Making Charts and Tables in ANSYS Mechanical

One 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.

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:

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

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:

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.

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:”

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:

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:

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:

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”

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:

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.

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

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:

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:

And I get a table:

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:

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

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

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:

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:

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.

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

As 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.

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

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.

PADT 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.

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

We 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

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.

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

As 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.

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.

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

Then 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.

This past Wednesday customers, vendors, and friends of PADT gathered at our new Littleton, Colorado office for the third and final open house for 2013.  It was definitely a little cold outside, but that did not keep people away from some good discussions, beverages, and a chance to meet other people in the area who are interested in the sort of things that PADT does: simulation, product development, and rapid prototyping.

We were fortunate to have Debbie Brinkman, the mayor of Littleton, and several council members in attendance along with representatives from the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Space Business Roundtable.

Besides the chance to socialize, the highlights of the evening were the ribbon cutting ceremony and the tour of PADT’s new office.  As always the 3D Printers were a big hit.

Here are some pictures of the event:

When the sun was still out, it was a good time to share a beer and talk about engineering and technology in Colorado.

The old county courthouse served as a great backdrop for the event.

Since this is a new office for s, the city held a ribbon cutting ceremony.  From left to right were:  John Brackney (South Metro Denver Chamber), Ward Rand (PADT Co-Owner), Eric Miller (PADT Co-Owner), Mayor Debbie Brinkman (Littleton), Edgar Johansson (Colorado Space Business Roundtable), and Norman Stucker (PADT Colorado GM)

Clinton Smith, Patrick Barnett, and Stephen Theron from PADT were there to meet with customers and catch up.

Mario Vargas, PADT’s Hardware Sales manager, spent much of the evening showing off PADT’s collection of 3D printers that are in the Littleton office.

When Colorado’s attendance of 125 is added to around 50 people at the Albuquerque, New Mexico open house, 300 in Tempe, Arizona we estimate that over 475 people came to one of our events this year.  We hope to see even more for our 20th anniversary celebrations in 2014.

PADT on Panel for Immigration Reform Discussion at University of Colorado Boulder

The Global Innovation Forum and several other groups (see picture) put together a very informative discussion on immigration reform and its impact on high-technology companies and university research.  PADT’s Eric Miller was asked to server on the panel and share our experience with the immigration process and how the current system impacts our business.

We learned several key things during the discussion:

1. The need for immigration reform is a high priority item across high technology industry companies.
2. The issues that companies have with the current immigration system seem to be consistent: not enough H1B visas, a lottery system that is often overwhelmed by a few large companies, once a year lottery, and the non-portability of a visa if the immigrant changes jobs.
3. The Senate comprehensive reform bill actually addresses many of the concerns raised, but it is stalled in the US House of Representatives.  It may pass in pieces.
4. There is strong consensus on most details of immigration reform, the sticking point seems to be what to do about those who are currently in the country without a visa or a clear path to one.
5. We learned a lot about the significant problems that students and professors face when they are studying/working in the US on an educational visa. It especially impacts their family.

This group seems to be trying to advocate a common sense approach to fixing our immigration system.  A very interesting meeting and it was an honor to participate.

We encourage all of you to engage in such a discussion and change the dialog to think of immigration comprehensively and update our system so that the US can continue its leadership in the areas of innovation and research.

And in the end: we know that process of immigration is hard and stressful, so it is better to check your address registration with https://www.us-mailing-change-of-address.com/blog/change-of-address-texas/, so you can get your documents at the right place and time.

PADT at University of Denver Industry Day and Lecturing at Univerisity of New Mexico

It is a busy couple of days for PADT and Academia.  Jeff Strain is visiting with customers in Albuquerque and popped in to the “Finite Element Methods in Solid Mechanics” class at the University of New Mexico to give a talk on the ANSYS products and give some  on real world insight in to using finite elements in industry.

We were also happy to attend Industry Day at the University of Denver’ School of Engineering & Computer Science.  It was another great opportunity to interact with students,  give them some real world feedback, and meet with other technology companies in the area.

Quick Tip: Tool for Putting LaTex Equations in PowerPoint

I’m not a big fan of LaTex. That is probably more a reflection of the fact that I don’t have an advanced degree and didn’t have to write a dissertation than anything else.  But one thing that is worse than LaTex is the equation editor in PowerPoint. If you are like us, you use PowerPoint as your primary reporting tool and dread putting equations in.

Matt Sutton was doing just that the other day and thought “there has got to be a better way!”  He found one. A tool called IguanaTex.

There is not much to it, it is free, and it works well.

Here are some equations from a presentation Matt just did:

Making APDL Parameters Available in the ANSYS Parameter Manager or DesignXplorer: Prep, Solve, and Post

This is one of those questions that comes up every once in a while that is not so obvious at first glance, but that is simple once you understand how ANSYS Mechanical interacts with ANSYS Mechanical APDL.  After a couple of email exchanges around a tech support question, we thought it would be good to share with everyone.

Before we get started, if you need a refresher on Command Objects in ANSYS Mechanical, the way in which you send APDL commands to the ANSYS Mechanical APDL solver, here is a seminar from a couple of years ago that covers the whole deal:

The basic problem is this: you have an APDL script you execute as a command object that does some sort of model interrogation or stores the result of some calculation, and you want to use that parameter in the parameter manager or in DesignXplorer.  If you look at the details view for a command object you will notice that it only supports input parameters: ARG1-ARG9.

If you look at the example (silly) macro you will see that it:

1. Grabs component (named selection) END1
2. Figures out how many nodes are attached to END1 (NMND)
5. Applies that per node load
6. Reselects all the nodes

If I want to know how many nodes I put the load on and what the per node load is I’m kind of stuck here.  Any command object you add to the tree above the Solution branch only allows input parameters.

But a command snippet applied in the Solution branch is different, it allows you to pull parameters back and share them through the parameter manager.

When you first insert a command object you only get input parameters (ARG1-ARG9) as usual, and an empty section called “Results”

The way you get result parameters, or what I think should be called “Output Parameters” is you create a parameter in the command object’s APDL script that starts with “my_”  When you click outside the text input window the program parses you script and if it finds any “my_” parameters in the text, it sticks them in the Results section:

Note, the default is “my_” but you can change it n the “Output Search Prefix” line in the Definition block.

Initially they will show up pinkish because the model has not been run and they are not defined. Click on the box to make them parameters that get passed outside of the program and then run:

If you pop back out to the project view you will see that we now have a Parameter Set bar with both input and output parameters:

And if you open the parameter manager up you can see the input and output parameters:

This works because all ANSYS mechanical is doing is making one big batch input file for ANSYS MAPDL.  That file contains any command objects you insert into the tree and extracts any parameters that you tagged in a post processing command object for return to ANSYS Mechanical.

Congratulations to Orbital Sciences on Successful Docking

Another great customer success to report:

Orbital Sciences Corporation, a PADT customer and former employer of several staff members, was the second company to commercially doc with the International Space Station.  Those other guys in California owned by the Internet Billionaire always get the bigger press, so we wanted to do a shout out to the OSC team and let them know we are proud of them and all they accomplish, often out of the media spotlight.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303918804579104920967608730.html

We started working with the Arizona group back when they were Space Data Corporation and we have seen success followed by success as they prove out to be the less flashy leader in commercial space. Most people don’t know that OSC made had their 500th mission back in 2006. We are proud to support them as one of their suppliers and wish them further luck in this and other programs.

Four PADT Customers Named Finalists for MD+DI’s 2013 Medical Device Manufacturer of the Year

Last week we found out that PADT’s long time co-located customer, Orthosensor, was named as a finalists in MD+DI’s 2013 Medical Device Manufacturer of the Year competition.  PADT has been working very closely with Orthosensor for many years with them actually putting a team inside PADT’s offices. We know they deserve recognition for the advances they have made. Congratulations!  This recognition not only underscores the technical and clinical successes of Orthosensor, it also highlights that commercial success they have had in partnering with industry leading orthopedic firms.

The competition is pretty significant in the medical device industry and finalists and winners are chosen by the editing staff:

Each year, MD+DI recognizes one or more medical device companies that have risen above the crowd to advance medical device manufacturing. In looking at the field this year, we realized that the firms influencing the medical device business the most come from both within and outside the industry.

Some of our 10 finalists for the 2013 Medical Device Manufacturer of the Year are traditional device companies making waves with novel products and innovative business strategies; others are outsiders that are pushing boundaries by changing the definition of medical device manufacturing. We believe all of them are helping to evolve the industry.

There is a reader’s poll.  (Hint) We encourage everyone to take a look at the finalistsand voice their opinion (hint, hint) on who should get the award. And if they vote for Orthosensor, they will know they voted for a quality firm that has a close and long relationship with PADT. (Hint, hint, hint)

But wait, there is more! While getting the link for the Orthosensor mention, we were even more pleased to see first one, then two, then three other PADT customers listed. 40% of this years finalists are PADT customers.  That is something we are very proud of because it shows that we are working with customers that are really making a difference in peoples health:

• Medtronic has been a long time prototyping and simulation services customer of PADT and we know that their wide array of life saving products really make a difference.
• When Roche Diagnostics purchased long time customer Ventana Medical Systems we knew it would lead to great things. Now their tissue diagnostic systems are evolving faster and a wider range of customers have access to this very important tool in the daily struggle to battle cancer.  They also have one of the most beautiful campus locations of any of our customers. And since all the work we do for them is confidential, a picture of the campus will have to do.
• Stratasys.  Yes that Stratasys. The company that PADT not only sells for but that is also a customer. You didn’t know they were also a customer? Stratasys purchases and bundles PADT’s SCA cleaning system for their Fused Deposition Modeling systems.To see Stratasys listed in this competition is a big deal for us, having used their technology for years to help our medical device customers.  We love the recognition that Rapid Prototyping (even if we have to call it 3D Printing) is getting these days for the real and substantial contribution it is making across industries.What is kind of cool in a rapid-prototyping-links-everything sort of way is that we have used Stratasys hardware to support all three of the device companies companies listed.

With four horses in this race we feel confident we will be congratulating one of them as this years winner!