As with any technology, automation of social media has been co opted for evil. A recent example of this with the President gave me a bit of a scare, and in “‘Bots’ are here, and they are scaring this tech guy a little” I share why and what we can do about it.
Self-driving cars are being tested in the Phoenix area now, and they will be available to businesses and consumers soon. Such a significant change will affect tech businesses, even if they are not in the automotive supply chain. In “Autonomous cars are coming soon. What you need to know” we take a look at the tech behind them and what businesses need to know about this disruptive trend.
I still can’t believe it. I’m still kind of mad. I went with my son to get his driver’s licence and it was a smooth and efficient process. After I got done reeling from this change in a cornerstone of common modern struggles, I realized that “If the DMV can be efficient, so can your business.” We no longer have an excuse for being inefficient, if the DMV can clean up its act we have to.
PADT and Stratasys have worked with Lockheed Martin to establish a new Additive Manufacturing Laboratory at Metropolitan State University in downtown Denver. The Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory is the first-of-its-kind facility in Colorado. It is focused on giving students and industry access to the equipment and faculty needed to develop the next generation of manufacturing tooling, based on the use of 3D printing to make the tooling.
This is PADT’s third successful contribution to the creation of Academia + Industry + Equipment Manufacturer lab, the others being at ASU Polytechnic focused on characterization of 3D Printed parts and at Mesa Community College, focused on training the needed technicians and engineers for running and maintaining additive manufacturing systems. These types of efforts show the commitment from Stratasys, industrial partners, and PADT to making sure that the academic side of new manufacturing technology is being addressed and is working with industry.
We reported on the grand opening of the facility here,and are very pleased to be able to announce the official partnership for the Laboratory. Great partners make all the difference.
The ability to take a model of some object on a computer and make a physical copy with one machine, 3-D Printing or Additive Manufacturing, has been around for more than twenty-five years. Recently, the bug noise in 3D Printing has been around metal 3D Printing. It is a big deal, and in “What’s so exciting about metal 3-D printing anyway?” I explain why engineers are so head-over-heals for this new capability.
In our new modern world, much has changed. We are more connected and more mobile, working anywhere we need to. And with the emergence of the sharing economy we are letting others drive us and staying in other people’s homes. This impacts a lot of things in our lives, but one major input is that “Making a statement about who you are in a digital, shared world” is very different. Take a look at this post and think about it. How do you share who you are?
The A in PADT actually stands for Analysis. Back in 1994 when the company was started, computer modeling for mechanical engineering was called Analysis. It was such an important part of what we wanted to achieve that we put it in the name. Unfortunately, Analysis was a bit to generic so the industry switched to Numerical Simulation, or simply simulation. In the 23 years since we started, analysis… sorry, simulation, has been not just a foundation for what PADT does for our customers, it has become a defacto tool in product development. Through it all there has been a dedicated group here that is focused on providing the best simulation as a service to customers around the world.
Driving Designs with Simulation
Many companies know about PADT with regards to simulation because we are an ANSYS Elite Channel Partner – selling and supporting the entire suite of ANSYS simulation tools in the Southwestern US. The success of simulation in the design and development of physical products is a direct result of the fact that these fantastic tools from ANSYS can be used to drive the design of products. This can be done in-house by companies designing the products, or outsourced to experts. And that is where PADT has come in for hundreds of customers around the world. The expertise we use to support and train on ANSYS products derives directly from our real world experience providing CFD, structural, thermal, electromagnetic, and multiphysics simulations to help those customers drive their product development.
For those not familiar with simulation, or who only use the basic tools embedded in CAD software as a quick check, understanding why it is so important hinges on understand what it really is. Numerical Simulation is a methodology where a physical product is converted into a computer model that represents its physical behavior. This behavior can be many different physics: stresses, vibration, fluid flow, temperature flow, high frequency electromagnetic radiation, sloshing of liquids, deformation during impact, piezoelectric response, heating from static electromagnetic waves, cooling from air flow. The list goes on and on. Pretty much anything you studied in physics can be modeled using a numerical simulation.
The process of doing the simulation consists of taking the physical object and breaking it into discrete chunks, often very small relative to the size of the object, so that equations can easily be written for each chunk that describes the physical behavior of that chunk relative to the chunks around it. Imagine writing equations for the fluid flow in a complicated valve housing, very hard to do. But if you break it up into about one million small polyhedrons, you can write an equation for flow in and out of each polyhedron. These equations are then assembled into a giant matrix and solved using linear algebra. That is why we need such large computers. We mostly use the world’s leading software for this, from ANSYS, Inc.
More than Building and Running Models
Knowing how to build and run finite element and CFD models is key to providing simulation as a service. PADT’s team averages over 18 years of experience and few people come close to their knowledge on geometry preparation, meshing, setting up loads and boundary conditions, leveraging the advantages of each solver, and post processing. That is a good starting point. But what really sets PADT apart is the understanding of how the simulation fits into product development, and how the information gathered from simulation can and should be used. Instead of providing a number or a plot, PADT’s experienced engineers deliver insight into the behavior of the products being simulated.
How each project is conducted is also something that customers keep coming back for. Nothing is ever “thrown over the wall” our passed through a “black box.” From quote through delivery of final report, PADT’s engineers work closely with the customer’s engineers to understand requirements, get to the heart of what the customer is looking for, and deliver useful and actionable information. And if you have your own in-house simulation team, we will work closely with them to help them understand what we did so they can add it to their capabilities. In fact, one of the most popular simulation services offered by PADT is automation of the simulation process with software tools written on top of ANSYS products. This is a fantastic way to leverage PADT’s experience and knowledge to make your engineers more efficient and capable.
Unparalleled Breadth and Depth
Based on feedback from our customers, the other area where PADT really stands out is in the incredible breadth and depth of capability offered. Whereas most service providers specialize in one type of simulation or a single industry, more than twenty years of delivering high-end simulation to evaluate hundreds of products has given PADT’s team a unique and special level of understanding and expertise. From fluid flow in aerospace cooling systems to electromagnetics for an antenna in a smart toy, a strong theoretical understanding is combined with knowledge about the software tools to apply the right approach to each unique problem.
No where is this breadth and depth exemplified than with PADT’s relationship with ANSYS, Inc. Since the company was founded, PADT engineers have worked closely with ANSYS development and product management to understand these powerful tools better and to offer their advice on how to make them better. And each time ANSYS, Inc. develops or acquires a new capability, that same team steps up and digs deep into the functionality that has been added. And when necessary, adding new engineers to the team to offer our customers the same expert access to these new tools.
The best way to understand why hundreds of companies, many of them large corporations that are leaders in their industry, come to PADT from around the world for their simulation services needs is to talk to us about your simulation services needs. Regardless of the industry or the physics, our team is ready to help you drive your product development with simulation. Contact us now to start the discussion.
There is a great STEM program here in Arizona called the “Chief Science Officer” that is backed by the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Technology Council. In “Building tomorrow’s science and technology leaders with Arizona’s Pioneering Chief Science Officer program” I go over some highlights on how they take kids interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and help them become leaders in their schools and advocates for better STEM education.
Not a lot of people have the same advantage that I do, I have a profession that I really like. Being an engineer is fascinating and a true pleasure because engineering is hard, and when smart people do it right it is so interesting and exciting. It is about the process and figuring stuff out – like a solving good puzzle, but better. Learn more about why I like what I do in “Taking time to be thankful for being able to do this engineering thing“
I don’t like clickbait. It undermines the trust between information provider and consumer, and I think it needs to stop. Take a look at “You will be shocked when you read what this technology expert has to say” where I go on a bit more and channel my inner Andy Rooney. Id does also include some recommendations on how we as content users can make a difference.
We have all been there. You get back from vacation and you have eight hundred unread emails. For a lot of us we never actually make our way through them all. In “4 simple suggestions to deal with all those unread emails” I cover some ways to get through that pile and get back to being productive. If you like it… don’t email me.
Nothing makes us happier here at PADT than seeing a customer be successful with technology we worked with them on. When Jack King of DustRam came to us for a prototype for a part on his dust free tile removal product it was just the start of a fantastic journey that showed off the power of 3D Printing. After a few iterations Jack was able to replace his expensive and long lead metal mouthpiece with a plastic one that he could manufacture on demand in his own shop using his Stratasys 3D Printer.
It was such a great story that two publications were interested and wrote far better writeups than I could.
The first is interesting because it is an industry trade magazine for people in the floor installation business. Their perspective is refreshing for those of us who live in the engineering world, getting more into the practical application of the product:
This was preceded by a fantastic article in Additive Manufacturing magazine that gets more into the technical side:
If you want to learn more about how you can use additive manufacturing to produce yout production hardware, contact us today.