20th Anniversary Comments on PADT

PADt-20-Logo-Rect-500wWe are creating this blog posting for one simple reason:  As we reflect and celebrate twenty years of being in business, we want to hear from our customers, vendors, partners, and friends.

What would you like to share with the world about PADT?  A story?  An observation?  Even a criticism. We want to know what people think about this company with the funny FLA name.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below, we can’t wait to hear from everyone.

This is the first of many blog/social media posts that we will be sending out as we reflect and celebrate the past 20 years. All will be tagged with #padt20.

Wohlers Associates Lists Top 3D Printing News of 2013

Wohlers Associates just blogged their list of the top news stories for 2013 in 3D Printing.  It is worth a read to look beyond the hype we have seen this year and focus on the stories that will be having an impact in the future:

http://wohlersassociates.com/blog/2014/01/top-3d-printing-developments-in-2013/

As a Stratasys distributor and provider of additive manufacturing services, PADT can attest to the importance of the stories listed.  The first one, the GE Fuel Nozzle, had an especially significant impact on the world of commercial additive manufacturing, especially with the Aerospace customers we work with.  In many ways, GE’s move was the tipping point for metal additive manufacturing and for companies to really look at AM as an end part manufacturing solution.

2014 is already shaping up to be a big year.  We expect to see consolidation and a weeding out in the consumer and prosumer 3D printer market, better material options across all of the technologies, and more adoption of the technology in new industries and applications.

Wholers Associates has been consulting in additive manufacturing for over 27 years and is PADT’s go-to resource for what is really going on in the AM world.

Two New Job Openings at PADT: Utah Sales and IT Engineer

SONY DSCWE ARE HIRING!

PADT is starting 2014 off strong with lots of work ahead  of us.  One manifestation of this is that we are hiring for four positions, including two new positions that we just opened up this week.  Please take a look at our openings and see if they are a good fit for you, or someone you know. We have posted them in the usual places but some of our best employees have been found by word of mouth and recommendations. You can find all of our openings at any time on our website at: www.padtinc.com/about/careers.html

IT Support Engineer

CUBE-HVPC-512-core-service1-1000h_thumb.jpg

As a company focused on computer aided engineering, PADT has significant computer and network infrastructure.  With the recent growth in sales of our line of CUBE HVPC computers for simulation users, growth in business across our company, and a new initiative that we will announce this spring, our IT staff is stretched thin. Read the job description to learn more and apply yourself, or please pass this along to anyone you think might be a good fit.  This is a great chance for an experienced and talented IT professional who may be at a large company, to move to a small company environment but still work on leading edge technology.

Sales Executive, Additive Manufacturing, Utah

Stratasys_eden350_350wWe are in need of a new salesperson to represent Stratasys additive manufacturing (3D Printing) systems in Utah.  PADT has been laying the foundation for success in the state for a few years now and we are seeing strong potential sales for 2014, we just need to right person to keep growing the territory and to close the existing pipeline.  Learn more about becoming part of this revolutionary change in manufacturing by learning about the job here.

And don’t forget that we still have two other openings from the end of last year.  We have some good prospects on both but we were so busy that we did not have time to really act on them.  So there is still time to get new resumes submitted:

Experienced CFD Analysis Engineer
Electrical Engineer/Project Lead 

PADT’s Arizona Holiday Party: Celebrating 2013 and Looking Forward to 2014

photo 3Another year is winding down to a close and PADT’s Arizona staff gathered in Chandler for our annual holiday party. It is always nice to step outside of the cubical and talk with co-worker’s spouses, employees you don’t get to talk with at work, and even with the people you do spend all day with, but in a festive setting. We had already had dinners in Albuquerque and Denver, so it was now time for the bulk of the company to celebrate and reflect.

12191318392013 has been a great year for PADT.  We saw good growth across all of our businesses, doing more business with existing customers and adding a number of new customers.  Our core Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Manufacturing business all so new and exciting growth. Some highlights include:

  • Growing sales of Flownex for thermal-fluid simulation and CUBE systems for HPC
  • Several key new ANSYS, Inc. product customers have joined our user community
  • An explosion in interest in 3D Printing and the line of systems that PADT sells that resulted in a record number of new customers.
  • We saw significant growth in Product development with several large jobs started and a few others completed.  A typical project was the SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger.
  • The recent merger between Stratasys and Objet enabled PADT to begin offering PolyJet additive manufacturing systems.
  • We opened an office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, our second satellite office. We also moved into a larger facility in Littleton, Colorado.

After dinner we read this years gift exchange story… which maybe went a little long. But everyone ended up with something new and exciting to take home (and perhaps re-gift). The evening of great food and conversation was topped off with a little Info about Leicester race course and some recreational gambling. It turns out that some of us are luckier than others… and most of us still don’t really know how to play craps.

photo 1

As we cashed in our chips (those that still had chips) and gathered our gift-exchange presents (a talking Sheldon doll was this years big hit) many of us commented on how excited we are about 2014. Many of the investments that PADT has made in the past are starting to pay off and 2014 is looking to be a fantastic experience.

We wish all of you reading this a very Joyous Holiday Season and a peaceful and profitable 2014!

Christmas Right–Left Gift Exchange Story: SciFi Style

For our Christmas parties at PADT we generally have over 40 employees so a traditional secret Santa gift exchange takes to long. So a couple of years ago we downloaded a right-left gift exchange story from the internet and it was a big hit. We ran out of stories on the internet, so we started writing our own, usually in some sort of over-the-top style.  This year we may have gone way over the top with a SciFi story that involves an alien scouting party visiting  a new planet.  I got a little carried away and it is a bit long.

If you have never played this game before it is simple. Everyone gets their gift and forms a big circle in the middle of the room.  Someone with a strong voice reads the story and every the world LEFT is read, everyone passes the package they have to the left. Every time the world RIGHT is read, everyone passes the package they have to their right.  You should pause a bit at each LEFT/RIGHT to give people a chance to pass.  This year I also added a twist.  When you use the word TURN, everyone needs to spin 180 degrees.  Added complexity can make it more fun… or not.

We hope you get as many laughs out of it as we did.

You can find our Film Noir style story from last year here and a trashy Romance style story here.

BookCover

 

Winter’s Night Rediscovered

Left to their own devices, the Zalaks will in general, wonder right around the galaxy.  Captain F’Tool G’K’Right and his right hand man, and nestmate, leftenent P’Turn N’Tuk were lucky enough to have a job where they were paid to wonder around the galaxy.  It left them both with a sense of true satisfaction and a feeling that could only rightly be described as joy.

“P’Turn, where are we Right now?” asked captain G’K’Right. “Right now… let me see” muttered N’Tuk as he stared as his navigation console.  “We are approaching an inhabited planet referred to as Earth in the dominant language.”

G’K’Right asked: “Technological Status?”

“They appear to be right in the middle of the standard computational revolution, having just left a short nuclear period wherein the majority of the planet appears to have been left untouched by thermonuclear conflict” answered leftenent N’Tuk.  “Where should we land for our initial investigation?”

Captain G’K’Right tapped his right temple with his right foreclaw.  “hmmm…. This should not be left to chance, I think we should land in an uninhabited spot, right here” he said pointing at the nav screen with the same right foreclaw “right on top of the planet on this ice cap.”

“Right sir!” responded N’Tuk.  “Turning on landing engines, setting course left 237, right 124”

The ship shook violently, left to right, forward to aft, as it descended through the atmosphere of the planet.  Soon the ship slowed and stopped right above a huge ice ridge, looking down into a valley that should have been just snow. The crew looked at the right view screen, which showed sensor data.  It registered the expected uninhabited snow covered valley. But right there in front of them, on the left view screen, which showed a visual image, they were left with no doubt. The valley was filled, from left to right,  with a sprawling village.

The view left the captain stunned.  “Turn off the landing engines and set down right here. Leftenent N’Tuk, we are left with no choice but to go out and explore this anomaly with our left, right, and center eyes!”

A short time later the landing party stood in a large open square.  Their initial exploration had left them with the impression that the village had recently been abandoned.  They had also discovered that right beneath their tentacles was a huge industrial complex that was capable of manufacturing a staggering amount and variety of items.  It too had been recently left abandoned.

Captain G’K’Right looked around the square.  In the center a tall pole stood, stretch right up to the bottom of the clouds, wrapped in red and green stripes arranged in a right-handed spiral.  To the left of the pole, someone had left a pile of boxes wrapped in colorful paper. On the right of the pole was a giant green plant of some type that formed a cone shape and it had green and red decorations hanging from its branches.  As G’K’Right stared at it he realized it leaned a little to the right, the imperfection of which seemed someone how right.

“Right!” said the captain “Before we turn around and get back on our ship I want to understand why our sensors still read snow but we can see and touch a complete village and a gigantic manufacturing facility.”

Leftenent N’Tuk looked up from his portable sensor array, gazed left, gazed right, then gazed left again and said “Captain, I am left with no doubt.  It turns out that this whole area has a temporal damping field that obscures all non-biological sensing.  It is as if the sensors see what was right here about 3000 orbits of this planet around the sun ago.  But what we see and touch is what is here right now. The technology required has left me amazed.  The temporal generator appears to be right there on top of that pole”

The captain was about to order the disassembly of the pole when, on the horizon to the right, he saw a bright red light.  “Set up a defensive perimeter, right now!” he ordered.

The landing team formed an arc on the left of the square behind a low wall.  As they watched, the red light got brighter and what appeared to be 9 fur covered animals pulled a large red vehicle right across the sky.  Once again the captain was amazed.

The train of animals pulling the vehicle landed right in front of them in the square, where they realized that the red light was actually coming from an organ on the very tip of the lead animals head.  Soon, a door on the right side of the red vehicle opened and out streamed bipedal creatures dressed from head to toe in green. The creatures formed a lines that stretched from the left to the… other side of the square.  When several thousand had left the vehicle, a much larger, and rounder, bipedal creature came out of the opening and strode right up to the landing party.

He began to speak and the team’s universal translator translating what it heard into an earpiece they wore in their right ears:

“Hoo Hoo Hoo. Welcome my friends to the North Pole!  I’m sorry we left no one here to great you, but right now is the only night of the year where we are not home! Ho Ho Ho!  Your timing has left us un-prepared. Ho ho ho.”

Captain F’Tool G’K’Right strode forward to greet the large but friendly alien.  And then he stopped. A memory had popped right into his head that left him wondering.  He turned to and asked his right hand man, ” P’Turn, do you think, that this might possibly… , no it can’t be right. But the more I think the more I’m left without a doubt.  Could this be S’ta C’las?” As the captain looked at his childhood nest-friend, he remembered rushing with P’Turn into the nursery room on Winter’s Night to find gifts scattered under the Winters’ Night Mushroom… and a tear of joy formed in his right eye.

He turned just in time to see the bi-pedal alien morph before his eyes and become S’ta C’las.  In the Zelak language he heard S’Ta C’las say “N’ka, N’ka, N’ka. Merry Winter’s Night to you!  F’Tool G’K’Right, you have been a good little Zelak, N’ka, N’ka, N’ka,  and I welcome you to my home, right here on earth.  I of course knew you were coming so we left you and your crew something here, right beneath this tree.”

As the landing party rejoiced and rushed forward to put their tentacle right around S’ta C’las the captain realized, with a mystical and magical creature like this for every planet left with a civilization on its surface, no matter where his travels left him, he know that in the end, no matter how bleak the situation, no matter how difficult the challenges, no matter how deep the sadness, everything would turn out… right.

A Word on Files and Evil Missing Files in ANSYS Workbench Projects

image_232A while back I did a webinar on POST26 in ANSYS Mechanical APDL and using it with ANSYS Mechanical.  You know it was a while ago because… well… it was a webinar and I have not had time to do one of those for a long chunk of time now. Anyway, as usual the files used were placed on the blog in a posting.

Last night I got an email from a student in Australia who tried to use the file and found a problem with it.  Now this was cool for a couple of reasons: 1) anytime someone from the opposite side of the earth reaches out to communicate, that is just makes my day, and 2) someone not only read the posting, but they tried to use it. Sometimes the only way we know people are using the content we create is when the find a problem.  I’ll take it.

In figuring out what was wrong I figured it might be a good time to point out some things about the file manager in ANSYS Workbench, and how using it, you can fix the problem that this project had.

Projects – A Big Directory Tree of Folders and Files

ansys-workbench-project-filesIf you ever looked at the directory your project is stored in you will see a big old tree of folders and files.  All of the info needed or created for your project are stored in this directory tree. Why? Because the briliant thing about the project page is that it is designed to take all these different programs like ANSYS Mechanical, ICEM CFD, FLUENT, CFX, etc… and allow you to interact between them in a single tool set.  In that each program was written by a different group of developers, and most of them when those developers worked at different companies, each one has its own unique file structure, files that it needs, and way of organization them.   By giving each tool its own directory in the project, you can have the legacy data structure you need, but still keep all your files in one place where the project page actually knows where to find the information it needs.

Looking at your Files

This is done with the Files View in the Workbench Project page. By default it is hidden. Just go to View on the menu and click Files so it has a check next to it:

turn-on-files-ansys-workbench

We did a post in the past explaining all the things this view does for you.  Read it here.

Fixing a Missing File

If you should get the type of error message that our Australian friend got, you can easily remedy it with the files view.   If it is missing it will show up with a big red X next to it instead of its normal icon. The whole line will in fact be red.

If you Right Mouse Button on it you will see a couple of options:

  1. Repair “filename”:  This allows you to hunt and find the missing file. It should say “Identify Missing File” or some such, but repair works too.  Click on that, find your missing file, and you are good.
  2. Remove “filename” is what you use if you don’t need the file, it is gone, and you want to get on with your life.
  3. Open Containing Folder is nice because it will take you to the folder that the file is supposed to be in. You might poke around in there and figure out what is going on.

fix-file-ansys-workbench

 

That is it.  Hopefully I made a mistake somewhere and someone from Argentina will email letting us know. I don’t believe we have been contacted by a user in Argentina.

‘Tis the Season: PADT Holiday Dinners for New Mexico and Colorado Offices

albq-xmas-13One of the best parts of having other offices is that we get to visit during the Holiday Season and have small dinners with the employees, families. (And even a lapsed employee and spouse sneak in now and then) This year we enjoyed dinner in Old Town Albuquerque with the New Mexico Staff and their Significant Others, then headed up to Denver for dinner with the Colorado Staff and family. It kind of reminds us of what it was like in the early days of PADT when we could all sit around one table. We had a great year with good growth in both states, and hope to see more people around the tables next year!

denver-xmas-13

 

CUBE Systems are Now Part of the ANSYS, Inc. HPC Partner Program

CUBE-HVPC-Logo-wide_thumb.png

The relationship between ANSYS, Inc. and PADT is a long one that runs deep. And that relationship just got stronger with PADT joining the HPC Partner Program with our line of CUBE compute systems specifically designed for simulation. The partner program was set up by ANSYS, Inc. to work:

CUBE-HVPC-512-core-closeup3-1000h_thumb.jpg“… with leaders in high-performance computing (HPC) to ensure that the engineering simulation software is optimized on the latest computing platforms. In addition, HPC partners work with ANSYS to develop specific guidelines and recommended hardware and system configurations. This helps customers to navigate the rapidly changing HPC landscape and acquire the optimum infrastructure for running ANSYS software. This mutual commitment means that ANSYS customers get outstanding value from their overall HPC investment.”

CUBE-HVPC-512-core-stairs-1000h_thumb.jpg

PADT is very excited to be part of this program and to contribute to the ANSYS/HPC community as much as we can.  Users know they can count on PADT’s strong technical expertise with ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Mechanical APDL, ANSYS FLUENT, ANSYS CFX, ANSYS Maxwell, ANSYS HFSS, and other ANSYS, Inc. products, a true differentiator when compared with other hardware providers.

Customers around the US have fallen in love with their CUBE workstations, servers, mini-clusters, and clusters finding them to be the right mix between price and performance. CUBE systems let users carry out larger simulations, with greater accuracy, in less time, at a lower cost than name-brand solutions. This leaves you more cash to buy more hardware or software.

Assembled by PADT’s IT staff, CUBE computing systems are delivered with the customer’s simulation software loaded and tested. We configure each system specifically for simulation, making choices based upon PADT’s extensive experience using similar systems for the same kind of work. We do not add things a simulation user does not need, and focus on the hardware and setup that delivers performance.

CUBE-HVPC-512-core-front1-1000h_thumb.jpg

Is it time for you to upgrade your systems?  Is it time for you to “step out of the box, and step in to a CUBE?”  Download a brochure of typical systems to see how much your money can actually buy, visit the website, or contact us.  Our experts will spend time with you to understand your needs, your budget, and what your true goals are for HPC. Then we will design your custom system to meet those needs.

 

The 10 Coolest New Features in R15 of ANSYS Mechanical APDL

On Tuesday we posted on what I thought were the 10 coolest features in ANSYS Mechanical for R15. Now it is time to take a good look at ANSYS Mechanical APDL, or MAPDL (classic ANSYS, black window ANSYS, or my favorite: ANSYS).  The developers have been very busy and added a lot of useful features, and there are a large number of “Oh Yes!” capabilities in this release that different groups of users will be very excited about.  For this posting though, we are going to stay focused on the things that impact larger groups of users and/or expand capability in the code.  As always, you can learn more by attending one of the many upcoming ANSYS webinars or reading the release notes in the help.

image1: Rezoning Enhancements and Additions

This is my favorite change in R15, a mix of some improvements and some new capabilities. The whole idea of rezoning is that when you have a part that sees a large amount deformation, the mesh often gets very distorted. It often gets so distorted that the elements are no longer accurate and crazy strains are calculated and the element literally blows up.  Or it turns inside out and generates an error in the solver.

Rezoning has been around for a while but at this release some holes are plugged and some big advances are made.  The first change was a hole plug, you can now rezone areas that contain surface effect  (SURF153/154) elements.  It is very common to have that type of load on highly distorted geometry, so this is welcomed.

The next change was adding mesh splitting for 3D  tetrahedral elements. This is used for manual rezoning with the REMESH command. It was available before with 2D elements.  The 2D example from the manual shows it best:

image

The advantage of this approach is that the subsequent stress field that is placed upon the new mesh is already accurate at the nodes that existed for the original mesh, and are fairly accurately interpolated for the new nodes.  When you read in a completely new mesh, you have to interpolate the stress field and then iterate till the stresses are accurate.  This approach can be much faster.

The third and best addition is Automatic Rezoning or Mesh Nonlinear Adaptivity.  This process is completely automatic and does not require the user interaction that rezoning does.  Both splitting and remeshing are used. You can turn remeshing on based upon position, energy levels, or contact conditions.

Here is an example from the user manual:

seal2

And here is an example that ANSYS, Inc. is showing on the new :

Seal_Squish1

image2: Bolt Thread Modeling

Modeling bolt threads.  Classic newby mistake right?  They model threads on 37 bolts and then try and set up contact on all of them.  Never goes well does it. ANSYS MAPDL has had a bolt modeling capability for some time that allows you to simulate a bolt as a cylinder with preload and everything. But what that approximation missed was the fact that the contact is at an angle that is not normal to the cylinder surface.

At R15 you can now specify your thread geometry and the contact algorithm will calculate the proper normal and contact pattern for the contact forces. Much more efficient. There is a great example in the Technology Demonstration Guide, Section 39, showing all three approaches: model the threads in the mesh, use the new contact threads, or just bond the threaded area.

image

Needless to say we will be doing an in-depth posting on this one in the future.

image3: Mode-Superposition for Harmonic Analysis of Cyclic Structures

I started my career in turbomachinary and from day one, one of the holy grails was to be able to do a harmonic analysis using blade pressure loads from a CFD run: getting the actual stresses in the blades caused by the varying aerodynamic load as they spun around and dealt with variations caused by passing frequencies and resonance in the flow itself.  It was always doable as a full 360 model on both the CFD and structural side. And you could have done it using the full method for a few releases.  But now we can use cyclic symmetry and mode-superposition.

The ANSYS MAPDL side of things is released in R15.  You can take your complex loading info from CFD and apply that as a load on your blades using the new /MAP pre-processor (see below), a bit of a pain to do in the past.  The other big change was making it all work with modal-superposition.  The grail is almost complete.

image4: Arc Length

This is one of those things buried in the code that the user really doesn’t have to do anything to benefit from. If you are not familiar with the method, it is an approach used on non-linear problems using the Newton-Raphson method. Most solves use other methods,  but for things like non-linear buckling it is a better method. Check out 14.12 in the Theory Reference for the math and all that.

The bottom line at R15 is that they changed the algorithm to use the Crisfield Method and to avoid Driftback.  What it means to you the user is those nasty non-linear buckling problems that always seem to have a hard time converging, or that require really small steps to converge, should converge now or converge faster.

image5: Mode Selection

This is another one of those advanced options that users of other solvers have been asking for in the past. When you do a modal analysis that produces a ton of modes, you often want to ignore the majority of them and focus on the few modes that are strong or that get excited.  In the past you could specify a range only, and only one range. At R15 you can now select which modes to use in modal-superposition analysis.  You can decide which modes to use based on the modal effective mass, the mode coefficient, or the DDAM Procedure. Or, if you have your own criteria, you can use APDL to create a table that specifies a 1 for keep, and a 0 for toss. Very handy.

image6: Acoustics Enhancements

This is really not one new feature, but an overall continuation of adding functionality to the acoustics capability in ANSYS MAPDL. For decades, this capability was not really focused on advanced acoustic modeling. But over the last couple of releases we have seen added functionality that put the functionality on a par with specialty acoustics codes.

The key enhancements at R15 are:

  • Frequency-dependent acoustic material properties
  • Surface impedance can be frequency-dependent
  • A new boundary layer impedance (BLI) model is available for visco-thermo fluids modeling
  • A wider range of units are now supported for acoustics, including support for user defined units (/UNITS)
  • Many enhancements for coupling acoustics with CFD for FSI
  • New postprocessing commands for calculating acoustics specific information like sound power level, A-weighted sound pressure level (dBA), and return loss, and transmission loss, amongst others.

image

image7: Shape Memory on Beam, Shell and Plane Strain

For whatever reason shape memory alloys have always fascinated me, and being able to simulate them accurately is very important for those that use the material in their products. Development has been adding more and more functionality in this area for many releases.  The material has two unique properties: it is super elastic and it has a memory effect.

With R15 development rounds out the capabilities with full support for beam and shell elements, adding the memory behavior.  This is important, and warrants top 10 status for me, because many of the geometries we have worked on that use Nitinol (the most common shape memory alloy) are made with wires.  In the past you had to model them in 3D, now we can use beams.  Faster, more accurate, etc…

image

image8: RSTMAC to Experimental Data

Something we should all be doing more is comparing our FEA results to experimental data. One excuse we often use is that it is too hard to compare the data from a vib test to our modal analysis results. Well, that is no longer to. The RSTMAC command has been modified to not only compare to ANSYS result files, but to also read the old Universal file format for results. Yipee!

Why that format? Because back in the days when SDRC was SDRC and IDEAS was their prep/post tool, they had some awesome result comparison tools. So a lot of test software out there writes to the file that IDEAS read, the Universal file.  If your software does not write to a Universal file, the key info you need is in the user manual: Basic Analysis Guide, section 7.3.8.5.  and here is a link to some documentation on it.

image

image9: Mapping Processor

It has been a long time since ANSYS, Inc. has added a new processor to ANSYS Mechanical APDL.  /PREP7, /SOLVE, /POST26.  So it was kind of cool to see that they are creating a new mapping processor called /MAP that will be a place for you to do load mapping. At this initial release, it maps surface pressures as a point cloud from a CFD model onto your mechanical model.

Under the hood it is actually just the algorithms used in the *MOPER APDL function.  But now it is exposed in through its own set of commands so that users don’t have to script their load mapping. And it supports imaginary loading for that fancy cyclic-symmetry stuff some of us need to do. As you can imagine, this needs its own article, but here are the high points:

  • Enter the processor with /MAP
  • Your model must have surface effect elements (SURF154) elements paved onto the outside of where you want the pressures.

 

  • Specify the nodes you want to map the pressures on to with the TARGET command
  • You can provide pressures in a variety of formats (specified with the FTYPE command):

 

  • CFX Transient Blade Row format is made by CFX and contains real and imaginary terms
  • The standard output file from ANSYS CFDPost
  • A fixed format file that has x, y, z, and pressure, and yes, you can specify the actual format in FORTRAN using the READ command
  • And of course the trusty comma delimited file format: x, y, z, pressure.

 

  • The READ command specifies some other parameters and reads in the point based pressure data.
  • They have given us a PLGEOM command to view the target nodes and the point cloud on top of each other so you can see if things are aligned
  • A whole slew of /PREP7 like commands to edit and move your point cloud data. Basically they are treated as nodes and you manipulate them like nodes. They are just nodes with a pressure assigned to them.
  • When everything is good, use MAP to actually do the interpolation.
  • View the results with PLMAP
  • When you are happy, save the pressures as SFE commands using WRITEMAP

 

There is no GUI interface for this yet.  It was put into place to support some advanced FSI modeling of turbomachinery, but it benefits all users.  We hope to see more in this new module in future releases.  Here is an example we were playing with at PADT:

image

image

Image10: Performance Enhancements, Including GPU Stuff

Last but certainly not least are the enhancements to solver performance that we have come to expect. New compilers, optimized code, and new hardware all come together to deliver better bang for your ANSYS buck.  There is a ton in there, all documented in section 2.3.1 of the ANSYS, Inc. Release Notes part of the help.  The highlights are:

  • The sparse solver now has some sophisticated error detection for handling singular or near singular matrices.  This should keep you from solving poorly constrained models, or models with really messed up elements. Do note, some models that ran in the past, maybe with a warning, will now not solve. This is a good thing since the matrices are not good
  • Better domain decomposition for distributed ANSYS, especially for larger core counts.
  • The subspace method has been added for solving modal analysis.  It is well suited for larger problems and runs well distributed.
  • Switching to the new Intel compiler has resulted in a 30% faster solve time on some problems when using Sandy Bridge Intel processors.
  • Harmonic analyses solves using the full method have been improved, resulting into up to 40% improvements in solve time.
  • The Intel Xeon Phi coprocessor is now supported – we have no data yet on the performance but will try and get some as soon as we can
  • The latest NVIDIA Kepler GPU’s are now supported and the sparse solver has been improved again to take advanged of the Kepler GPU’s.

CUBE HVPC 512 Core System

Thoughts

The hard part for me in writing this posting was picking the top 10. There are a lot of significant enhancements but few are world changing. Most improve existing technologies, provide functionality for a subset of users, or fill a hole in capability.  Taken as a whole though, they show ANSYS, Inc.’s strong commitment to core technology: new elements, new material models, faster solves, expanded advanced capability, etc…

The end result is giving greater power to the user through greater depth and breadth.  And in the end, isn’t this why we use ANSYS Mechanical APDL in the first place – the incredible breadth and depth of capability it offers?  Scrolling back up through the images you have to admit, this is some pretty cool stuff.

The 10 Coolest New Features in R15 of ANSYS Mechanical

It’s that time of year again, time for a new release of ANSYS, Inc’s products.  R15 is being released in stages to the user community this week so we thought we would take some time to point out ten features in R15 of ANSYS Mechanical that we find useful, important, or just plain cool.  There are a ton of new features and we will try and cover most of them in the coming months, but these are the ones we felt every user should know about.

This posting will focus on features in ANSYS Mechanical that are unique to ANSYS Mechanical.  Later this week or next week we will do the same for ANSYS Mechanical APDL, and we will cover solver changes that impact ANSYS Mechanical there as well.

image1: Mesh Based Geometry

This is by far the most far-reaching enhancement in R15.  A fundamental limitation of ANSYS Mechanical from the beginning was the requirement that you had to have a valid BREP geometry that can be correctly meshed in ANSYS Mechanical. For most problems this is fine, you have a CAD model, you mesh it, and you move on.  But there are often situations where you have a legacy model or a mesh from another source that you want to use. And in such cases you were just stuck. Most things in ANSYS Mechanical work on geometry and if you just have a mesh, and no geometry, there area not a lot of options.

No longer.  Yipidee yapidee dooooooo daaaa!!!!  That gets a leap for joy gif:

It works through an External Model system in the Workbench project page.  There are a slew of options to copy, translate, change units, etc.. for the model. However, the most important option is the tolerance angle. The way the mesh geometry import works is that it takes the external faces of your mesh and treats them as facets. Any facets that have an angle less than the tolerance angle are considered to be on the same face. Any angle greater than the tolerance treats the edge between facets as an edge on a face.  This is key to understanding how using an mesh in Mechanical works.

I’ll resist the temptation to get into the details and save that for a future posting where we can dig deep. 

To prove it out I searched my hard drive for old *.DB files and found one from 2001. A generic turbine blade ad disk model I made for some cyclic-symmetry testing ANSYS was doing.  Here is what is looks like in ANSYS Mechanical APDL:

image

And here it what it looks like in ANSYS Mechanical:

image

That is a sight for sore eyes.  It’s not perfect, the trailing edge muffs things up a big because the mesh is a bit coarse there. But a little work playing with the tolerance angle and/or named selections in MAPDL and that can be cleaned up. More on that in that promised post on this capability.  Here is a wireframe where you can see the internal cooling passages, and the funky elements.

image

Changing the tolerance from the default 45deg to 55deg cleans up most of the problems:

image

image2: Assembly Mechanical Models

A related capability to the mesh geometry mentioned above is the ability to create an assembly of multiple external models (mesh based) and other Mechanical Models.

You can take as many External Model, Mechanical Model, or various Analysis systems as you want, and feed them all into a new mechanical model or any analysis system you want to use them in. ANSYS, Inc. provided this really cool example of a model of a pad lock:

image

As much information as is possible is transferred over, depending on what makes sense.  Also note that you can apply transformations and units conversions to each model, so if you build your parts in different coordinate systems, you can move them around and get them set up when you build the assembled model.

image3: Parallel Meshing by Part

The first step in making meshing fully parallel in ANSYS Mechanical has been released in R15: parallel part meshing.  Basically, if you have more than one part, the program will mesh each part on its own CPU.  So if you have 8 cores and 6 parts, it will mesh on 6 cores at one time.  The default setting is 0, which tells the program to run on as many cores as it can.  Most users will want to keep it there, but if you do a lot of models with lots of large parts, you may want to set it at N-1 where N is the number of cores on your machine.  Leave one open to watch YouTube on while you are meshing.

The settings are in Tools->Options->Meshing->Meshing->Meshing->Number of CPUs for Meshing Methods

image4: Mechanical Shortcut Keys

You may love this one, or it may generate a “Meh.”  Shortcut Keys are almost a religious thing.  If you are on the “true believer” side then you now can use function and control keys to do the following actions:

Tree Outline Actions

F1: opens the Mechanical User’s Guide.
F2: rename a selected tree object.
Ctrl + S: save the project.

Graphics Actions

F6: toggles between the Shaded Exterior and Edges, Shaded Exterior, and Wireframe views
F7: executes Zoom to Fit option
F8: hide selected faces.
F9: hide selected bodies.
Ctrl + A: selects all entities based on the active selection filter (bodies, faces, edges, vertices, nodes).

Selection Filters

Ctrl + B: activate Body selection.
Ctrl + E: activate Edge selection.
Ctrl + F: activate Face selection.
Ctrl + P: activate Vertex selection.

Even if you are not a Shortcut Key acolyte, the selection filters and the F7 options look pretty useful.

image5: Element Selection and Grouping

In the last release the developers at ANSYS, Inc. gave users full access to nodes in ANSYS Mechanical. At R15 they have opened up access to elements.  Using the term “opened up access” is a bit misleading, they did not just change a parameter from FALSE to TRUE and boom, you have elements.  It was a major change to how data is stored and accessed in the program. 

Selecting works as you would expect, just like nodes. You choose “Select Mesh” from the Select Type icon:

image

Then you choose the Select “Body/Element” from the type choices (the green cube).  Here is where you can use those shortcuts: Ctrl + B selects it for you. Now you can pick elements or use box select to get what you want.

Names selections for elements work just like nodes.  Very useful indeed. And they do get converted to components in Mechanical APDL, avoiding that annoying snippet where you had to convert a nodal component into an element component.

image6: Mapping Enhancements

One feature set in ANSYS Mechanical that makes users of other ANSYS products jealous are the mapping tools. And at this release they got even better, adding more functionality, feedback, and making some beta features released features. If you are not familiar with mapping tools, they allow you to take a load specified on points in space, and interpolate that load on to your model. Again, this is a topic worthy of its own posting, but here are the highlights:

  • Support for Velocity
  • Support for Initial Stress or Strain
  • Support for Body Force Density (forces from an electromagnetic solution)
  • Pressure can now be applied to nodes as well as to elements
  • Acoustic loads from a Harmonic Response Analysis can be mapped as velocities
  • UV Mapping is now available for surfaces that don’t really line up.

That last one, UV Mapping, may be one of the more powerful. It is not that uncommon for you to get pressures on a surface that does not really sit on your model surface.

image7: Better Control of Hydrostatic Pressure

This is pretty specialized, but if you work on parts that see hydrostatic loading you always had to play around with APDL snippets to get the control you needed.  At R15 they have added those controls into the program for us.

image

The first addition is that you can turn the pressure on and off for a given load step.  This is not necessarily done in an intuitive way, but it works.  Select the step in the graph or in the table when you have the load selected in the tree. Then Right Mouse Button to get the context menu and activate or deactivate the load. It doesn’t show anything in the table, but it does show on the graph that the load is turned off.  Note, you can’t change the acceleration, you can only turn it on or off.

The second addition is simply that the values for fluid density and magnitude are parameters.

image

image8: Multiple GPU Support, and Intel Phi Support

GPU usage for ANSYS Mechanical solves is growing.  We are seeing good enhancements in performance at every release, and R15 is no exception.  But that is solver stuff and I said we would not talk about solver stuff…  What is important in this area for ANSYS Mechanical users is that you can now specify more than one GPU for a solve, and at R15 the new Intel Phi coprocessor, which is really not a GPU, is supported. You access the control, and all settings for HPC, under Tools-> Solve Process Settings-> Advanced.  Note that there are different settings for solving interactive and in the background.

image

image9: Follower Load for Rigid Body Dynamics

Because Rigid Body Dynamics are, well rigid body dynamics, they are generally inherently large deflection.  When you apply a load to an object you usually want that load to move with the objects motion, to follow it.  In the past, you had to create a dummy rigid part and apply a pressure to get this.  Now at R15 you can set “Follower Load” to yes in the details view for a Remote Force and it will go along for the ride.  If you do RBD, this is critical.

image

image10: Bearing Enhancements

The last item on our top ten list for this release are improvements to modeling bearings in ANSYS Mechanical. The ANSYS Mechanical APDL solver supports a wide range of bearing capabilities, and with this release most of them are now exposed in ANSYS Mechanical. 

The big change is that all of the solvers that support bearings are now supported in ANSYS Mechanical. In the past, it was only modal analysis. Now you can simplify your model and get the proper stiffness and damping of your bearing for transient, static, and any other type of run you want to do.

As you would expect with the support of the bearing joint on the pre-processing side, they have added a probe that allows you to get key information out of your bearing after the solve. Since a bearing joint is basically two spring-dampers, you can get spring type info for each spring: elastic force, damping force, elongation, and velocity (for transient runs).

Thoughts

If you look at this list you should notice one common thread, that most of these changes are not general, they are for specific analysis types.  As time has gone by ANSYS Mechanical has grown and matured, and there are less and less basic or general features that need to be added. So now we are in to the fun stuff, digging down into the nitty gritty and exposing more and more of the most powerful solver available (ANSYS Mechanical APDL), through what is the most powerful user interface for structural mechanics, ANSYS Mechanical.

Two Rocky Mountain Region Startups from Tucson Win Awards at 2013 Cleantech Open

CleantechOpen-2013-Logo

The 2013 Global Forum for the Cleantech Open was held this week in San Jose, California.  As a business accelerator competition, the purpose of the forum is to not only get startups, mentors, and investors working on Cleantech technology together at a single forum, but also to choose winners from a variety of categories for the competition. And the Rocky Mountain Region, Arizona, and Tucson did very well.

Here is the official press release announcing the winners:

CleantechOpen-2013-winners

This year we were pleased to see that two Tucson Arizona based companies that worked their way through the Rocky Mountain region received awards:

  • HJ3 Composites from Tucson was a runner up for the Cleantech Open 2013 Grand Prize and was the National Winner for the Chemicals and Advanced Materials category.  HJ3 Composites manufactures, engineers, and installs advanced composite systems that have been used on over 10,000 successful applications worldwide.
  • Grannus, also based in Tucson, was the runner up for the 2013 National Sustainability Award. They have a unique process for creating nitrogen fertilizer (urea).

Unfortunately other business kept PADT from attending this years forum, which was a big disappointment for us. We would have loved to stand with two other Arizona companies showing off the advanced technology that is coming out of our home state.

PADT is a regional sponsor of the Cleantech Open, supporting the competition in the Rocky Mountain region with funds, mentoring, and in-kind services.  This years regional finalists were a strong group that really stood out at the national competition.  Looking at the other winners, it seems that Arizona tied California with two winners each this year.

Nice job all around. We look forward to further encouraging technology companies in Arizona as well as the rest of the Southwest, especially those with technologies that can have a positive impact on the world.  The next crop of participants should be just as exciting, and we can not wait to see how they do at the 2014 competition.

Arizona GCOI, Another Enjoyable Evening of Tech

PADT was pleased to be a participant in the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation (#GCOI) for the third time last night. GCOI is an awards ceremony and a gathering to celebrate all things tech in Arizona.  This year it was up on the third floor of the West Building of the Phoenix Convention Center, affording great views of downtown.

PADT had a booth:

GCOI-2013-PADT-Booth

And we also made the awards again this year. But as usually, we forgot to take any pictures… so here is one of the host, Robin Sewell, gave PADT a great shout out, and even got our name right:

GCOI-2013-Robin-Sewel-Mentions-PADT

As always, we were very pleased to see one of PADT’s customers, and a company that PADT is an Angel investor in, receive an award:

Innovator of the Year – Small Company: Strongwatch Corporation, of Tucson, which focuses on the tactical mobile surveillance and continuous autonomous surveillance segments of the video surveillance market.

Sponsorship was once again very strong, and PADT was honored to be listed with so many great companies:

GCOI-2013-Sponsors

 

AZTechBeat.com has a great slideshow that you should check out to see who was there, and see happy winners holding their PADT made trophy in their hands.

It was great to see old friends a make a few new ones.  The Arizona technology community is full of smart, creative, motivated people who are making a difference in the state, and around the world. The co-sponsors, the Arizona Technology Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority, have really done a great job on this event and growing a stronger and more vibrant technology community.

GCOI-2013-Eric-PADT-Booth

 

Press Release: Free Thermal-Fluid Simulation Training Offered to Mark Growing Usage in the US and Demonstrate Advantages of Flownex Simulation Environment

987786-flownex_simulation_environment-11_12_13PADT is getting the word out about growing usage of the Flownex Simulation Environment in the US, and marking that growth with some free training in January. If our previous avalanche of marketing did not embed it in your memory, Flownex is a simulation tool used to model thermal-fluid systems.  PADT is the distributor for Flownex in the US and we really like this tool.  It is powerful, easy to use, and easily integrates with other tools like ANSYS, FLUENT, Excel, Matlab/Simulink, etc…

As part of a real marketing effort (I was being sarcastic about the avalanche), we have sent out the following press release:

PressRelease-Screen

We also created a new video that gives a brief introduction to Flownex. If you are still wondering what exactly Flownex is, this is a great place to start:

987786-flownex_multistage_compressor-11_12_13As is mentioned in the release, we are offering two free training classes as part of this effort.  These two day classes are a bit different than the standard Flownex introduction training in that they are more focused on giving you the skills you need to understand and try the Flownex out on your own – so a little more breadth and a little less depth.  After completing the class you will receive a 45 day licence. Our technical support team will also be available to help you as you try the tool out on your real problem.

The first class is being held in our Littleton, Colorado office on January 13 and 14, 2014 (REGISTER) and the second is at our main office in Tempe, Arizona on January 23 and 24, 2014 (REGISTER).   Space is limited so make sure you sign up early.

987786-flownex_powerplant_thermal-fluid-model-1-11_12_13We can honestly say that everyone that has seriously looked at Flownex has been pleased and has quickly learned that this tool is easy to learn, easy to use, and very capable.

987786-flownex_two_phase_flow-11_12_13Contact Roy Haynie (roy.haynie@padtinc.com) to learn more.

New Case Study: Product Development for Satellite GPS Messenger

Spot-Gen3-FrontOnPADT recently added a new case study to our website that is worth sharing.  Our involvement in the development of the new SPOT Gen3 Satellite GPS Messenger was a fantastic example of PADT bringing a wide range of engineering resources to a single project: Industrial Design, Mechanical Design, Simulation, Testing, Vendor Management, Rapid Prototyping, and Manufacturing Consulting.

Download the Case Study

In the words of the customer:

“PADT has been like an extension of our own design team and totally understood our unique product design constraints from the get go.  Despite ever evolving product requirements and short design cycles, they managed to stick to their original schedule and provide a successful product design.  Additionally, their ability to coordinate with our overseas manufacturing partner has proved invaluable for getting through the difficult last stages of high volume mass production.”

– Eric Blanchard, Senior Design Engineer, Globalstar Inc.” 

It is always rewarding to see a product we worked on for sale to the general public:

Globalstar-WebPageSPOT-Gen3-Amazon-Page

The following for images show some of the contributions we were able to make:

PADT-Spot-3-Design-Analysis-RP

First are the Industrial Design rendering along with an initial sketch. PADT worked with an Industrial Designer to realize the customer’s ergonomic and style needs.

Next is a view of the CAD model used. The entire product assembly was designed as an accurate 3D CAD model to enable faster downstream processes and meet stringent assembly and packaging demands.

The third image shows results from one of the FEA simulations done on a key component. Simulation was used to drive the design of critical components, avoiding testing and redesign further in the product development process.

And finally we share an image of one of the prototype models PADT made in house as part of this project. PADT’s in-house Rapid Prototyping capabilities were used to create multiple product models for fit, form, function, and style evaluation.

PADT can bring these capabilities, and many more, to help you bring your product to market. We can assist on the whole project or just provide resources where they are needed.

PADT can bring these capabilities, and many more, to help you bring your product to market. We can assist on the whole project or just provide resources where they are needed.

Contact us to Learn More

PADT Part of “Made in Tempe” Exhibit at Tempe History Museum

Museum6

When you are a small company, there are a lot of things you expect to happen. Being in a history museum is not one of them.  This past November 8th  PADT was featured in the latest exhibition at the Tempe History Museum: Made in Tempe.

photo-3b

It is a strange thing to stroll through a museum, chatting with a docent, and turn the corner and see something you worked on sitting inside a display case. Then, looking up seeing a display describing who PADT is and what we do was a bit emotional.  But the best part was when a visitor comes up and start reading next to you, and then asks out loud “what is that white thing in the middle, are those gears, was that made on a 3D Printer?” And with a bit of a lump in your throat, replying “Why yes, yes it was.” That very moment was capture by someone from the museum in this image:

Museum2

As the museum points out on their website:

“Most people think of Tempe as the home of Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake and Mill Avenue, but Tempe is also the location for hundreds of manufacturing companies, ranging from hot sauce to heart defibrillators and the Tempe History Museum wants to honor their role in the progress of this city.”

And don’t forget Four Peaks Brewing… definitely some great company to keep.

The attendance was very strong, with many people involved in the Museum, the City of Tempe, and technology spending their Friday night mingling and learning about all of the companies.

Here we see Josh mingling with the other guests:

Museum5

 

The highlight of the evening was to cut the ribbon and officially open the “Made in Tempe” Exhibition, standing with fellow Tempe business owners and executives:

Museum1We are very pleased to be based here in Tempe, Arizona.  It is a great home for companies of all types, but especially technology companies who want a city government that actually gets high-tech, gets the need to have good infrastructure and strong schools, supports a world class university, and makes the type of investments that result in a great environment for long term growth.

PADT is proud to now be part of the city’s official history and especially proud to be “Made in Tempe.”