in 40 different countries around the world. Take a look at “Using small amounts of capital to make a big difference with microloans” to learn more about how you or your company can make a real difference in people’s lives.

Overset Meshing in ANSYS Fluent 18.0

One of the tough challenges in creating meshes for CFD simulations is the requirement to create a mesh that works with very different geometry. With Overset meshing you can create the ideal mesh for each piece of geometry in your model, and let them overlap where they touch and the program handles the calculations at those boundaries. All of this is handled simply in the ANSYS Workbench interface and then combined in ANSYS FLUENT.

PADT-ANSYS-Fluent-Overset-Meshing-2017_07_05-1

Phoenix Business Journal: It’s time to take control of your newsfeed, leverage RSS feeds

It is hard to keep up with all the news you need to know, and easy to fall into the trap of picking one online news source. But there is an answer, subscribing to RSS feeds is how I get the headlines from a dozen different sources, all in one place.  I go over the ins and outs of this technology in “It’s time to take control of your newsfeed, leverage RSS feeds

Phoenix Business Journal: Five 3-D printing breakthroughs everyone needs to know about

The world of 3-D printing is changing fast. New materials are announced and new systems are proposed almost every month. And as with any fast-growing technology, there is a lot of hype. When something is announced it will get a lot of press and attention, but what do you really need to know to follow the industry? In “Five 3-D printing breakthroughs everyone needs to know about” I take a look at the changes that should have the most impact on product development.

PADT makes 100th Microloan through Kiva over 10 years

Today PADT hit a bit of a milestone, we gave out our 100th microloan over the past 10 years, to a guy named Roger Yester who makes adobe bricks in Peru.  Microloans are small loans, created by pooling bite-sized amounts of money from many people, given to individuals or small groups to help them with their business. It may be to buy raw materials to fulfil an order, as is the case with our 100th loan, or to buy inventory for a small store they operate out of stall in the local village.  The movement started as an alternative to high interest rate loans from predatory lenders and has grown as a way to fund people all over the world from every economic level.

We put $1000 into Kiva back in June of 2007, ten years ago.  (I like round numbers).  We added another $500 a few years later and have been reinvesting that same capital over and over again since.  This re-use of funds has lead to $7,900 lent across 100 loans. We have only had two defaults and have donated $935 to Kiva to cover overhead during that time.

The loans have gone to 50 different types of enterprises, mostly agricultural. We have helped buy breeding pigs and chickens in several countries, funded a new motorcycle for a taxi service in Cambodia, and backed a furniture maker in Mongolia.  Over the years PADT’s investments have supported 5 different beauty salons in Vietnam, Tanzania, Nigeria, Peru, and Jordan.  Our most common investment is in clothing sales with 8 different entrepreneurs backed for that industry.

We have even given loans to help families send their daughters to secondary school.

You can see some of our key loans and more statistics at:www.kiva.org/lender/padtinc.

If you think this sounds like something you, your family, or your company might like to do, sign up through this link and they add $25 to our loan pool when you make your first loan: www.kiva.org/lender/padtinc. 

 

 

Getting to Know PADT: Flownex Sales and Support

This is the second installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

The PADT sales and support team focused on simulation solutions is best known for our work with the full ANSYS product suite.  What a lot of people don’t know is that we also represent a fantastic simulation tool called Flownex. Flownex is a system level 1-D program that is designed from the ground up to model thermal-fluid systems.

What does Flownex Do?

Flownex Simulation Environment is an interactive software program that allows users to model systems to understand how fluids (gas and/or liquid) flow and how heat is transferred in that same system due to that flow.  the way it works is you create a network of components that are connected together as a system.  The heat and fluid transfer within and between each node is calculated over time, giving a very accurate, and fast,  representation of the system’s behavior.

As a system simulation tool, it is fast, it is easy to build and change, and it runs in real time or even faster.  This allows users to drive the design of their entire system through simulation.

Need to know what size pump you need, use Flownex.  Want to know if you heat exchanger is exchanging enough heat for every situation, use Flownex.  Tasked with making sure your nuclear reactor will stay cool in all operating conditions, use Flownex.   Making sure you have optimized the performance of your combustion nozzles, use Flownex.  Time to design your turbine engine cooling network, use Flownex. Required to verify that your mine ventilation and fire suppression system will work, use Flownex. The applications go on and on.

Why is Flownex so Much Better than other System Thermal-Fluid Modeling Solutions?

There are a lot of solutions for modeling thermal-fluid systems. We have found that the vast majority of companies use simple spreadsheets or home-grown tools. There are also a lot of commercial solutions out there. Flownex stands out for five key reasons:

  1. Breadth and depth of capability
    Flownex boasts components, the objects you link together in your network, that spread across physics and applications.  Whereas most tools will focus on one industry, Flownex is a general purpose tool that supports far more situations.  For depth they have taken the time over the years to not just have simple models.  Each component has sophisticated equations that govern its behavior and user defined parameters that allow for very accurate modeling.
  2. Developed by hard core users
    Flownex started life as an internal code to support consulting engineers. Experienced engineering software programmers worked with those consultants day-in and day-out to develop the tools that were needed to solve real world problems.  This is the reason why when users ask “What I really need to do to solve my problem is such-and-such, can Flownex do that?” we can usually answer “Yes, and here are the options to make it even more accurate.”
  3. Customization and Integration
    As powerful and in-depth as Flownex is, there is no way to capture every situation for every user.  Nor does the program do everything. That is why it is so open and so easy to customize and integrate. As an example, may customers have very specific thermal-pressure-velocity models that they use for their specific components. Models that they developed after years if not decades of testing. Not a problem, that behavior can be easily added to Flownex.  If a customer even has their own software or a 3rd party tool they need to use, it is pretty easy to integrate it right into your Flownex system model.Very common tools are already integrated. The most common connection is Matlab/Simulink.  At PADT we often connect Excel models from customers into our Systems  for consulting.  It is also integrated into ANSYS Mechanical.
  4. Nuclear Quality Standards
    Flownex came in to its own as a tool used to model the fluid system in and around Nuclear Reactors.  So it had to meet very rigorous quality standards, if not the most stringent they are pretty close. This forced to tool to be very robust, accurate, and well documented. And the rest of us can take advantage of that intense quality requirement to meet and exceed the needs of pretty much every industry.  We can tell you after using it for our own consulting projects and after talking to other users, this code is solid.
  5. Ease of Use
    Some people will read the advantages above and think that this is fantastic, but that much capability and flexibility must make it difficult to use. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Maybe its because the most demanding users are down the hallway and can come and harangue the developers. Or it could be that their initial development goal of keeping ease of use without giving up on functionality was actually followed.  Regardless of why, this simulation tool is amazingly simple and intuitive.  From building the model to reviewing results to customization, everything is easy to learn, remember, and user.  To be honest, it is actually fun to use. Not something a lot of simulation engineers say.

Why does buying and getting support from PADT for Flownex make a Difference?

The answer to this question is fairly simple: PADT’ simulation team is made up of very experienced users who have to apply this technology to our own internal projects as well as to consulting jobs.  We know this tool and we also work closely with the developers at Flownex.  As with our ANSYS products, we don’t just work on knowing how to use the tool, we put time in to understand the theory behind everything as well as the practical real world industry application.

When you call for support, odds are the engineer who answers is actually suing Flownex on a customer’s system.  We also have the infrastructure and size in place to make sure we have the resources to provide that support.  Investing in a new simulation tool can generate needs for training, customization, and integration; not to mention traditional technical support. PADT partners with our customers to make sure they get the greatest value form their simulation software investment.

              

Reach out to Give it a Try or Learn More

Our team is ready and waiting to answer your questihttp://www.flownex.com/flownex-demoons or provide you with a demonstration of this fantastic tool. .  You can email us at info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 480.813.4884 or 1-800-293-PADT.

Still want to learn more? Here are some links to more information:

 

  

Aerospace Summit, Additive Manufacturing Peer Group, and Industry-Education Partnership – A Three Event, Three State Hat Trick

Sometimes everything happens at once.  This June 22nd was one of those days.  Three key events were scheduled for the same time in three different states and we needed to be at all of them. So everyone stepped up and pulled it off, and hopefully some of you reading this were at one of these fantastic events.  Combined they are a great example of PADT’s commitment to the local technology ecosystem, showing how we create true win-win partnerships across organizations and geographies.   Since the beginning we wanted to be more than just a re-seller or just consultants, and this Thursday was a chance to show our commitment to doing just that.

Albuquerque: New Mexico Technology Council 3D Printing Peer Group Kickoff

Everyone talks about how they thing we should all work together, but there never seems to be someone who is willing to pull it all together. That is how the additive manufacturing committee in New Mexico was until the New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC) stepped up to host a peer group around 3D Printing.  Even though it was a record 103f in Albuquerque, 35 brave 3D Printing enthusiasts ventured out into the heat and joined us at Rio Bravo Brewing to get the ball rolling on creating a cooperative community.  We started with an introduction from NMTC, followed by an overview of what we want to achieve with the group. Our goals are:

  1. Create stronger cooperation between companies, schools, and individuals involved in 3D Printing in New Mexico
  2. Foster cooperation between organizations to increase the benefits of 3D Printing to New Mexico
  3. Make a contribution to New Mexico STEM education in the area of 3D Printing

To make this happen we will meet once a quarter, be guided by a steering committee, and grow our broad membership.  Anyone with any involvement in Additive Manufacturing in the state is welcome to join in person or just be part of the on-line discussion.

Then came the best part, where we went around the room and shared our names, orginization, and what we did in the world of 3D Printing.  What a fantastic group.  From a K-12 educator to key researchers at the labs, we had every industry and interest representing. What a great start.

Here are the slides from that part of the presentation:

NMTC-PADT-3D-Printing-Peer-Group-2017_06_22

Once that was done PADT’s Rey Chu gave a presentation where it went over the most important developments in Additive Manufacturing over the last year or so.  He talked about the three new technologies that are making an impact, new materials, and what is happening business wise.  Check out his slides to learn more:

NMTC-PADT-New-3D-Printing-2017_06_22

After a question and answer period we had some great conversations in small groups, which was the most valuable part.

If you want to learn more, please reach out to info@padtinc.com and we will add you to the email list where we will plan and execute future activities.  We are also looking for people to be on the steering committee and locations for our next couple of meetings. Share this with as many people as you can in New Mexico so that next event can be even better!

Denver: MSU Advance Manufacturing & Engineering Sciences Building Opening

Meanwhile, in Denver it was raining.  In spite of that,  supporters of educating the next generation of manufacturers and engineers gathered for the opening of the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Sciences Building at Metropolitan State University.  This 142,000 sqft multi-disciplinary facility is located in the heart of downtown Denver and will house classes, labs, and local companies.  PADT was there to not only celebrate the whole facility, but we were especially excited about the new 3D Printing lab that is being funded by a $1 million gift from Lockheed Martin.  A nice new Stratasys Fortus 900 is the centerpiece of the facility.  It will be a while before the lab itself is done, so watch for an invite to the grand opening.  While we wait we are working with MSU, Lockheed Martin, Stratasys, and others to put a plan together to develop the curriculum for future classes and making sure that the engineers needed for this technology are available for the expected explosion of use of this technology.

Stratasys and PADT are proud to be partners of this fantastic effort along with many key companies in Colorado.  If you want to learn more about how we can help you build partnerships between industry and academia, please reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call.

Phoenix:  2017 Aerospace, Aviation, Defense + Manufacturing Conference

The 113f high in Phoenix really didn’t stop anyone from coming to the AADM conference. This annual event was at ASU SkySong in Phoenix and is sponsored by the AZ Tech Council, AZ Commerce Authority, and RevAZ.  PADT was proud to not only be a sponsor, but also have a booth, participate in the advanced manufacturing panel discussion, and do a short partner presentation about what we do for our Aerospace and Defense Customers.

Here is Rob’s presentation on PADT:

PADT-AeroConf-AZTC-2017

We had great conversations at our booth with existing customers, partners, and a few people that were new to us.  This is always one of the best events of the summer, and we look forward to next year.

If you want to know more about how PADT can help you in your Aerospace, Defense, and Manufacturing efforts, reach out and contact us.

Celebrating the Impact and Innovation of CEI, PADT’s Startup Home

In Phoenix, just North of the airport on a record hot day of 119f, about 30 people gathered into a conference room to celebrate a place that has become a bright success in the region’s startup community. The Center For Entrepreneurial Innovations, or CEI, held their first ever Innovation and Impact Celebration.  This gathering of sponsors, clients, mentors, and staff of CEI highlighted the success that this outstanding incubator has enjoyed since its grand opening in 2013.

Some of the key numbers shared were:

  • 247 high paying jobs created by CEI clients
  • $28,000,000 raised by CEI clients in investments, grants, and awards
  • $69,000,000 in revenue generating by CEI clients
  • 3,240 hours given in mentoring and consulting to CEI clients

To celebrate this success, four awards were given out.  PADT was honored to design and 3D Print these awards (read more in a separate post here) and be there to hear the great stories from the winners about how CEI has been such a great resource.

  • Paraffin International won for Graduate of the Year
  • Beacon Biomedical was awarded Client of the Year
  • Tom Lagerhausen & Tommy Andrews were recognized as Mentors of the Year
  • The City of Phoenix received Sponsor of the Year

As a tenant at CEI, PADT gets to see the inner workings that produce such fantastic numbers.  In fact, we decided to put our focus on startups at CEI because of the quality of people, programs, and support that they offer.  Back in April of 2015, we opened PADT StartUpLabs as a place to host our outreach to the community and as a way to offer affordable 3D Printing to startups. We also host seminars and meetings there because it is just a great facility.

The primary reason that we partnered with them was a little more blunt. We saw that the companies they incubated succeeded.  When many others talk the talk of startup support, CEI has been busy walking the walk.  We see it almost every day, and it is pretty unique how well they do.  Huge fans, and great to see the key success stories and contributors being recognized!

Check out this recent video to learn a bit more about how they do it:

Check it out, and get involved.  If you are a startup, look at becoming a client.  Or maybe you can volunteer to help in some way.  But what they need the most if strong partners and sponsors.   PADT has never regretted our partnership and it has  been a great win-win experience.  Stop talking about making the Phoenix area startup ecosystem better, and step up and join CEI in making it happen.

 

 

 

3D Printing Example: CEI Awards – Using color, multiple methods, and clever CAD

One of the fun things I get to do is design and print cool things to share what you can do with 3D Printing.  This has extended to making awards for organizations that PADT supports like the Arizona Technology Council, The Arizona SciTech Festival, and AZBio.  Recently our favorite incubator asked us to design a custom award for their first Impact and Innovation Celebration. The request was to incorporate the CEI logo:

Taking a 2D image and making it 3D can be a lot of fun, and in this case it showcased some cool things you can do with 3D CAD and then 3D Printing.  There were some special steps needed to get this one done so I thought I’d share them.

The basic concept was to take the initials, CEI, and create a block that can serve as base. Then extrude the orange line-circle geometry as the key visual object.  But the thing that sets the logo apart from most, is the use of the succulent plant, an agave I think, in the logo.  So we definitely need a 3D agave on there.  The last element needed was the actual award part, where the name and award being given could be listed.

To get started I needed to get the logo into the CAD system I use, SolidEdge. Usually I convert a PDF into DXF in Adobe Illustrator. I then imported this into sketch planes. But in this case I only had a bitmap (PNG)  Fortunately you can paste that into a sketch plan as well, then just draw on top of it.  So I made three planes: Front facing and one rotated 45 deg and another -45 about the Z axis.  I then pasted the logo on to each of these centering the bottom center of the E on the global axis. This allows me to extrude and cut on each plan while keeping everything aligned

The base was made by extruding the initials from the +45/-56 planes and doing a Boolean intersect, This gives the letters from two views while creating a “3D-ness” That stands out.  The circle-line was then extruded on the front plane to cover the block created by the intersection.  It needed a “foundation” as well as a way to hold the letters together, so I just made a simple base.

That left the agave.  I thought about modeling it but nah… too much work.  So I went online and found a bunch of plants that people have made for video games and rendering.  Cool except the format was not STL, what we need for 3D Printing. So I downloaded some crazy rendering format.  Then I used a free online tool (thank you google, sorry I didn’t write down the one I used) that converts between 3D graphics files.  That took it to STL where I could read it into Meshlab, the open source tool for playing with this type of data. As usually with models made for graphics ,there was a lot of extra data and coordinate systems didn’t really translate right.  No problem, Meshlab makes it easy to select and delete objects.  I also scaled it from gigantic to the size I needed for the award.  Next step was to save that as STL and import that into SolidEdge so I could view it and position it properly on the award.

Last was the award part itself.  I played with a couple of ideas and just came up with a simple plaque that we could 3D print words on. i made it white and the “holder” blue to stand out. Then printed the award name and winner in bright colors using the text extrusion feature in SolidEdge.  When I need to get fancy, I’ll do the words and often a logo in Illustrator, export as DXF, then import as a sketch for extrusion. But in this case a nice simple Bold Arial font worked great.

So it was done, and I have to say looked pretty good.  So I asked our experts on 3D Printing if they had any suggestions.  Their one comment was “this is really cool, but its going to be expensive to print as one part.” Duh, I should have paid more attention in my own seminar on design for 3D Printing.  I had tall thin objects and bulky objects and they were all combined.  Lots of unneeded supports and flat surfaces at non-vertical or horizontal angles in the printer.  Bad stuff.

The solution was to design the parts so they could be printed separately and easily assembled.  The resulted in an STL for the base, for the circle-line, the frame, the agave, and the award plaque with simple features that would allow us to quickly glue it all together.  We also decided to print the base on FDM because it needed to be white and used the bulk of the material, and therefore cost. The rest was printed on a Stratasys Polyjet printer in color.

One more change worth noting was how to connect the crazy shapes of the agave needed some simple interface to the circle-line part.  So I created a simple cylinder that intersected the base of the agave.  In the printer we were able to combine the STL of the cylinder and the agave with two different colors.  A cylindrical cut in the orange part made assembly easy.

The results came out pretty nice, and the winners seemed to really like them.

The great thing about 3D Printing is the restraints it removes on making things.  You still have to plan it out to align with what the printers do well, but that doesn’t take a lot of effort and the results are great

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Phoenix Business Journal: ​3000 connections on LinkedIn: Celebrate or so what?

Reaching a high number of contacts on social media is one of those modern accomplishments that is not as simple as it appears. In “​3000 connections on LinkedIn: Celebrate or so what?” I talk about my reaching such a threshold, and then what that really means for business.  The connection you make, although superficial and weak, have impact.  In my opinion, it’s a good thing. Read it and see what you think.

The ANSYS Academic Program – The World’s Best Simulation Tools for Free or Discounted

Researchers and students at universities around the world are tackling difficult engineering and science problems, and they are turning to simulation more and more to get to understanding and solutions faster. Just like industry. And just like industry they are finding that ANSYS provides the most comprehensive and powerful solution for simulation. The ANSYS suite of tools deliver breadth and depth along with ease of use for every level of expertise, from Freshman to world-leading research professors. The problem in the past was that academia operates differently from industry, so getting to the right tools was a bit difficult from a lot of perspectives.

Now, with the ANSYS Academic program, barriers of price, licensing, and access are gone and ANSYS tools can provide the same benefits to college campuses that they do to businesses around the world.  And these are not stripped down tools, all of the functionality is there.

Students – Free

Yes, free.  Students can download ANSYS AIM Student or ANSYS Student under a twelve month license.  The only limitation is on problem size.  To make it easy, you can go here and download the package you need.  ANSYS AIM is a new user interface for structural, thermal, electromagnetic, and fluid flow simulation oriented towards the new or occasional user.  ANSYS Student is a size limited bundle of the full ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS CFD, ANSYS Autodyn, ANSYS SpaceClaim, and ANSYS DesignXplorer packages.

You can learn more by downloading this PDF.

That is pretty much it. If you need ANSYS for a class or just to learn how to use the most common simulation package in industry, download it for free.

Academic Institutions – Discounted Packages

If you need access to full problem sizes or you want to use ANSYS products for your research, there are several Academic Packages that offer multiple seats of full products at discounted prices. These products are grouped by application:

  • Structural-Fluid Dynamics Academic Products — Bundles that offer structural mechanics, explicit dynamics, fluid dynamics and thermal simulation capabilities. These bundles also include ANSYS Workbench, relevant CAD import tools, solid modeling and meshing, and High Performance Computing (HPC) capability.
  • Electronics Academic Products — Bundles that offer high-frequency, signal integrity, RF, microwave, millimeter-wave device and other electronic engineering simulation capabilities. These bundles include product such as ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS Q3D Extractor,ANSYS SIwave, ANSYS Maxwell, ANSYS Simplorer Advanced. The bundles also include HPC and import/connectivity to many common MCAD and ECAD tools.
  • Embedded Software Academic Products — Bundles of our SCADE products that offer a model-based development environment for embedded software.
  • Multiphysics Campus Solutions— Large task count bundles of Research & Teaching products from all three of the above categories intended for larger-scale deployment across a campus, or multiple campuses.

You can see what capabilities are included in each package by downloading the product feature table.  These are fully functional products with no limits on size.  What is different is how you are authorized to use the tool. The Academic licence restricts use to teaching and research. Because of this, ANSYS is able to provide academic product licenses at significantly reduced cost compared to the commercial licenses — which helps organizations around the globe to meet their academic budget requirements. Support is also included through the online academic resources like training as well as access to the ANSYS Customer Portal.

There are many options on price and bundling based upon need and other variables, so you will need to contact PADT or ANSYS to help sort it all out and find the right fit for your organization.

What does all this mean?  It means that every engineer graduating from their school of choice should enter the workforce knowing how to use ANSYS Products, something that employers value. It also means that researchers can now produce more valuable information in less time for less money because they leverage the power of ANSYS simulation.The barriers are down, as students and institutions, you just need to take advantage of it.

Silicon Desert Insider: 5 ways to implement sustainable tech to save your business money

Technology has a huge impact on many things, including making your business more profitable by reducing the energy you use.  In “5 ways to implement sustainable tech to save your business money” I give some suggestions on new, but proven technology that can do just that.

Figure it Out: Guest spot on podcast – 3D Printing, automation, AI, and the comming robot wars

I was honored to be asked to join Santari Minor and George Grombacher for episode 31 of their podcast: Figure it Out.  It was wide ranging and fun conversation that flowed across so many different and interesting topics, it was hard to stop.  We covered 3D printing, automation, artificial intelligence and the future of work. Made me think. Take a listen and maybe it will make you think.

You can listen at most podcast services, here are two locations:

Podbean  –  http://figureitout.podbean.com/e/figure-it-out-31-eric-miller/

Itunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/figure-it-out-31-eric-miller/id1190137632?i=1000386591054&mt=2

Google Play: https://play.google.com/music/m/Dhl7gsnwxma46ug7bzg6dd3a6tm?t=Figure_it_Out_31_Eric_Miller-Figure_it_Out 

Enjoy and hopefully it will start your own conversation.