Everyone is talking about the Internet of Things, or IoT. This is the first of four posts that look at what IoT is and how your products can take advantage of it. We start with “Sensors and controls: Making a product smart enough for the Internet of Things” to understand what makes a product smart, the first step in enabling a product for the IoT.
The Arizona BioTech industry has come a long way, but has it come far enough to be self sustaining? In “Has the Arizona biotech community achieved critical mass?” I take a look at where we are and how close we are to this critical goal.
In those documentaries on the animals of the desert, at some point they always say something like “the harsh environment shapes desert dwellers into uniquely strong and beautiful creatures.” The same is true for our tech startups. “6 things that make the Arizona technology startup community unique” takes a look at this environment and what we need to do to take advantage of it.
Numerical simulation has been the bulk of my career for 30 years now. I love simulation. It has had a huge positive impact on product development as well as many other industries. In “What is numerical simulation? And why should I care?” I evangelize a bit about my professional passion.
When you think about high-tech in Arizona, what comes to mind? We have it all here. However, the one tech industry that supports and enables many of the others is microelectronics. In “Let’s focus on microelectronics for a bit” we go over a few of the reasons why Microelectronics are so important to Arizona.
Shut up and listen. Easy to say, hard to do. every day in a ton of different ways, we are asked to listen to what other people are saying, and the reality is that not a lot of us do. In this post, “Why you should learn to shut up and listen” I go over why the problem causes real issues in business, and some suggestions on being a better listener.
Many of you may have seen the recent launch of an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (ULA). We are honored to have lent our expertise to ULA’s 3D Printing efforts that resulted in the use of parts on that rocket made with additive manufacturing. We will be talking about that and other ways we help the Aerospace Industry at the 32nd Space Symposium this week in Colorado Springs Colorado. Please stop by!
Getting a product from idea to the market is a lot of work. Much effort and attention is focused on figuring out the idea, but the part after that is usually portrayed as some romantic quest involving coffee, colocation spaces, and long hours. In this article, “So, you have an idea for a product, what next?” we offer up some practical advice on the steps you need to take to get going.
The development of small modular nuclear reactors, or SMR’s, is a complex task that involves balancing the thermodynamic performance of the entire system. Flownex is the ideal tool for modeling pressure drop [flow] and heat transfer [temperature] for the connected components of a complete system in steady state and transient, sizing and optimizing pumps or compressors, pipes, valves, tanks, and heat exchangers.
To highlight this power and capability, PADT and Flownex will be exhibiting at the 2016 SMR conference in Atlanta where we will be available to discuss exciting new Flownex developments in system and subsystem simulations of SMRs. If you are attending this year’s event, please stop by the Flownex booth and say hello to experts from M-Tech and PADT.
If you are not able to make the conference or if you want to know more now, you can view more information from the new Flownex SMR brochure or this video:
Why is Flownex a Great Tool for SMR Design and Simulation?
These developments offer greatly reduced times for performing typical design tasks required for Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR) projects including sizing of major components, calculating overall plant efficiency, and design for controllability
This task involves typical components like the reactor primary loop, intermediate loops, heat exchangers or steam generators and the power generation cycle. Flownex provides for various reactor fuel geometries, various reactor coolant types and various types of power cycles.
Flownex can also be used for determining plant control philosophy. By using a plant simulation model, users can determine the transient response of sensed parameters to changes in input parameters and based on that, set up appropriate pairings for control loops.
For passive safety system design Flownex can be used to optimize the natural circulation loops. The program can calculate the dynamic plant-wide temperatures and pressures in response to various accident scenarios, taking into account decay heat generation, multiple natural circulation loops, transient energy storage and rejection to ambient conditions.
This is the first of what we hope to be a monthly posting here on our blog, reviewing PADT events happening in the next 5 or 6 weeks and reviewing activities over the previous month.
Upcoming Events, Seminars, and Gatherings
April 5-7: AMUG Annual Meeting
St. Luis, MO
This annual meeting of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group has been a long time favorite of PADT. Everyone involved in making and running industrial 3D Printers will be in St. Luis this year. PADT’s Dhruv Bhate will be given two presentations and we will be hanging out in the exhibit hall. Look for anyone in a PADT shirt and say hi!
April 7: Seminar: Additive Manufacturing and the Navy SBIR Program With RevAZ/AZ Commerce
PADT Tempe, AZ
Learn more about the Navy Sea SBIR Program from Jonathan Leggett, the NAVSEA SBIR Program Manager, about how AZ Manufacturers can use SBIR Grants to assist in funding R&D early stage innovation. Jonathan will also review the Navy’s roadmap on additive manufacturing and 3D printing.
April 11-14: Space Symposium
Colorado Springs, CO
This premier event for the entire Space industry is a favorite of PADT’s We will be there in force in our own both, and with Stratasys, talking about how Additive Manufacturing is changing many aspects of space hardware. Look for Mario, Norm, Anthony, James, and Renee. We expect to catch up with our customers and if we don’t know you, stop by and introduce yourself.
April 13, 11:30 – 1:00: AZTC Lunch-n-Learn
Innovation is easier said than done: Why skipping product simulation is no longer an option
PADT will be presenting results from a recently released study on how the use of simulation has a significant and measurable impact on top line revenue for companies who make products. Lunch is included in this free event. Come back for a link in a day or so.
April 14-15: International SMR and
Advanced Reactor Summit
Flownex and PADT will be attending this meeting, the premier event for Small Modular and Advanced Reactor design. Flownex is the leading tool for modeling fluid flow in and around reactors of all types, and is helping to drive the development of this new generation of nuclear power. Look for us in the Flownex booth.
PADT’s Dhruv Bhate will be discussing his career as an Engineer with High School students. He will also share with them his latest career change in to the exciting world of 3D Printing.
April 21: AZBio Expo 2016
PADT will be attending this key Bioscience industry event with a booth and by attending sessions. Stop by and learn the latest about how PADT helps medical device companies make their innovation work. We will of course be talking about 3D Printing and simulation as well.
May 12, 2016: Design for 3D Printing
Talk at Digital Manufacturing 2016 Conference
This conference is focused on 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing with a focus on inkjet technologies. PADT’s Eric Miller will be sharing his thoughts on design considerations for those who wish to use 3D Printing to manufacture their parts.
May 16-19: RAPID Show
The other big Additive Manufacturing show in the US is Rapid, held in Orlando, FL this year. PADT will be presenting at least one, and perhaps two times at this event. We will also be hanging out with Stratasys and other partners in the exhibit area.
March Events in Review
March was a busy month for events, with a couple of special opportunities to reach new audiences and learn more.
We started with the 2016 Aerospace, Defence, and Manufacturing Conference put on by the Arizona Technology Council on March 3rd. Dhruv Bhate gave a talk about Additive Manufacturing in the state and made a call to action for more cooperation. Our booth was well attended.
March 23rd was a busy day, with the SEMI Arizona presentation of the GPEC study: “Microelectronics: An Economic Pillar for Arizona” at breakfast. We learned a ton about the importance of this sector to the state and where it is headed. This was followed by a sad event, a going away party for Jeff Saville as he departs CEI and spends some time in industry.
Meanwhile, up in Utah, our team was at the Wasatch Front Materials Expo. This event has always been well attended and a chance for us to meet with existing customers and get in front of others who are interested in ANSYS and Stratasys.
The next night saw a well attended event at The Perch in Chandler for the Chandler Innovations Connector. The east valley tech startup community is booming and we were able to visit with many entrepreneurs and mentors.
On March 29th PADT’s Eric Miller was invited to be on a panel to discuss innovation in the Bioscience industry in Arizona. The event focused on an update for the Flinn Foundation’s Bioscience Roadmap project. What an amazing panel and it was good to see the progress, and work still to be done, to build more momentum around this critical industry.
Three events in support of government R&D finished up the last week of the month. The Utah crew attended the Hill Air Force Base Technology Expo on March 30th, an annual event where vendors can share how they help the research going on at the base.
Meanwhile, we were holding a seminar at Los Alamos National Labs on Optimization with ANSYS products and how it can drive the use of Additive Manufacturing. That same presentation was repeated at Sandia National Labs on the 31st.
The final event of the month was a fantastic presentation on Infrared sensors in Albuquerque, NM. This was the first event that we have attended put on by the New Mexico Technology Council, or NMTC. Made some great connection and we are looking forward to more interaction with them.
Adding Complexity and Moving
After playing with that block it seems like it may be time to try a more complex geometry. For business banking, I’ve got this key fob that generates a number every thirty seconds that I use for security when I log in. Might as well sort of model that.
So the first thing I do is start up a new model and orient myself on to the sketch plane:
Then I use the line and arc tools to create the basic shape. Play around a bit. I found that a lot of things I had to constrain in other packages are just assumed when you define the geometry. A nice thing is that as you create geometry, it locks to the grid and to other geometry.
I dragged around and typed in values for dimensions to get the shape I wanted. As I was doing it I realized I was in metric. I’m old, I don’t do metric. So I went in to File and selected SpaceClaim options from the bottom of the window. I used the Units screen to set things to Imperial.
This is the shape I ended up with:
I took this and pulled it up and added a couple of radii:
But if I look at the real object, the flat end needs to be round. In another tool, I’d go back to the sketch, modify that line to be an arc, and regen. Well in SpaceClaim you don’t have the sketch, it is gone. Ahhh. Panic. I’ve been doing it that way for 25 some years. OK. Deep breath, just sketch the geometry I need. Click on the three point arc tool, drag over the surface, then click on the first corner, the second, and a third point to define the arc:
Then us pull to drag it down, using the Up to icon to lock it to the bottom of the object.
Then I clicked on the edges and pulled some rounds on there:
OK, so the next step in SolidEdge would be to do a thin wall. I don’t see a thin wall right off the top, but shell looks like what I want, under the Create group on the Design tab. So I spinned my model around, clicked on the bottom surface I want to have open and I have a shell. A thickness of 0.035″ looks good:
My next feature will be the cutout for the view window. What I have not figured out yet is how to lock an object to be symmetrical. Here is why. I sketch my cutout as such, not really paying attention to where it is located. Now I want to move it so that it is centred on the circle.
Instead of specifying constraints, you move the rectangle to be centered. To do that I drag to select the rectangle then click Move. By default it puts the nice Move tool in the middle of the geometry. If I drag on the X direction (Red) you can see it shows the distance from my start.
So I have a couple of options, to center it. The easiest is to use Up To and click the X axis for the model and it will snap right there. The key thing I learned was I had to select the red move arrow or it would also center horizontally where I clicked.
If I want to specify how far away the edge is from the center of the circle, the way I did it is kind of cool. I selected my rectangle, then clicked move. Then I clicked on the yellow move ball followed by a click on the left line, this snapped the move tool to that line. Next I clicked the little dimension Icon to get a ruller, and a small yellow ball showed up. I clicked on this and dragged it to the center of my circle, now I had a dimension from the circle specified that I could type in.
After playing around a bit, if found a second, maybe more general way to do this. I clicked on the line I want to position. One of the icons over on the left of my screen is the Move Dimension Base Point icon. If you click on that you get another one of those small yellow balls you can move. I dragged it over to the center of the circle and clicked. then I can specify the distance as 0.75″
I’ve got the shape I want, so I pull, using the minus icon to subtract, and I get my cutout:
If you look closely,you will notice I put rounds on the corners of the cutout as well, I used Pull again.
The last thing I want to do is create the cutout for where the bank logo goes. It is a concentric circle with an arc on the right side. Saddly, this is the most complex thing I’ve ever sketched in SpaceClaim so I was a bit afraid. It was actually easy. I made a circle, clicking on the center of the outside arc to make them concentric. The diameter was 1″. Then I made another circle of 2″ centered on the right. To get the shape I wanted, I used the Trim Away command and clicked on the curves I don’t want. The final image is my cutout.
Now I can do the same thing, subtract it out, put in some rounds, and whalla:
Oh, and I used the built in rendering tool to quickly make this image. I’ll have to dedicate a whole posting to that.
But now that I have my part, it is time to play with move in 3D.
Moving in 3D
Tyler, who is one of our in-house SpaceClaim experts (and younger) pointed out that I need to start thinking about editing the 3D geometry instead of being obsessed with controlling my sketches. So here goes.
If I wanted to change the size of the rectangular cutout in a traditional CAD tool, I’d go edit the sketch. There is no sketch to edit! Fear. Unknown. Change.
So the first thing I’ll do is just move it around. Grab one of the faces and see happens.
It moves back and forth, pretty simple. The same tools for specifying the start and stop points are available. Now, if I ctrl-click on all four surfaces the whole thing moves. That is pretty cool.
Note: I’m using the undo all the time to go back to my un-moved geometry.
Another Note: As you select faces, you have to spin the model around a lot. I use the middle mouse button to do this rather than clicking on the spin Icon and then having to unclick it.
That is enough for this post. More soon.
Learning More About Pulling
As I explored ANSYS SpaceClaim in my first try, it became obvious that a lot of capabilities that are in multiple operations in most CAD systems, are all combined in Pull for SpaceClaim. In this posting I feel like it would be a really good idea for me to really understand all the things Pull can do.
Start with the Manual
Not very exciting or adventurous. But there is so much in this operation that I feel like I will miss something critical if I don’t read up first. It states:
“Use the Pull tool to offset, extrude, revolve, sweep, and draft faces; use it to round, chamfer, extrude, copy, or pivot edges. You can also drag a point with the Pull tool to draw a line on a sketch plane.”
Let’s think about that for a second. What it is basically saying is if I pull on an object of a given dimension, it creates an object that is one higher dimension. Point pulls to a curve, a curve pulls to a face, and a face pulls to a solid. Kind of cool. The big surprise for me is that there is no round or fillet command. To make a round you pull on an edge. This is change.
Pull some Stuff
I started by reading my block with a hole back in.
This fillet pull thing scares me so I thought I’d confront it first. So selecte Pull, and selected an edge:
Then I dragged it away from the block. Nothing. You can’t create a surface that way. Then I dragged in towards the center. A round was created.
If anything, too simple. Back in my day, adding a round to an edge took skill and experience!
So next I think I want to try and change the size of something. Maybe the diameter of the hole. So I select the cylinder’s face. Is shows the current radius. I could just change that value:
Instead I drag, and while I do that I noticed that there are two numbers, the current radius and the change to the radius! Kind of cool. No, really useful.
You use tab to go between them. So I hit tab once, typed 3 then tab again (or return) and I get a 8 mm diameter. I like the visual feedback as well as the ability to enter a specific change number.
Next thing that I felt like doing was rounding a corner. Put a 5mm round on the corner facing out:
So I grabbed the point and dragged, and got a line.
Remember, it only goes up one entity type – point to curve. Not point to surface. So I ctrl-clicked (that is how you select multiple entities) on the three curves that intersect at the corner:
Then I dragged and got my round.
Pulling Along or Around Something
This are all sort of dragging straight. After looking at the manual text it seems I can revolve and sweep as well with the Pull operation. Cool. But what do I revolve or sweep around and along? Looking at the manual (and it turns out the prompt on the screen) I use Alt-Clicking to define these control curves. Let’s try it out by revolving something about that line I mistakenly made.
I click on one of the curves on the round. then Alt-Click the line – It turns blue. So there is a nice visual clue that it is different than the source curve. Now I’ve also got spinny icons around the curve rather than pull icons.
So I drag and… funky revolved surface shows up. I had to spin the model to see it clearly:
Let me stop and share something special about this. In most other CAD tools, this would have involved multiple clicks, maybe even multiple windows. In SpaceClaim, it was Click, Alt-Click, Drag. Nice.
Using the Pop=up Icons
As you play with the model you may start seeing some popup icons near the mouse when you select geometry while using pull. The compound round on the block is complicated, so I spun it around and grabbed just one edge and pulled it in to be a round. Then I clicked on it and got this:
Not only can I put a value in there, I can drop ones I use a lot. I can also change my round to a chamfer, or I can change it to a variable radius. This is worth noting. In most other CAD tools you pick what type of thing you want to do to the edge. Here we start by dragging a round, then specify if it is a chamfer or a variable.
The variable radius is worth digging more in to. I clicked on it and it was not intuitive as to what I should do. Let’s try help. Search on Variable Radius… duh. Click on the arrow that shows up and drag that. There are three arrows. The one in the middle scales both ends the same, the one on either end, well it sets the radius for either end.
Clicking on a control point and hitting delete, gets rid of them.
That’s just one icon that pops up. Playing some more it seems the other icons control how it handles corners and multiple fillets merging… something to look at as I do more complex parts.
The other popup I want to look at is the Up To one. It looks like an arrow on a surface. In other tools I extrude, cut, revolve all the time to some other piece of geometry. This is the way to do it in Space Claim. Let’s say I want to pull a feature to the middle of my hole. First I sketch the outline on a face:
That is enough for pulling and for today. In the next session it may be time to explore the Move command.
This post is a table of contents to a series about ANSYS SpaceClaim. After over 31 years of CAD use, it has become difficult for me to learn new tools. In this series I will share my experience as I explore and learn how to use this fantastic tool.
If you are like me, you are in a tech business because you love science. But who has time to learn about all the new an exciting discoveries out there. Even reading is something we often don’t have time for. So I’ve started listening to science podcasts and it has been a fantastic way to stay on top of things, and get reminded about the things I’ve forgotten.
In “Best way to stay science educated: Podcasts” I go over the three that are worth following regularly and talk about more about why it is important.
Marketing is one of those things that we engineers struggle with, and when “inbound marketing” became a thing, we thought it was a just another buzzword. But, after giving it a try, we are fans “How I learned to love inbound marketing” goes over why we think it is a great tool for generating business.