Press Release: PADT Awarded U.S. Army Phase I SBIR Grant for Combustor Geometry Research Using 3D Printing, Simulation, and Product Development

We are pleased to announce that the US Army has awarded PADT a Phase I SBIR Grant to explore novel geometries for combustor cooling holes. This is our 15th SBIR/STTR win.

We are excited about this win because it is a project that combines Additive Manufacturing, CFD and Thermal Simulation, and Design in one project. And to make it even better, the work is being done in conjunction with our largest customer, Honeywell Aerospace.

We look forward to getting started on this first phase where we will explore options and then applying for a larger Phase II grant to conduct more thorough simulation then build and test the options we uncover in this phase.

Read more below. The official press release is here for HTML and here for PDF.

If you have any needs to explore new solutions or new geometries using Additive Manufacturing or applying advanced simulation to drive new and unique designs, please contact us at 480.813.4884 or info@padtinc.com.


PADT Awarded U.S. Army Phase I SBIR Grant for Combustor Geometry Research Using 3D Printing, Simulation, and Product Development

The Project Involves the Development of Sand-Plugging Resistant Metallic Combustor Liners

TEMPE, Ariz., August 15, 2019 ─ In recognition of its continued excellence and expertise in 3D printing, simulation, and product development, PADT announced today it has been awarded a $107,750 U.S. Army Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. With the support of Honeywell Aerospace, PADT’s research will focus on the development of gas turbine engine combustor liners that are resistant to being clogged with sand.  The purpose of this research is to reduce downtime and improve the readiness of the U.S. Army’s critical helicopters operating in remote locations where dirt and sand can enter their engines.  

“PADT has supported advanced research in a wide variety of fields which have centered around various applications of our services,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We’re especially proud of this award because it requires the use of our three main areas of expertise, 3D printing, simulation and product development. Our team is uniquely capable of combining these three disciplines to develop a novel solution to a problem that impacts the readiness of our armed forces.”

The challenge PADT will be solving is when helicopters are exposed to environments with high concentrations of dust, they can accumulate micro-particles in the engine that clog the metal liner of the engine’s combustor. Combustors are where fuel is burned to produce heat that powers the gas turbine engine. To cool the combustor, thousands of small holes are drilled in the wall, or liner, and cooling air is forced through them. If these holes become blocked, the combustor overheats and can be damaged.  Blockage can only be remedied by taking the engine apart to replace the combustor. These repairs cause long-term downtime and significantly reduce readiness of the Army’s fleets.

PADT will design various cooling hole geometries and simulate how susceptible they are to clogging using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation tools. Once the most-promising designs have been identified through simulation, sample coupons will be metal 3D printed and sent to a test facility to verify their effectiveness.  Additionally, PADT will experiment with ceramic coating processes on the test coupons to determine the best way to thermally protect the 3D printed geometries.

“When we developed new shapes for holes in the past, we had no way to make them using traditional manufacturing,” said Sina Ghods, principal investigator, PADT. “The application of metal additive manufacturing gives PADT an opportunity to create shapes we could never consider to solve a complex challenge for the U.S. Army. It also gives us a chance to demonstrate the innovation and growth of the 3D printing industry and its applications for harsh, real-world environments.”

Honeywell joined PADT to support this research because it is well aligned with the company’s Gas Turbine Engine products. The outcome of this research has the potential to significantly improve the performance of the company’s engines operating in regions with high dust concentrations.

This will be PADT’s 15th SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award since the company was founded in 1994. In August 2018, the company, in partnership with Arizona State University, was awarded a $127,000 STTR Phase I Grant from NASA to accelerate biomimicry research, the study of 3D printing objects that resemble strong and light structures found in nature such as honeycombs or bamboo.

To learn more about PADT and its advanced capabilities, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

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Talking Hydrogen Fuel Cell Blowers for Trucking at the Governor’s House

As we shared in our recent press release, PADT was invited to be one of nine companies presenting at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge. We happily spent the day at the Colorado Governor’s mansion talking and learning about how to make the road transportation of goods with large and small vehicles cleaner and more efficient. As one of nine companies presenting, PADT talked about our custom blower technology for hydrogen fuel cells.

We want to thank both the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) and the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) for hosting such an informative event. We were able to meet people from across the energy and learn about their needs, and give them an opportunity to learn more about PADT.

You can find their blog post here.

Here are some pictures describing how our day went.

The building and grounds at the Colorado Governor’s Mansion are truly beautiful. We spent most of the day in the carriage house in the garden… which I failed to get a picture of.

It was a packed day as can be seen from the agenda. And the list of sponsors was fantastic. We were able to talk with key industry visionaries for more efficient and cleaner commercial vehicle fleets.

One of my favorite things about the site were these very cool napkins they gave us. Nice seal. And, “Executive Residence” sounds so much classier than “the Gov’s House”

We spent most of our day in the green room where they gave us wifi, coffee, power, and a flat surface. So Rob and I set up a portable office. The three blowers we brought with us helped decorate the place.

We can’s share the full presentation, but we can discuss some key slides. They gave us 10 minutes to talk about our solution, then 10 for questions.

The problem is fairly simple. People designing stacks need custom blower solutions because of the hydrogen and the pressure/flow requirements on the air side of a hydrogen fuel cell.

PADT’s proven solution is to design custom blowers to meet very specific needs.

In the end, we just wanted to know that we are excited to see that Hydrogen fuel cells are seeing a resurgence, our blowers are perfect for most applications, and that we would love connections to people who need our solution.

When we were done we went inside the house. Room after room was stunning.

We gave a 2-minute short presentation with this great view behind us.

A great day where we met a lot of great people from around the country. Sadly, PADT didn’t win the competition. The truth is that the challenge was for new and disruptive technology and we talked about proven and enabling solutions. Useful to the sponsors, but not what they were looking for when handing out prizes.

Visiting Colorado in the summer is always a nice break for those of us from Phoenix. We hope to participate in this and related events in the future.

If you have any needs for air our hydrogen blowers for your fuel cell, or any complex engineering for your product, please contact us and we would love to learn how we can help.

History for the future: PADT seals time capsule as part of 25th-anniversary celebration

The past is a tricky thing to remember. When we started preparing for PADT’s 25th anniversary celebration we spent a lot of time thinking about the past, about our journey from an idea to the thriving business we are today. And one though kept coming back to us, “we really should have captured and stored more.”

We can’t change that past but we can preserve our history for the future with a Time Capsule. On July 1st of 2019, we took 49 items and crammed them into a sealed box that we embedded into the wall of PADT’s Tempe headquarters.

You can see a list of all the items at the bottom of this post. Some of the highlights are a copy of our different business card designs over the past 25 years, a collection of PADT logo’d shirts, bits and pieces from our SCA product, parts from various fuel cell blowers, samples of 3D Printed parts, and some old manuals. We also included a collection of tech from the past 25 years including four cell phones of various types.

The most interesting object we stored from our perspective was a binder with documents and images from the past 25 years. Here are some of the items in that binder that are interesting today:

A timeline of PADT Business Cards over the past 25 years. We did think they looked cool back then.
We didn’t take any early photos, but we do have pictures of most of our employee for almost every year since 2000.
Our first report to a customer was a stress analysis for a sprinkler valve housing.
Our staff took a look at the way things were in 1994 and in 2019. Technology, politics, entertainment, and news. A great look back at then and now.

It was a lot of fun gathering the items and thinking about the impact they all had on PADT over the years.

All of that stuff we wanted to save is piled on the cart. A lot of memories.

On Monday we crammed it all in and sealed it up. In 25 years, July 1, 2044, PADT employees, customers, and partners of the future will open it up to see what is inside. That is not too far into the future and with luck, many of us will be around to witness it.

PADT’s founders… 25 years older… Eric Miller, Ward Rand, and Rey Chu
Jeff expertly filled the box full
Co-Founder, Rey Chu puts in the first screw.
Ward Rand adds the second fastener.
Eric Miller tightens everything up.

We wonder what they will make of our past, some of which will be fifty years old by then. Will they laugh? Or scratch their head wondering what the heck a cell phone was? We can’t wait to find out.

Sealed and ready for the future

List of Items in PADT’s Time Capsule

1First official printed PADT Brochure
2Business Card designs - 1994 to present
3Service Partnership Guide - 2000 ver. 1
4Employee Handbook 2019
5Business Journal - Issue: March 1, 2019
6Eric's Honeywell Contractor Badge (2000) - Transition period from Allied Signal to Honeywell
7One of the early company polo shirts - Late 1990's
8PADT Baseball Jersey - 2011 Company Photo
92014 PADT 20th Anniversary t-shirt
1025th Anniversary paper "Swag Bag" - Pen (bamboo), Mousepad (retreaded tire), Sticky Pad, Anniversary t-shirt
11PADT Cap - our most popular swag item. Given to customers and employees started placing in photos of their world travels.
12Ruler giveaways - Clear acrylic from Gilbert office days (1990's) / White magnetic 6" from the mid-2010's
13YoYo - PADT's first swag item - distributed at the Ansys Worldwide User Conference
14Brass PADT logo used for Service Awards (mid-2000's)
1515th PADT Anniversary Cup
16PADT flash drive - 8 GB. Given to customers pre-loaded with files and also blank ones included in our New Hire Kit
17SCA 1200 Users Manual - 2012 rev 3
18SCA Pump Assembly
19SCA Impeller
20APDL Guide - written by the Tech Support Team (2nd Edition) 1st Edition was 2010
21Ansys 5.2 Complete Software Package - 1996
22Cathode air blower housing for fuel cell in municipal buses
23Mixed flow impeller for fuel cell in municipal buses
24Radial Impeller - cathode air blower for fuel cell powered aircraft application
25Roots Blower Rotor - cathode air delivery for a fuel cell
26Regenerative flow impeller - Hydrogen Recycle Blower for fuel cell car
27Fuel Cell Test Block circa 2003 while Rob Rowan was at ASM. History Unknown.
28OrthoSensor - knee replacement alignment sensor designed and developed by PADT
29The Spot - personal location and communication device designed by PADT, which talks directly to a satellite. Case Study Included.
30SLS model of Ward Rand's heel. Broken from ladder fall. (2001)
313D Printed Business Card
32FDM part - Roots Blower Housing - designed by Eric Miller. (1999)
33SLA part - Ryobi Weed Wacker spool (1997)
34Protoype Diffuser in a compressor - designed for the Air Force Research Lab
35PolyJet demo part - the introduction of water PolyJet using various materials printed simultaneously
36PolyJet employee name tag printed for 25th Anniversary event
37First 3D Metal printed part. We were the beta test. (2001)
38Pro-Engineer Manual (1997) - PADT's first CAD package
39Event photo posters made to commemorate PADT25 - originals are 24"x36", gallery framed and hung in office
403" Floppy Disk with Honeywell Ansys Thermal Model files (1996)
41CD Rom - Honeywell Impeller Stress & Vibration Analysis (2002)
42Materialise - Early version of software used to send parts to SLA Machine (1999'ish)
43Motorola i530 Nextel Flip Phone - iDEN's original Push-To-Talk walkie, speakerphone, voice dialing (2004)
44PADT's first Smart Phone - Blackberry 71001 / International with internet access (2005)
45Rey's Blackberry Curve 8310 (2007)
46An employee's old iPhone 6 (2014)
47Macintosh IIVX (Photo) - PADT’s original computer. It was used to create early brochures, design the PADT logo, write letters and reports, and ran our first accounting system for many years.
48Binder of documents
49Team Building Event t-shirts - 2014 & 2015

Press Release: 2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge Selects PADT to Showcase Fuel Cell Blower Technology

Last week we were pleased to learn that we were selected to present our fuel cell blower technology at the Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge in Denver, Colorado on July 10th. This is a great opportunity for us to share the solutions we developed for the military, automotive applications, and buses to the trucking industry. Many manufacturers of long-haul commercial trucks are looking at hybrid solutions that combine electrical drives, batteries, and hydrogen fuel cells to create zero-emission vehicles that do not require charging.

To learn more, take a look at the press release below and watch PADT’s news feed to see if we won against some pretty prestigious competition.

If you are interested in how PADT can help you solve your customer pump, blower, turbine, and fan needs, please contact us today.

Link to official press release here for html and here for PDF


2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge Selects PADT to Showcase Fuel Cell Blower Technology  

Major Automotive OEM’s, UTC Power and Several Government Organizations Have All Used Fuel Cell Blower Technology Developed by PADT

TEMPE, Ariz., June 27, 2019 ─ PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced it has been selected as a finalist and to present its innovative fuel cell blower technology at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge (CVCC) presented by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) and North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). The showcase event will be held on July 10, 2019, at the Governor’s Residence in Denver, Colorado. 

“As a company who’s a proud supporter and supplier to organizations involved in the green- and cleantech space, it’s an honor to be selected to present at this event,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We look forward to showcasing PADT’s solutions and demonstrating our history of excellence in the hydrogen fuel cell sector.”

PADT will be joined by event partners Toyota, Kenworth, Schneider, UPS, Xcel Energy, and Great Dane as well as trucking industry strategic investors, technology experts and industry environmental directors interested in technologies that can be deployed into their operations.  According to a press release from CCIA, program partners reviewed submissions, vetted applicants and ultimately selected eight finalists, including PADT, to present.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology has resurged in use in recent years and PADT remains one of the few companies with deep experience developing custom fuel cell accessory solutions for the transportation industry.

“The unique requirements of providing pressurized hydrogen and air to high-efficiency fuel-cells require custom solutions which operate at the proper pressure and flow, can deal with the safety issues presented by working with hydrogen, and operate with extremely high efficiency,” said Rob Rowan, director of engineering, PADT. “PADT is one of the few companies in the world with the experience and technical know-how to meet these needs.”

PADT has developed fuel cell blower technology solutions for a number of major automotive OEMs, UTC Power, and several government research organizations. The company’s fuel cell blower technology is still in use today by buses in Oakland, Calif., ten years after being installed.

For more information on PADT’s expertise in cleantech, please visit its alternative energy page here or contact us at 480.813.4884 or info@padtinc.com

About PADT

PADT is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.


Ten Suggestions for Automating Product Duty Cycle Testing

No product is perfect. Much of engineering is trying to determine when a part will fail in the field or when there are field failures, why it failed and how to fix it. Although simulation and engineering experience can make a huge difference, sometimes the best way to understand product robustness in the real world is through duty cycle testing; designing a test that puts the product through the varied and repeated loading that it will see in use.

This type of testing is perfect for automation. For decades, PADT has been designing testing devices for our customers to determine durability, uncover problems, and verify that proposed solutions work. Over those years our engineers have developed guidelines that we use to design tests and test apparatus. We got together and summarized that experience in the ten suggestions listed below.

But first, it would be good to define what automated product duty cycle testing is.

Automated Product Duty Cycle Testing Defined

When a physical product is used, it sees some sort of loading; force, pressure, temperature, friction, chemicals, sunlight, etc… That loading causes deformation of the various materials used or changes the physical properties of those materials. In most cases, the deformation or property change is not permanent. But sometimes the loads are large enough or are replied long enough to cause permanent changes. Metal fatigues, rubber tubes become brittle, or glue fails.

Large loads are easy to test. You apply them and see what happens. But long term loading, especially a set of repeated loads, needs to be applied over time. This type of long-term testing that applies the loads the product will see over time is called duty cycle testing. Add in the need to apply temperatures cycles, humidity, and power loads – all things that components see in the real world – and the value of automation multiplies.

As engineers, when we see something that happens over time and repeats, we know that automation can be used to reduce cost and enforce repeatability. And that is why most duty cycle testing is automated. But those time savings and that repeatability are only effective if the test and the text fixture are designed correctly, which leads us to PADT’s ten suggestions.

1: Define the purpose and the expected outcome of the test

Most people define the purpose or the outcome, but not both. This really starts with understanding who the customer is for the test, even within the same company. What do they need from the test and why do they need it.

2: Map the full duty cycle being tested

The physical behavior of a system, especially over time, is impacted by all of the loads that the system sees. The cause of a failure or performance degradation is often not one load, but some unexpected combination of loads. You may think a problem may be caused by say, a bending load that happens tens-of-thousands of times. But it may be that bending load combined with a torque that only occurs every once in a while.

3: Document the test process, keeping it as simple as possible

Simplicity is the key here. Complexity adds cost, slows schedules, and introduces irrelevant failure modes. Designing is like writing a good story. Put everything down, then start cutting. Keep cutting until you only have exactly what you need.

4: Design the apparatus to the test

This seems obvious, but it can often be missed. The three previous suggestions need to be reviewed before, during, and after the design process. Every feature, chunk of code, or fixture needs to be there for a reason. The device must carry out the test process and apply the full duty cycle while meeting the purpose and expected outcome of the test.

5: Make the system versatile

After developing our second or third test rig, we discovered that our customers almost always wanted to add new loads or change loading. You may design a system to test one component, to find that a different component is failing more in the field so you need to change the test to load that part. If you design the apparatus to allow for easy changes that don’t require a complete redesign, you can create a far more valuable device.

6: Make the remaining human steps as easy as possible

The whole point of automation is to take humans out of the loop. But someone still has to load, unload, repair, and maintain the system. With so much focus on automation, it is easy to make the apparatus difficult to use. Human interface design still plays an important role.

7: Keep the hardware as simple as possible

Simplicity is the key to success in most designs, and automating duty cycle testing is no different. The repetitive nature of the operating steps and long run times make it especially important. Also, if you make the design too complex it is more difficult to capture and interpret results.

8: Invest in robust, off-the-shelf industrial quality equipment.

Do not try and save money using hobby or educational hardware or in making your own components, unless what you need is not commercially available. Remember, you are measuring the robustness of your product so having robust equipment to carry out the testing is critical. There is a reason why an industrial controller costs more. Invest in hardware that results in a test system that will last.

9: Spend the time and money upfront to automate as much as possible

Just as you should invest in high-quality hardware, you should put time and money into automating as much as possible. It is tempting to save money by saying “we can have a person do this step” but when you do that you introduce long term costs, delays, and a source of error.

10: Test the test before releasing the apparatus to the customer

Plan for a lot of testing of the system before official testing starts. This can seem obvious but because the focus of the design process is a test itself, it is easy to forget that the hardware and software need to be tested before they are released for use.

Better automated testing is achievable

Testing of your products should never be an afterthought or an add-on to the product’s design. Plan for it as an important part of the product lifecycle. If you follow the guidelines above and budget the proper time, money, and space (don’t forget you will need a place to do the testing) you can achieve a greater understanding of the robustness, failure modes, and efficiency of the things you make.

If you need help with duty cycle testing, please reach out to PADT. Our expertise in project management, engineering problems solving, controller programming, industry applications, and creative design are a unique combination that results in better fixture design and more useful information from your testing.

We can assist you in the design or take on the whole project, including doing the testing here at our facility. Contact us at info@padtinc.com or 480.813.4884 and ask to speak to someone in our Engineering Services Team about product testing. And don’t forget, we have world-class simulation and 3D Printing here on site to speed up the process and deliver deeper insight.

PADT’s Penchant for Patents

When they walk into PADT’s main office in Tempe, Arizona, the first thing most people notice is our “wall-o-patents.” Over the years, PADT employees have been named on 43 patents. They range from fuel cell membranes to silicon wafer coating to a slew of medical devices. When we received notification that staff members were listed as co-inventor on two patients with numbers over 10,000,000 we thought it was a good excuse to celebrate the years of contributions our engineers have made.

The rich collection highlights the diversity of industries we work on and the ingenuity of our staff. When the companies who own the Intellectual Property (IP) represented on that wall came to PADT looking for assistance with research, development, troubleshooting, and testing of their products they found a partner that did more than carry out tasks. PADT collaborated with them to create novel solutions and approaches that resulted in IP.

You can view all of our patents on our wall… or on our patent page here.

We want to say thank you to our staff and our customers for letting us be part of their innovation.

If you are looking for a partner that can work with you to turn your ideas in into Intellectual Property, please learn about our Product Development team or reach out to info@padtinc.com.

Presentation: 3D Printing & Optics

The experts at PADT are often asked to speak at conferences around the country, even around the world. This is a great opportunity for us to present what we do and share what we know. The downside is that we only reach the people in the room. The solve this, we are going back and presenting past live seminars at our desks and recording them on BrightTalk. This is the third of those recordings. To find others go to our BrightTalk Channel

The world of optical systems is a subset of mechanical engineering with unique needs and requirements. Those unique needs also make it an ideal area to apply Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D Printing.

This is a presentation that we gave at Photonics Days, held at the University of Arizona in Tucson Arizona from January 30th through February 1st of 2019.

You can view the presentation on BrightTALK here:
https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/360024

Four Different Ways to Add Customization to ANSYS Mechanical

ANSYS Mechanical is a very powerful tool right out of the box.  Long gone are the days when an FEA tool was just a solver, and users had to write code to create input files and interpret the results.  Most of the time you never have to write anything to effectively use ANSYS Mechanical. But, users can realize significant gains in productivity and access greater functionality through customization. And it is easy to do.

Before we talk about the four options, we need to remember how the tool, ANSYS Mechanical, is actually structured.  The interface that users interact with is a version of ANSYS Workbench called ANSYS Mechanical. The interface allows users to connect to geometry, build and modify their model, set up their solution, submit a solve, and review results. The solve itself is done in ANSYS Mechanical APDL. This is the original ANSYS Multiphysics program. 

When you press the solve button ANSYS Mechanical writes out commands in the languages used by ANSYS Mechanical APDL, called the ANSYS Parametric Design Language, or APDL.  Yes, that is where ANSYS Mechanical APDL got its name. We like to call it MAPDL for short. (Side note: years ago we started a campaign to call it map-dul. It didn’t work.) Once the file is written, MAPDL is started, the file is read in, the solve happens, and all of the requested output files are written. Then ANSYS Mechanical reads those files and shows results to the user.

Customization Tool 1: Command Snippets for Controlling the Solver

Not every capability that is found in ANSYS Mechanical APDL is exposed in the interface for ANSYS Mechanical.  That is not a problem because users can use the APDL language in ANSYS Mechanical to access the full capability of the solver.  These small pieces of code are called Snippets and they are added to the tree for your ANSYS Mechanical model.  When the solver file is written, ANSYS Mechanical inserts your snippets into the command stream.  Simple and elegant.

PADT has a seminar from back in 2011 that lays it all out.  You can find the PowerPoint Presentation here. We do have plans to update this webinar soon.

This approach is used when you want to access capabilities in the solver that are not supported in the interface but you want to get to those features and keep track of them from inside your ANSYS Mechanical Model.

If you are not familiar with APDL, find a more “seasoned” user to help you. Or you can teach yourself APDL programming with PADT’s Guide to APDL .

Customization Tool 2: ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT) for Controlling the User Interface and Accessing the Model

As mentioned above, ANSYS Mechanical is used to define the model and review results.  The ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT) is how users customize the user interface, automate tasks in the interface, add tools to the interface, and access the model database. This type of customization can be as simple as a new feature, presented as an app, or it can be used to create a focused tool to streamline a certain type of simulation – what we call a vertical application.

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A Vertical Application Written in ANSYS ACT by PADT for Automating the Design of Turbine Disks

Unlike APDL, ACT does is not have its own language. It uses Python and is a collection of Application Programmer Interface (API) calls from Python. This is a very powerful toolset that increases in capability at every release.  PADT has written stand alone applications using ACT to reduce simulation time significantly. We have also written features and apps for ourselves and users that make everyday use of ANSYS Mechanical better. 

Do note that ACT is supported in most of the major ANSYS products and more capability is being added across the available programs over time, not just in ANSYS Mechanical. You can also use ACT to connect ANSYS Mechanical to in-house or 3rd party software.

Because this is a standard environment, you can share your ACT applications on the ANSYS App Store found here. Take a look and you can see what users have done with ACT across the ANSYS Product suite, including ANSYS Mechanical.   PADT has two in the library, one for adding a PID controller to your model and the other is a tool for saving your ANSYS Mechanical APDL database.

Another great aspect of ACT is that it is fully documented.  If you go to the Customization Suite documentation in the ANSYS help library you can find everything you need.

Customization Tool 3: APDL for Automating the Solve  

With Code Snippets we talked about using APDL to access solver functions from ANSYS Mechanical that were not supported in ANSYS Mechanical.  You can also use APDL to automate what is going on during the solve.  Every capability in the ANSYS solver is accessible through APDL.

The most common usage of APDL is to create a tool that solves in batch mode. APDL programs are used to carry out tasks without going back to ANSYS Mechanical.  As an example, maybe you want to solve a load step, save some information from the solve, export it, read it in to a 3rd party program, modify it, modify some property in your model, then solve the next load step. You can do all of that with APDL in batch mode.

This is not for the faint of heart, you are getting into complex programming with a custom language. But if you take the time, it can be very powerful.  All of the commands are documented in the ANSYS Mechanical APDL help and details on the language are in the ANSYS Parametric Design Language Guide.  The PADT Blog is full of articles going back over a decade on using APDL in this way.

Customization Tool 4: User Programable Features in the Solver

One of the most powerful capabilities in the ANSYS Mechanical ADPL solver is the ability for end-users to add their own subroutines.  These User Programable Features, or UPF’s, allow you to create your own elements, make custom material models, customize loads, or customize contact behavior.

There are other general purpose FEA tools on the market that heavily publicize their user elements and user materials and they try to use it to differentiate themselves from ANSYS. However, ANSYS Mechanical APDL has always had this capability.  Many universities and companies add new capability to ANSYS using this method.

To learn more about how to do create your own custom version of ANSYS, consult the Programer’s Reference in the ANSYS Help. PADT also has a webinar sharing how to make a custom material here.

Next Steps

The key to successful customization ANSYS is to know your options, understand what you really want to do, and to use the wide range of tools you have available. Everything is documented in the help and this blog has some great examples.  Start small with a simple project and work your way up.

Or, you can leverage PADT’s expertise and contract with PADT to do your customization. This is what a half-dozen companies large and small have done over the years.  We understand ANSYS, we get engineering, and we know how to program. A perfect combination.

Regardless of how you customize ANSYS Mechanical, you will find it a rewording experience.  Greater functionality and more efficient usage are only a few lines of custom code away.

Presentation: If you are not scared, you are doing it wrong! Successful founders take risks

Legacy Presentation Series

The experts at PADT are often asked to speak at conferences around the country, even around the world. This is a great opportunity for us to present what we do and share what we know. The downside is that we only reach the people in the room. The solve this, we are going back and presenting past live seminars at our desks and recording them on BrightTalk. This is the second of those recordings. To find others go to our BrightTalk Channel

Fear can be an incredible motivator, especially in a small and growing business. This talk, originally presented at Phoenix Startup Week in 2018, goes over how being scared can be a good thing.

View the presentation here:
https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/359366

Presentation: Metal 3D Printing is Changing Design, Here is how Design Engineers can Adapt

Legacy Presentation Series:

The experts at PADT are often asked to speak at conferences around the country, even around the world. This is a great opportunity for us to present what we do and share what we know. The downside is that we only reach the people in the room. The solve this, we are going back and presenting past live seminars at our desks and recording them on BrightTalk. This is the first of those recordings. To find others go to our BrightTalk Channel

Metal 3D Printing systems, especially Powder Bed Fusion Additive Manufacturing machines, have made the free-form creation of metal parts directly from CAD a reality. This has freed geometry from the constraints of traditional manufacturing and reducing the product development process. 

This presentation goes over what Design Engineers need to know to adapt to the possibility and constraints of 3D Printing in metal.

View the recording here: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/15747/359359

PADT’s 25 Anniversary Celebration

It is not often that 350+ people get together in a parking lot to talk about Engineering, bouncy houses, economic development, and eat Bar-B-Que. On March 21st, all three of those things and more happened at PADT’s party to celebrate our 25th anniversary. What a fantastic crowd. What a great roster of speakers. We could not have asked for better people to come to our event.

We want to offer special thanks to those twelve speakers:

  • Andrew Lombard, Arizona Commerce Authority, Executive Vice President of Innovation and Venture Development
  • Steve Zylstra, Arizona Technology Council, President & CEO
  • Darryn Jones, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, Vice President, Emerging Technologies
  • Donna Kennedy, City of Tempe, Economic Development Director
  • Kyle Squires, Arizona State University, Dean, Ira A Fulton School of Engineering
  • Ravi Kumar, ANSYS, Inc, Global Channel Strategy & Programs
  • Patrick Carey, Stratasys, Senior Vice President – Americas
  • Philip DeSimone, Carbon, Co-Founder & VP of Business Development
  • Joe Panovsky, Honeywell Aerospace, Director
  • Ward Rand, PADT, Co-Owner
  • Rey Chu, PADT, Co-Owner
  • Eric Miller, PADT, Co-Owner

The highlight of the event were four student teams that PADT supports in one way or another. Lego robots, 3D Printed prosthetic hands, FIRST Robots, and a formula SAE car were on display and were very popular. Every time we have these teams come and show their stuff, we are reminded that the future does have hope. We also hope that at the 30th, 35th, and 40th anniversary celebrations some of those students will be wearing PADT shirts.

For fun there were two bouncy houses, face painting, temporary tattoos, and two cornhole sets. And as always, PADT’s 3D Printing demo room was open for everyone to see the cool things our customers and we are printing every day.

The best part of the whole day was simply thanking our employees and customers for 25 Fantastic years. Please enjoy some images from the event below.

As always, if you have any questions or want to know more about PADT, simply contact us.

PADT is Turning 25!

Wow!. It has been 25 years since Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. went downtown to file incorporation papers on March 7, 1994.  Now we are ninety-some people with offices in six states.

It has been an incredible journey with so many people playing key roles.

Please read our thoughts on this momentous event in the press release below.

You can help us celebrate by coming to our party!  Learn more at www.padtinc.com/padt25.

You can also share your thoughts about working with or at PADT by filling leaving a comment here.

Please find the official press release here in PDF and HTML.

If you have any questions, reach out to info@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884.

Press Release:

The Southwest’s Leader in Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing Products and Services, PADT, Celebrates its 25th Anniversary

PADT’s Anniversary Celebration to be Held March 21, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at its ASU Research Park Headquarters in Tempe

TEMPE, Ariz., March 7, 2019 ─ The employees and owners of PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, are proud to announce that today marks their twenty-fifth year in business.  In 1994, a group of engineers working at a large Aerospace company decided to try the entrepreneurial life and established Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT).  After two-and-a-half decades, the company has grown from those humble beginnings to employ over ninety-five people located across six states.

The original vision of the PADT co-founders was to take the advanced computer-aided engineering tools that were changing how turbine engines were designed, and apply them to other industries.  These tools, known today as numerical simulation, comprehensive product development, and 3D Printing, became the foundation of PADT’s business, and have only increased in sophistication and use.

PADT’s Employees, 2018

“A key to our long-term success has been our close relationship with ANSYS, Inc., the leader in engineering simulation software,” said Ward Rand, co-founder, PADT. “As the size of ANSYS and the capabilities of its tools have grown, we’ve increased our customer base and the type of simulation we can deliver to help our customers drive their product designs.”  Today, PADT is an ANSYS Elite Channel Partner selling and supporting ANSYS products across the Southwestern U.S., and providing engineering simulation consulting worldwide.

PADT’s First Company Pictures, 2000

When PADT Co-Owner Mark Johnson joined the company several years in, he grew the original vision of product design to include comprehensive services for product development, including research and testing.  The PADT family sadly lost Mark in 2015 to cancer, but the Product Development team he created continues to grow and thrive. PADT honors his memory by supporting a global customer base creating products from children’s toys to medical devices and aerospace subsystems.

PADT is perhaps best known locally as the leading regional provider of 3D Printing solutions, having earned the designation of being the oldest and largest 3D Printing service based in the Southwest.  “When we bought our first stereolithography machine in 1994, we couldn’t have imagined how widespread additive manufacturing would become,” said Rey Chu, PADT co-founder. “We continue to offer greater options to our customers through the sale of systems and materials, while also providing 3D Printing as a service.”

PADT’s Offices in the ASU Research Park in Tempe, Arizona

Key to PADT’s status as a leader in the rapidly growing area of 3D Printing is its partnership with the leading manufacturer of additive manufacturing systems, Stratasys and PADT’ status as a Stratasys Platinum Channel partner in the four-corner region. For over a decade, PADT has also been the primary supplier of FDM soluble support removal solutions.  The manufacturing department has also successfully teamed with overseas suppliers and partners to deliver millions of dollars in goods and services to customers.

Most of all, PADT credits its success to every past and current member of the PADT family that has contributed to what the company is today, from administration, to engineering, to manufacturing.

“When people ask us how we have thrived for so long, we have to step back and point to our employees,” said Eric Miller, co-founder PADT. “Since the very beginning, their dedication to the vision of the company has been inspirational.  PADT is a place where smart people like to come to work, largely because they get to take on challenging tasks for appreciative customers. It has been a true joy for all three of the company’s owners to grow with everyone. The past twenty-five years have been an amazing journey, and the next twenty-five are full of potential.”

The entire PADT family would like to thank everyone who has made the dream of helping other people innovate a reality by inviting the public to its 25th anniversary party. The event is being held on March 21st from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at PADT’s headquarters in ASU’s Research Park, in Tempe, Arizona. Details, including the address and required free registration, can be found at www.padtinc.com/padt25.

PADT’s Four Co-Owners. L-R: Eric Miller, Rey Chu, Ward Rand, Mark Johnson

About PADT

PADT is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 90 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

Media Contact
Alec Robertson
TechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT
585-281-6399
alec.robertson@techthinq.com
PADT Contact
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
Principal & Co-Owner
480.813.4884
eric.miller@padtinc.com

PADT Spins-Off Successful 3D Printing Support Removal Equipment Line Into a Separate Company, Oryx Additive

One of the most exciting, and terrifying, aspects of being a parent is when it is time for your children to head out on their own.  Here at PADT we have been growing and nurturing our 3D Printing Post Processing business for 10 years.  With 12,500 Support Cleaning Apparatus systems in the field globally, it was time to give our SCA business the freedom it needs to grow.

We are very proud to announce the creation of a new company, Oryx Additive.

Initially, not much will change, other than the name as we focus on building an outstanding team that is as excited as we are about this much-needed aspect of 3D Printing.  Stay tuned as we all watch Oryx Additive grow and prosper.

Please find the official press release on this new partnership below and here in PDF and HTML.

If you have any questions about soluble support removal or other post-processing steps for additive manufacturing, reach out to info@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884.

Press Release:

PADT Spins-Off Successful 3D Printing Support Removal Equipment Line Into a Separate Company, Oryx Additive

PADT’s Industry Leading Support Cleaning Apparatus (SCA) Business Becomes Oryx Additive, Focused on Developing New Post-Processing Equipment for Additive Manufacturing

TEMPE, Ariz., March 5, 2019 ─ PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced the spin-off its successful Support Cleaning Apparatus (SCA) 3D printing support removal equipment business into a separate company, Oryx Additive. Taking the reins after PADT’s successful 10-year run as the leading supplier in the industry, Oryx Additive will build on PADT’s existing line and develop new innovations for 3D printing post-processing.

“In additive manufacturing, parts coming off the printer often require the removal of support material or other secondary processes to yield the finished parts. The PADT SCA product-line has been the most popular soluble support removal product for more than a decade,” said Rey Chu, principal and co-founder, PADT. “The growth of the 3D printing industry has increased the demand for post processing equipment and provided us with the opportunity to expand this portion of PADT’s business by creating a separate company. Oryx Additive will continue PADT’s legacy of offering solutions that reliably process 3D printed parts while reducing cycle time and increasing productivity.”

Oryx Additive will leverage PADT’s experience in engineering, manufacturing, and 3D printing post-processing to continue developing innovative solutions to meet additive manufacturing post processing needs. Oryx Additive will take over the responsibility of continuing supply and service on the current SCA products immediately. Oryx Additive will also provide future upgrades and develop expanded applications of these products.

PADT has developed a comprehensive post-processing product roadmap and a broad product pipeline that Oryx Additive will focus on bringing into the market in the near future. With strong leadership, a wide installed customer base, extensive industry knowledge, and engineering expertise, Oryx Additive is positioned to introduce new post-processing products to serve the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industry quickly.

For more information on Oryx Additive or PADT and its background in 3D printing post-processing equipment, please visit www.oryxadditive.com or www.padtinc.com.

About PADT

PADT is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

About Oryx Additive

Oryx Additive is a subsidiary of PADT, specializing in the innovation and engineering of additive manufacturing post-processing solutions. Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona and serving a global customer base, Oryx Additive was founded based on the success of PADT’s industry-leading 3D printing support removal equipment line, the Support Cleaning Apparatus (SCA). Oryx Additive will continue to supply the SCA as well as develop new support removal equipment to serve the growing population of companies leveraging additive manufacturing across industries More information on Oryx Additive can be found at www.oryxadditive.com.

# # #

Media Contact
Alec Robertson
TechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT
585-281-6399
alec.robertson@techthinq.com
PADT Contact
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
Principal & Co-Owner
480.813.4884
eric.miller@padtinc.com

Our Parking Lot Gets Cool for PADT Motorsport Day

There were Chevys and Fords, Porches and Harleys, Teslas and Acuras. Big trucks and little sports cars. And of course, there was pizza. Our first ever Motorsport Day was a blast. Mechanical engineers have a special relationship with cars. For those of us who studied machine design, statics, dynamics, thermo, and CAD, various forms of motor driven transportation often represent the pinnacle of our trade during a given era. So having a parking lot full of wheeled vehicles tickled our brains.

Employees, as well as family and friends of employees, brought their rides. The best part was to see the love and passion that the owners put into their vehicles. These are far more than just a way to get to and from work. One thing we can’t share in words is the sound of each machine. From the purr of the Porche to the throaty roar of the two drag cars to the rumble of the Harley, each one had its own unique and special sound. And the Tesla, not wanting to be left out in the sound department, cranked up its stereo did a dance for us.

This was our first attempt at this type of an event, a practice run to see if anyone was interested. Duh. It was a huge success. So, watch your email and this blog for an announcement of our 2020 Motorsport Day when we will open it up to customers and vendors who are interested in sharing their ride or taking a look.

Words don’t do these marvelous machines justice, so here is a gallery with this year’s entries. And for the car fans, a table after that gives specifics on each vehicle.


—-Owner—-

—-Year—-

———-Make———-

———-Model———-
Rob R1935ChevyStandard Three Window Coupe
Tom S1950Chevy3100 – Resto Mod Patina Truck
Ralph G1964ChevyNova SS (Chevy II)
Steve G1968FordMustang Cobra Covertible
Vince E1969ChevyNova SS
Dwaine R1973ChevyCorvette
Scott R1983Datsun 280ZX
Mark M2001DodgeRAM 2500
Ted H2003AcuraCL Type S
Tom B2011ChevyCamaro SS
Teri S2015Harley DavidsonDyna Lowrider
Tim M2015Porsche911 Carrera S
Roger S2018TeslaX

Press Release: Grant to ASU, PADT, and Others for Advancement of 3D Printing Post-Processing Techniques

We are very pleased to announce that PADT is part of another successful Federal grant with ASU in the area of Additive Manufacturing.  This is the second funded research effort we have been part of in the past twelve months and also our second America Makes funded project.

It is another great example of PADT’s cooperation with ASU and other local businesses and also shows how Arizona is becoming a hub for innovation around this important and growing technology.

Please find the official press release on this new partnership below and here in PDF and HTML.

You can find links to our other recent research grants here:

If you have any questions about, additive manufacturing or this project, reach out to info@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884.

Press Release:

$800,000 in Matching Funds Appointed to ASU, PADT and Other Partners by America Makes for the Advancement of 3D Printing Post-Processing Techniques

This Grant Marks PADT’s Second Federally Funded Project in the Past Year, and its Second America Makes Funded Project in the Past Two Years

TEMPE, Ariz., January 24, 2019 ─ PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, has announced it has joined ASU in a Directed Project Opportunity to advance post-processing techniques used in additive manufacturing (AM). The project is being funded by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Technology Division and driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).

ASU was one of two awardees that received a combined $1.6M with at least $800K in matching funds from the awarded project teams for total funding worth roughly $2.4M. ASU will lead the project, while PADT, Quintus Technologies, and Phoenix Heat Treating, Inc. have joined to support the project.

“Our ongoing partnership with ASU has allowed us to perform critical research into the advancement of 3D printing,” said Rey Chu, principal and co-founder, PADT. “We are honored to be involved with this project and look forward to applying our many years of technical expertise in 3D printing post-processing.”

The goal of this research is to yield essential gains in process control, certified processes, and the qualification of materials and parts to drive post-processing costs down and make 3D printing more accessible. PADT will be responsible for providing geometry scanning capabilities, as well as technical expertise.

PADT has deep experience in 3D printing post-processing techniques due to the development of its proprietary Support Cleaning Apparatus (SCA), the best-selling post-processing hardware on the market. Initially released in November 2008, more than 12,500 SCA systems have sold to-date. The SCA system was awarded a U.S. patent in October 2018.

This grant will be the second federally funded research project in 2018 which teams PADT and ASU to advance 3D printing innovation and adoption. The first project received a $127,000 NASA STTR grant and is aimed at accelerating biomimicry research, the study of 3D printing objects that resemble strong and light structures found in nature such as honeycombs.

For more information on PADT and its background in 3D printing post-processing, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

# # #

Media Contact
Alec Robertson
TechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT
585-281-6399
alec.robertson@techthinq.com
PADT Contact
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
Principal & Co-Owner
480.813.4884
eric.miller@padtinc.com