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:

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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:

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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:

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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:

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And here it what it looks like in ANSYS Mechanical:

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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.

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

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

 

Making Charts and Tables in ANSYS Mechanical

imageOne of the nicer features in ANSYS Mechanical is the fact that when you enter in any type of tabular data, or look at any type of tabular results, you can view it as a table or as a graph.  But what if you want to make your own graph, maybe even viewing values from two different solutions?  ANSYS Mechanical has a little used feature called “New Chart and Table” that will allow you to make a table or a graph (chart) of quantities in your model tree that make sense when displayed as a graph or table: Time, loads applied over time, and results over time.

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I have found myself exporting data to excel and making graphs all the time. And this is OK if you just do it once. But if you make a change to the model, you need to export again and redo your graph.  The Chart and Table function makes this an automatic step, right there in your model tree.

For this posting, we will just use a simple plasticity bending example. We hold the bottom of a round bar with a grove cut in the bottom part and push on the top with forces.

In its simplest form the “Chart and Table” duplicates what you see in the graph and Tabular Data windows when you click on a load or a result. Here is what you get when you click on a displacement:

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And if you select the probe in the tree and click on the “New Chart and Table” icon you get:

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No woop.  But even if I want to just plot one value, I can now customize the look of the graph a bit.  Take a look at the Details for the Chart:

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With the Chart Controls you can define what is shown on the X axis; if you want lines, points or both with Plot Style, log or linear scale, and if you want horizontal, vertical, neither, or both gridlines.

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This is what it looks like if I turn on both gridlines and use a log scale for the Y Axis.

Next, we can add axis labels with “Axis Labels:”

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The “Report” Section tells the program what to do when a report is generated. By Default you get a table and a graph.  But you can do either, both, or you can suppress it in the report.  You can give the plot and/or table in the report a caption by filling in the Caption field.  It comes out nice:

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Note that it actually includes a legend in the report. If you want the legend when you are looking at a graph interacively, just Right Mouse Button on the graph and choose “Show Legend” to turn it on:

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Note that the legend shows the name of the branch in the tree. That is not very informative. So I change it to something useful and now the legend is useful:

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So even with a basic graph, we can do a lot. But the real power is when you want to look at more. Let’s say I want to plot the force and the stress over time. I create a new chart with the icon then select the force and the stress results as my “Outline Selection”

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I get a lot of stuff on my graph. That is because the program starts by plotting all the components for the load, and all max and min stress over time for the result. I simply change the ones I don’t want from “Display” to “Omit.”  Then I get:

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Much more useful.  Note that it does not create two separate Y axis. Instead it normalizes the values between the min and max for each. This is not ideal, and hopefully in the future they will support multiple axis, but it still works for most cases when you want to compare things. Note that I renamed the branches in my tree so they show up in the legend correctly.  Next I will add some labels and turn on gridlines.

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We have been neglecting the table. It also gets created:

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As with any table in ANSYS Mechanical, it can be exported to Excel. So if you find yourself grabbing data from multiple input or result tables and pasted them into Excel, make a Chart and Table item to grab all the data you want in one place, then export it once.  To be honest, the quality of the graphs that are made are good enough for engineering, but maybe not good enough for a presentation. By making a Chart & Table of what you need, then exporting to Excel or some other graphing tool, you can still save a lot of time.

Next, let us look at plotting values from multiple simulations.  If you look at the tree, you will notice that the charts are a child of the model, not the simulations.  This signals that we can show data form the same model, but different simulations:

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In our example I’ve simply made one with a tip force in the Y direction, and one with a tip force in the X direction. And I can show that by making a chart:

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And I get a table:

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HINT: If you want to make a single table or chart that shows all your input loads over time, in a single simulation or across multiple simulations, this is the way to do it.  If I add a third simulation where I vary the load in all three directions, I can capture all three cases in one table:

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These examples show loads. Here is what it looks like if we review the deflection on the tip probe over time for two simulations:

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Or mash it all up, and show stress and deflection for both cases:

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In every case so far we have used time (Load Step for static) as our X axis. But you can put any value you want on the X axis.  Here is Force applied vs Tip Deflection:

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Make sure you turn off Time and loads you don’t want to see.  This is a great way to plot hysteresis effects.

You may notice the plots in this posting are nice and big and have a good aspect ratio. And your screen looks like this:

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Every window in ANSYS Mechanical can be dragged out of the frame and positioned/sized however you want. So I pull off the Graph window by itself and resize it to the aspect ratio I want. Now when I want to save the image all I have to do is select that window and hit Alt-Print Screen. The image is now stored in the clipboard and I can past it where I want.

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To get the normal window configuration back, click View>Windows>Reset Layout.

As always, play with it to figure more out. I’ve included my simple test case in case you want to play with it first:

Three Open Jobs at PADT – CFD Engineer, BusOps, QA Engineer

PADT-Company-2013-04-30-4As all aspects of our business continue to thrive, we find ourselves in need of three new employees to join the PADT team in our Tempe, Arizona headquarters.  Two are brand new postings and the third is a position we have been looking to fill for some time. Please feel free to forward this information on to anyone you think might be interested in helping us “… Make Innovation Work.”

Part Time Medical Device Quality Engineer: Part-time and/or contract Quality Engineer to support our  quality management system (QMS) in our Medical Device Group.

Product Support Business Operations Administrator: This position manages the business logistics required for PADT’s 3D Printer customer support and service team.

Experienced CFD Analysis Engineer: Engineer with 8-25 years of experience in the area of CFD simulation to join our Simulation Services team providing analysis services, technical support, training, and mentoring to our customers around the world. Must be a US Citizen or Legal Resident and have turbomachinery experience.

 

PADT Shows Golf “Participation” at Annual Phoenix Society of Manufacturing Engineers Tournament

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PADT has a great reputation for a lot of things: ANSYS expertise, the people solve those tough engineering problems in product development, outstanding knowledge and quality in rapid prototyping, the knowledge and enthusiasm of our employees. Notice that golf is not listed in there. It is still not listed.

This last Saturday was the annual Phoenix Chapter 067 Society of Manufacturing Engineers Golf Tournament. This well attended event is held to raise money towards scholarships for Manufacturing Engineering students at Arizona State University.  A great cause and the turnout was awesome with eighteen foursomes hitting the fairways at the Arizona Grand Resort. The picture above shows John, Brad, and Eric posing at the hole that PADT sponsored.  Our fourth player prefers to remain anonymous.

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John-GolfPADT hired the bulk of our manufacturing team from the ASU program and we support their efforts to educate future leaders in manufacturing technology. In fact, the picture to the right is of John taking a swing – he is a graduate of this program. Some of the things we do  include internships, onsite tours of our rapid manufacturing facility, lecturing, and donating items to and sponsoring their fundraising auctions.  We also sponsor breakfast and a hole at this event each year.  What we do not do is strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of the other golfers.

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Sigh… 18th out of 18.  Note how they used a different color of ink to make sure everyone noticed we were last. We did get a consolation prize of a large box of golf balls, a not so subtle hint to get out there and practice more.

However, it was a very nice day and we had a great time out there.

 

Annual Halloween Pumpkin Fest Time at PADT

PADT-2013-Halloween-feastWe kicked off the first official event of the holiday season today with our Halloween Pumpkin Fest.  BBQ and “Pumpkin Inspired Dessert” were on the menu as we celebrate the return of awesome weather to Arizona when we can all leave our air-conditioned cubicles and venture outside and sit in the sun without melting.  Very nice.

For those that follow us, we are sad to report that there was no pumpkin launch this year. We have been swamped with work recently and our team of pumpkin projecting professionals just did not have the time to prepare the equipment this year.

We wish all of you a Happy Halloween and we look forward to Thanksgivukkah, Christmas, and the New Year and enjoying a strong end to a great 2013!

 

 

What is Going on with MakerBot’s Acquisition by Stratasys?

Back in June it was announced that Stratasys was acquiring MakerBot. Many of you have been asking about the acquisition and how it impacts Stratasys and PADT. We now have some answers so we thought we would share them with you.

PADT has been involved in what is now called 3D Printing since our founding in 1994. We have seen the technology grow in popularity beyond our core engineering customer base to become a mainstream technology. The addition of MakerBot to the Stratasys family allows us to become more involved in those mainstream applications. Exciting times.

First off, the deal was a stock only transaction worth about $400,000,000, so it does not impact the ability of Stratasys to continue to invest in product growth and improvement. That was great news.

Second, it looks like for now MakerBot will be run as a separate subsidiary of Stratasys, Ltd. At first we were a bit worried about that because we wanted to interact more with the whole MakerBot universe. We soon found out that Stratasys understood this and although marketing, sales, and support are separate, there is some great cross-pollination going on.

PADT received a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer a few weeks ago and we have been playing around with it in our Colorado office. Our sales people and engineers are learning as much as they can about the system so we can better explain it to everyone we meet out there who are interested in 3D Printing.

Although we do not sell or support MakerBot products directly, we can now offer access to the MakerBot online store through a PADT link. When you purchase a printer, scanner, material, or parts after using the link, everyone knows you are a friend of PADT and we receive a small commission. We plan on using those funds to help support local 3D printer networking and education activities. And you do not have to be an existing PADT customer or located in our Stratasys sales and support territory. Anyone can purchase through the PADT link.

We will announce events, videos, and articles about MakerBot through our social media outlets and email as they get scheduled.

2013 Cleantech Open Finalists Announced for Rocky Mountain Region

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Last week the Rocky Mountain Region of the Cleantech Open announced the three finalists and sustainability award winner that they will be sending to the Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Jose, CA this November to compete for the $200,000 award package. The finalists worked through the regional accelerator with twenty other companies and then competed to come out on top and travel to the national finals.

Read the press release here.

As a sponsor, PADT was honored to be in attendance at Denver’s Cable Center for the 5th Anniversary event.  The best part was that two of the three finalists were companies from Tucson Arizona.  The three winners were:

  • Grannus (Tucson, AZ) as a finalist and sustainability award winner for their zero-emissions process for making nitrogen fertilizer.
  • HJ3 Composite Technologies (Tucson, AZ) as a finalist for their composite infrastructure repair system.
  • OptiEnz Sensors (Ft. Colins, CO) as a Finalist for their in-situ organic chemical sensors.

We enjoyed working with all of the applicants throughout the year and look forward to working with the finalists as they move forward.  We wish them the best of luck and are rooting for them to return to the region as one of the winners.

 

ANSYS 14.5.7 Quick Install Instructions for Windows

ANSYS-14-5-7_Install-GuideAs part of our support for our existing ANSYS customers we prepare a quick install guide that we can send users when they get the new releases. The contents are based upon our own install experience, and what we have learned helping our customers install on a large number of different networks.  We just updated the 14.5.7 guide for Windows and thought we would share it with the community.

This particular release is fairly straight forward, so this is a short doc.

We hope you find it useful:

ANSYS 14 5 7_Install_Quick_Guide

Customers and Partners Win at AZBio Awards and Pittsburgh Tech 50 for 2013

It is awards season and PADT partners and customers are racking up the wins around the country.

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On October 10th we were fortunate enough to be at the 2013 AZBio Awards where we were pleased to see:

  • The founder of customer Ventana Medical Systems,  Thomas M. Grogan, M.D, win a Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Customer W. L. Gore and Associates picked up the Arizona Bioscience Company of the Year Award.
  • Linda Hunt, the President and CEO of Dignity Health Arizona received the Arizona Bioscience Leader of the Year award. The Barrow Neurological Institute, part of Dignity Health, is a PADT customer.

Not only were we pleased to see these winners, but once again PADT provided the trophies for these awards so they were able to take a little piece of PADT home with them.

AZ-Bio-Awards-2013

 

More images from the event can be found on their Facebook page.

Pittsburgh-tech-50-ANSYS-Alung-2013Then just today we received word that the Pittsburgh Technology Council announced the winners of their Tech 50 for 2013.  And once again, a PADT customer and one of our most important partner received an award.

  • Medical device customer ALung won the Life Sciences Company of the Year award.
  • ANSYS, Inc., a partner and customer, was awarded the Tech Titan Award for, well being a tech titan.

We offer our congratulations to all of the winners and hope to see more as the awards season continues.

If you want to win a few technology awards, maybe you should consider being a PADT customer… seems like a trend.