Join PADT in Welcoming Jeff Wells, Business Development Manager, Engineering Services

Here at PADT, we pride ourselves on our ability to make our customers’ ideas for innovation practical and get them to market. No matter how complex the challenge is, we have the engineering expertise and technology tools to work with our customers and deliver tailored solutions to meet their needs. And for every solution we create, there’s a business development team leading the partnership with our customers. We’re excited to welcome the newest leader of this team, Business Development Manager for Engineering Services, Jeff Wells.

“PADT’s engineering services are thriving behind the work of our outstanding team,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “Jeff adds a tremendous amount of experience as both an engineer and a business development leader. His knowledge of the industry and the community will elevate our ability to attract new and innovative customers.”

To help PADT improve its market position in engineering services and product development, Wells will be responsible for building new customer relationships and seeking new opportunities to solve complex challenges. His focus will be on serving customers in a wide variety of industries, including aerospace and defense, medical, and industrial.

“Throughout my many years in engineering here in Arizona, I’ve been keenly aware of the outstanding services provided by PADT,” said Wells. “The company’s reputation and the wonderful people I’ve gotten to know over the years made it an easy decision to join the team. I look forward to contributing to the company’s strategy for growing its engineering services department.”

Jeff and his Family in New Zealand

Wells brings nearly 30 years of engineering, business development, and sales experience to the position. He joins PADT after spending the past five years in the director of business development role at CollabraTech Solutions. Wells joined CollabraTech early in the company’s lifecycle and helped grow the gas and chemical delivery product company from a few million dollars in revenue to over $14 million, by diversifying their customer base, the markets they served and the projects they pursued.

Early in his career, Wells worked as an engineer designing a wide variety of products from parts for Airbus aircraft engines to laser part marking kiosks and semiconductor capital equipment. He quickly realized his propensity for combining his engineering expertise with his communication skills, and in the late ‘90s, he began his career in business development. Wells worked at Advanced Integration Technologies for 10 years as a business development engineer and business development manager. He later worked closely with senior leadership on business development operations at Ultra Clean Technology and led business development for Foresight Processing.

Wells holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University (ASU). He and his wife, Kate Wells, CEO of the Phoenix Children’s Museum, have been married for 27 years and have two daughters who attend school at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. In their free time, Wells and his family enjoy traveling. A decade ago, Jeff and his wife took their two daughters out of school for 14 months backpacking around the globe, visiting 22 countries. Wells also enjoys being outdoors hiking, playing sports, snowboarding and water skiing.

You can find a writeup in the Phoenix Business Journal here and his LinkedIn profile is here.

To learn more about PADT’s engineering service capabilities and to connect with Jeff Wells, please visit www.padtinc.com/services  or call us at 1-800-293-7238.

Press Release: PADT Awarded U.S. Army Phase I SBIR Grant for Combustor Geometry Research Using 3D Printing, Simulation, and Product Development

We are pleased to announce that the US Army has awarded PADT a Phase I SBIR Grant to explore novel geometries for combustor cooling holes. This is our 15th SBIR/STTR win.

We are excited about this win because it is a project that combines Additive Manufacturing, CFD and Thermal Simulation, and Design in one project. And to make it even better, the work is being done in conjunction with our largest customer, Honeywell Aerospace.

We look forward to getting started on this first phase where we will explore options and then applying for a larger Phase II grant to conduct more thorough simulation then build and test the options we uncover in this phase.

Read more below. The official press release is here for HTML and here for PDF.

If you have any needs to explore new solutions or new geometries using Additive Manufacturing or applying advanced simulation to drive new and unique designs, please contact us at 480.813.4884 or info@padtinc.com.


PADT Awarded U.S. Army Phase I SBIR Grant for Combustor Geometry Research Using 3D Printing, Simulation, and Product Development

The Project Involves the Development of Sand-Plugging Resistant Metallic Combustor Liners

TEMPE, Ariz., August 15, 2019 ─ In recognition of its continued excellence and expertise in 3D printing, simulation, and product development, PADT announced today it has been awarded a $107,750 U.S. Army Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. With the support of Honeywell Aerospace, PADT’s research will focus on the development of gas turbine engine combustor liners that are resistant to being clogged with sand.  The purpose of this research is to reduce downtime and improve the readiness of the U.S. Army’s critical helicopters operating in remote locations where dirt and sand can enter their engines.  

“PADT has supported advanced research in a wide variety of fields which have centered around various applications of our services,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We’re especially proud of this award because it requires the use of our three main areas of expertise, 3D printing, simulation and product development. Our team is uniquely capable of combining these three disciplines to develop a novel solution to a problem that impacts the readiness of our armed forces.”

The challenge PADT will be solving is when helicopters are exposed to environments with high concentrations of dust, they can accumulate micro-particles in the engine that clog the metal liner of the engine’s combustor. Combustors are where fuel is burned to produce heat that powers the gas turbine engine. To cool the combustor, thousands of small holes are drilled in the wall, or liner, and cooling air is forced through them. If these holes become blocked, the combustor overheats and can be damaged.  Blockage can only be remedied by taking the engine apart to replace the combustor. These repairs cause long-term downtime and significantly reduce readiness of the Army’s fleets.

PADT will design various cooling hole geometries and simulate how susceptible they are to clogging using advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation tools. Once the most-promising designs have been identified through simulation, sample coupons will be metal 3D printed and sent to a test facility to verify their effectiveness.  Additionally, PADT will experiment with ceramic coating processes on the test coupons to determine the best way to thermally protect the 3D printed geometries.

“When we developed new shapes for holes in the past, we had no way to make them using traditional manufacturing,” said Sina Ghods, principal investigator, PADT. “The application of metal additive manufacturing gives PADT an opportunity to create shapes we could never consider to solve a complex challenge for the U.S. Army. It also gives us a chance to demonstrate the innovation and growth of the 3D printing industry and its applications for harsh, real-world environments.”

Honeywell joined PADT to support this research because it is well aligned with the company’s Gas Turbine Engine products. The outcome of this research has the potential to significantly improve the performance of the company’s engines operating in regions with high dust concentrations.

This will be PADT’s 15th SBIR/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award since the company was founded in 1994. In August 2018, the company, in partnership with Arizona State University, was awarded a $127,000 STTR Phase I Grant from NASA to accelerate biomimicry research, the study of 3D printing objects that resemble strong and light structures found in nature such as honeycombs or bamboo.

To learn more about PADT and its advanced capabilities, please visit www.padtinc.com.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

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Talking Hydrogen Fuel Cell Blowers for Trucking at the Governor’s House

As we shared in our recent press release, PADT was invited to be one of nine companies presenting at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge. We happily spent the day at the Colorado Governor’s mansion talking and learning about how to make the road transportation of goods with large and small vehicles cleaner and more efficient. As one of nine companies presenting, PADT talked about our custom blower technology for hydrogen fuel cells.

We want to thank both the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) and the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) for hosting such an informative event. We were able to meet people from across the energy and learn about their needs, and give them an opportunity to learn more about PADT.

You can find their blog post here.

Here are some pictures describing how our day went.

The building and grounds at the Colorado Governor’s Mansion are truly beautiful. We spent most of the day in the carriage house in the garden… which I failed to get a picture of.

It was a packed day as can be seen from the agenda. And the list of sponsors was fantastic. We were able to talk with key industry visionaries for more efficient and cleaner commercial vehicle fleets.

One of my favorite things about the site were these very cool napkins they gave us. Nice seal. And, “Executive Residence” sounds so much classier than “the Gov’s House”

We spent most of our day in the green room where they gave us wifi, coffee, power, and a flat surface. So Rob and I set up a portable office. The three blowers we brought with us helped decorate the place.

We can’s share the full presentation, but we can discuss some key slides. They gave us 10 minutes to talk about our solution, then 10 for questions.

The problem is fairly simple. People designing stacks need custom blower solutions because of the hydrogen and the pressure/flow requirements on the air side of a hydrogen fuel cell.

PADT’s proven solution is to design custom blowers to meet very specific needs.

In the end, we just wanted to know that we are excited to see that Hydrogen fuel cells are seeing a resurgence, our blowers are perfect for most applications, and that we would love connections to people who need our solution.

When we were done we went inside the house. Room after room was stunning.

We gave a 2-minute short presentation with this great view behind us.

A great day where we met a lot of great people from around the country. Sadly, PADT didn’t win the competition. The truth is that the challenge was for new and disruptive technology and we talked about proven and enabling solutions. Useful to the sponsors, but not what they were looking for when handing out prizes.

Visiting Colorado in the summer is always a nice break for those of us from Phoenix. We hope to participate in this and related events in the future.

If you have any needs for air our hydrogen blowers for your fuel cell, or any complex engineering for your product, please contact us and we would love to learn how we can help.

Press Release: 2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge Selects PADT to Showcase Fuel Cell Blower Technology

Last week we were pleased to learn that we were selected to present our fuel cell blower technology at the Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge in Denver, Colorado on July 10th. This is a great opportunity for us to share the solutions we developed for the military, automotive applications, and buses to the trucking industry. Many manufacturers of long-haul commercial trucks are looking at hybrid solutions that combine electrical drives, batteries, and hydrogen fuel cells to create zero-emission vehicles that do not require charging.

To learn more, take a look at the press release below and watch PADT’s news feed to see if we won against some pretty prestigious competition.

If you are interested in how PADT can help you solve your customer pump, blower, turbine, and fan needs, please contact us today.

Link to official press release here for html and here for PDF


2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge Selects PADT to Showcase Fuel Cell Blower Technology  

Major Automotive OEM’s, UTC Power and Several Government Organizations Have All Used Fuel Cell Blower Technology Developed by PADT

TEMPE, Ariz., June 27, 2019 ─ PADT, a globally recognized provider of numerical simulation, product development, and 3D printing products and services, today announced it has been selected as a finalist and to present its innovative fuel cell blower technology at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Cleantech Challenge (CVCC) presented by the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association (CCIA) and North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). The showcase event will be held on July 10, 2019, at the Governor’s Residence in Denver, Colorado. 

“As a company who’s a proud supporter and supplier to organizations involved in the green- and cleantech space, it’s an honor to be selected to present at this event,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal, PADT. “We look forward to showcasing PADT’s solutions and demonstrating our history of excellence in the hydrogen fuel cell sector.”

PADT will be joined by event partners Toyota, Kenworth, Schneider, UPS, Xcel Energy, and Great Dane as well as trucking industry strategic investors, technology experts and industry environmental directors interested in technologies that can be deployed into their operations.  According to a press release from CCIA, program partners reviewed submissions, vetted applicants and ultimately selected eight finalists, including PADT, to present.

Hydrogen fuel cell technology has resurged in use in recent years and PADT remains one of the few companies with deep experience developing custom fuel cell accessory solutions for the transportation industry.

“The unique requirements of providing pressurized hydrogen and air to high-efficiency fuel-cells require custom solutions which operate at the proper pressure and flow, can deal with the safety issues presented by working with hydrogen, and operate with extremely high efficiency,” said Rob Rowan, director of engineering, PADT. “PADT is one of the few companies in the world with the experience and technical know-how to meet these needs.”

PADT has developed fuel cell blower technology solutions for a number of major automotive OEMs, UTC Power, and several government research organizations. The company’s fuel cell blower technology is still in use today by buses in Oakland, Calif., ten years after being installed.

For more information on PADT’s expertise in cleantech, please visit its alternative energy page here or contact us at 480.813.4884 or info@padtinc.com

About PADT

PADT is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and 3D Printing solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long-term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Austin, Texas, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.


Ten Suggestions for Automating Product Duty Cycle Testing

No product is perfect. Much of engineering is trying to determine when a part will fail in the field or when there are field failures, why it failed and how to fix it. Although simulation and engineering experience can make a huge difference, sometimes the best way to understand product robustness in the real world is through duty cycle testing; designing a test that puts the product through the varied and repeated loading that it will see in use.

This type of testing is perfect for automation. For decades, PADT has been designing testing devices for our customers to determine durability, uncover problems, and verify that proposed solutions work. Over those years our engineers have developed guidelines that we use to design tests and test apparatus. We got together and summarized that experience in the ten suggestions listed below.

But first, it would be good to define what automated product duty cycle testing is.

Automated Product Duty Cycle Testing Defined

When a physical product is used, it sees some sort of loading; force, pressure, temperature, friction, chemicals, sunlight, etc… That loading causes deformation of the various materials used or changes the physical properties of those materials. In most cases, the deformation or property change is not permanent. But sometimes the loads are large enough or are replied long enough to cause permanent changes. Metal fatigues, rubber tubes become brittle, or glue fails.

Large loads are easy to test. You apply them and see what happens. But long term loading, especially a set of repeated loads, needs to be applied over time. This type of long-term testing that applies the loads the product will see over time is called duty cycle testing. Add in the need to apply temperatures cycles, humidity, and power loads – all things that components see in the real world – and the value of automation multiplies.

As engineers, when we see something that happens over time and repeats, we know that automation can be used to reduce cost and enforce repeatability. And that is why most duty cycle testing is automated. But those time savings and that repeatability are only effective if the test and the text fixture are designed correctly, which leads us to PADT’s ten suggestions.

1: Define the purpose and the expected outcome of the test

Most people define the purpose or the outcome, but not both. This really starts with understanding who the customer is for the test, even within the same company. What do they need from the test and why do they need it.

2: Map the full duty cycle being tested

The physical behavior of a system, especially over time, is impacted by all of the loads that the system sees. The cause of a failure or performance degradation is often not one load, but some unexpected combination of loads. You may think a problem may be caused by say, a bending load that happens tens-of-thousands of times. But it may be that bending load combined with a torque that only occurs every once in a while.

3: Document the test process, keeping it as simple as possible

Simplicity is the key here. Complexity adds cost, slows schedules, and introduces irrelevant failure modes. Designing is like writing a good story. Put everything down, then start cutting. Keep cutting until you only have exactly what you need.

4: Design the apparatus to the test

This seems obvious, but it can often be missed. The three previous suggestions need to be reviewed before, during, and after the design process. Every feature, chunk of code, or fixture needs to be there for a reason. The device must carry out the test process and apply the full duty cycle while meeting the purpose and expected outcome of the test.

5: Make the system versatile

After developing our second or third test rig, we discovered that our customers almost always wanted to add new loads or change loading. You may design a system to test one component, to find that a different component is failing more in the field so you need to change the test to load that part. If you design the apparatus to allow for easy changes that don’t require a complete redesign, you can create a far more valuable device.

6: Make the remaining human steps as easy as possible

The whole point of automation is to take humans out of the loop. But someone still has to load, unload, repair, and maintain the system. With so much focus on automation, it is easy to make the apparatus difficult to use. Human interface design still plays an important role.

7: Keep the hardware as simple as possible

Simplicity is the key to success in most designs, and automating duty cycle testing is no different. The repetitive nature of the operating steps and long run times make it especially important. Also, if you make the design too complex it is more difficult to capture and interpret results.

8: Invest in robust, off-the-shelf industrial quality equipment.

Do not try and save money using hobby or educational hardware or in making your own components, unless what you need is not commercially available. Remember, you are measuring the robustness of your product so having robust equipment to carry out the testing is critical. There is a reason why an industrial controller costs more. Invest in hardware that results in a test system that will last.

9: Spend the time and money upfront to automate as much as possible

Just as you should invest in high-quality hardware, you should put time and money into automating as much as possible. It is tempting to save money by saying “we can have a person do this step” but when you do that you introduce long term costs, delays, and a source of error.

10: Test the test before releasing the apparatus to the customer

Plan for a lot of testing of the system before official testing starts. This can seem obvious but because the focus of the design process is a test itself, it is easy to forget that the hardware and software need to be tested before they are released for use.

Better automated testing is achievable

Testing of your products should never be an afterthought or an add-on to the product’s design. Plan for it as an important part of the product lifecycle. If you follow the guidelines above and budget the proper time, money, and space (don’t forget you will need a place to do the testing) you can achieve a greater understanding of the robustness, failure modes, and efficiency of the things you make.

If you need help with duty cycle testing, please reach out to PADT. Our expertise in project management, engineering problems solving, controller programming, industry applications, and creative design are a unique combination that results in better fixture design and more useful information from your testing.

We can assist you in the design or take on the whole project, including doing the testing here at our facility. Contact us at info@padtinc.com or 480.813.4884 and ask to speak to someone in our Engineering Services Team about product testing. And don’t forget, we have world-class simulation and 3D Printing here on site to speed up the process and deliver deeper insight.

PADT’s Penchant for Patents

When they walk into PADT’s main office in Tempe, Arizona, the first thing most people notice is our “wall-o-patents.” Over the years, PADT employees have been named on 43 patents. They range from fuel cell membranes to silicon wafer coating to a slew of medical devices. When we received notification that staff members were listed as co-inventor on two patients with numbers over 10,000,000 we thought it was a good excuse to celebrate the years of contributions our engineers have made.

The rich collection highlights the diversity of industries we work on and the ingenuity of our staff. When the companies who own the Intellectual Property (IP) represented on that wall came to PADT looking for assistance with research, development, troubleshooting, and testing of their products they found a partner that did more than carry out tasks. PADT collaborated with them to create novel solutions and approaches that resulted in IP.

You can view all of our patents on our wall… or on our patent page here.

We want to say thank you to our staff and our customers for letting us be part of their innovation.

If you are looking for a partner that can work with you to turn your ideas in into Intellectual Property, please learn about our Product Development team or reach out to info@padtinc.com.

What we Learned at the Geomagic Conference about Design X and Control X

On September 11th and 12th Mario Vargas (Hardware Manager for PADT Inc.) and I (James Barker, Application Engineer for PADT Inc.) attended Convergence 2017 in Los Angeles, CA.  This event is held by 3D Systems and is the America’s Software Partner Meeting.  Many strategic partners were in attendance from all across the USA, Canada, and Latin America.  We were able to learn about some new enhancements to Geomagic that will help you with Inspection or Reverse Engineering BIG time!  The first day of meetings we heard from Vyomesh Joshi (CEO of 3D Systems referred to as VJ).  He mentioned that 3D Systems has committed 17% to R&D and after going to this event it is apparent!  VJ briefly talked about each of their software options.  The 1st being Control X and how Polyworks currently has the edge for inspection software but after this next software release, he and other 3D Systems employees seemed confident that they could surpass Polyworks.  The 2nd software he talked about was Freeform which allows users to freely design parts by using a haptic device.  This software would be great for creating custom shapes on a whim.  If you haven’t tried a haptic device, you need to!  It will blow your mind as a designer with the freedom you get by using the haptic device and this Freeform Software.  The 3rd software he talked about was Cimatron which aids in the design of mold and die design.  Of the top 10 largest USA mold makers, 7 of them use Cimatron Software.  The 4th software is something new that will be released later this month.  I would love to tell you more about it but can’t….  sorry!

A little about why Mario and I attended this convention, PADT Inc. offers 3D Scanning as both a service and also as hardware or software you can buy.  We use both Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Control X and have experts that are scanning parts for customers for either inspection results or for reverse engineering purposes at our Tempe, AZ office.  The scanner that we use is a CMM quality scanner from Zeiss.  This scanner is capable of scanning 5 million points per scan!  We also offer 3D Systems Capture and Capture Mini scanners which are great tools for reverse engineering.  Each time they scan a part they are capturing about 1 million points per scan.  I am located in the Salt Lake City, Utah office and have a Capture Mini scanner that anyone wanting to see and demo, can come look at and evaluate at our office.  Same holds true for the Capture scanner and Zeiss scanner in our Tempe, AZ Headquarters.  Since we offer these services, we love knowing what new tools are available with these product releases.

Jumping back to the conference, on September 12th, there were breakout sessions.  We chose to go to the Geomagic Design X session to see what enhancements have been made.  This software is the preferred software in all of the industry for reverse engineering parts.  There were many different vendors/partners in the room we were at.  There was even a rep from Faro who prefers to sell Geomagic Design X software with each Faro Arm that he sells because this software is so powerful.  The neat thing about this software is all of the improvements that have been made to it.  If you are accustomed to designing parts with Solidworks, Solidedge, NX, Catia, Pro-E or any of the other CAD software, you will be able to use this software with ease.  Every command that you execute within Design X is editable just like the major CAD software.  You have the ability to create sketches on planes or to make life even easier, there are wizards that automatically create sketches and perform a command like an extrusion or revolve that is editable after completing the wizard.  After you have finished reverse engineering your parts within Design X, you can live transfer your new CAD data over to the above-mentioned CAD software.  Once you have imported this data into NX or Solidworks, you can again edit any of the sketches that were created within Design X but now in your software of choice!  I would love to show you how powerful this software is.  There is a reason why it is the preferred reverse engineering software in the industry.

Geomagic Control X session was next.  It also happened to be the last session of the day.  To be honest, I have only used Design X so I was looking forward to learning more about this software.  From all the demo’s that I have seen in the past from this software, it appeared really hard to use.  That is all changing with this new software release and is the reason why VJ is confident that it will compete and could exceed Polyworks as the preferred software for inspection.  The biggest thing that stuck out to me was the ability to set up a workflow for scanned data for inspection so that you can create your inspection reports.  The idea is that if you have a part that needs to be inspected for quality, you 3D scan the part and then import the CAD file.  By overlaying the scanned data over the CAD data you can show the deviation within the 2 parts and you are able to have different views in a 3D PDF to share with others the actual quality of the part.  As you are assigning your GD&T to this first inspection file, you are creating the first steps of the workflow.  There are many options for the workflow that you can create and 3D Systems has made it easy to create the workflow.  I feel that the power of this software is when you can open up the results of the first inspection report and do a split screen on your monitor to show the 100th or 1,000th part side by side and see how that part deviates from the first.

I had a great time in California at this event even though all of our time was spent at the hotel.  The streets looked nice from the window on the 11th floor.  Maybe next time we will venture out!  If anyone from 3D Systems is reading this, let’s go out to eat next time instead of eating at the hotel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  Although the view from the dining room was nice!

If you have any questions about 3D scanning whether it is for Inspection or for Reverse Engineering, let us know at PADT Inc.  We look forward to helping you.

Aerospace Summit, Additive Manufacturing Peer Group, and Industry-Education Partnership – A Three Event, Three State Hat Trick

Sometimes everything happens at once.  This June 22nd was one of those days.  Three key events were scheduled for the same time in three different states and we needed to be at all of them. So everyone stepped up and pulled it off, and hopefully some of you reading this were at one of these fantastic events.  Combined they are a great example of PADT’s commitment to the local technology ecosystem, showing how we create true win-win partnerships across organizations and geographies.   Since the beginning we wanted to be more than just a re-seller or just consultants, and this Thursday was a chance to show our commitment to doing just that.

Albuquerque: New Mexico Technology Council 3D Printing Peer Group Kickoff

Everyone talks about how they thing we should all work together, but there never seems to be someone who is willing to pull it all together. That is how the additive manufacturing committee in New Mexico was until the New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC) stepped up to host a peer group around 3D Printing.  Even though it was a record 103f in Albuquerque, 35 brave 3D Printing enthusiasts ventured out into the heat and joined us at Rio Bravo Brewing to get the ball rolling on creating a cooperative community.  We started with an introduction from NMTC, followed by an overview of what we want to achieve with the group. Our goals are:

  1. Create stronger cooperation between companies, schools, and individuals involved in 3D Printing in New Mexico
  2. Foster cooperation between organizations to increase the benefits of 3D Printing to New Mexico
  3. Make a contribution to New Mexico STEM education in the area of 3D Printing

To make this happen we will meet once a quarter, be guided by a steering committee, and grow our broad membership.  Anyone with any involvement in Additive Manufacturing in the state is welcome to join in person or just be part of the on-line discussion.

Then came the best part, where we went around the room and shared our names, orginization, and what we did in the world of 3D Printing.  What a fantastic group.  From a K-12 educator to key researchers at the labs, we had every industry and interest representing. What a great start.

Here are the slides from that part of the presentation:

NMTC-PADT-3D-Printing-Peer-Group-2017_06_22

Once that was done PADT’s Rey Chu gave a presentation where it went over the most important developments in Additive Manufacturing over the last year or so.  He talked about the three new technologies that are making an impact, new materials, and what is happening business wise.  Check out his slides to learn more:

NMTC-PADT-New-3D-Printing-2017_06_22

After a question and answer period we had some great conversations in small groups, which was the most valuable part.

If you want to learn more, please reach out to info@padtinc.com and we will add you to the email list where we will plan and execute future activities.  We are also looking for people to be on the steering committee and locations for our next couple of meetings. Share this with as many people as you can in New Mexico so that next event can be even better!

Denver: MSU Advance Manufacturing & Engineering Sciences Building Opening

Meanwhile, in Denver it was raining.  In spite of that,  supporters of educating the next generation of manufacturers and engineers gathered for the opening of the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Sciences Building at Metropolitan State University.  This 142,000 sqft multi-disciplinary facility is located in the heart of downtown Denver and will house classes, labs, and local companies.  PADT was there to not only celebrate the whole facility, but we were especially excited about the new 3D Printing lab that is being funded by a $1 million gift from Lockheed Martin.  A nice new Stratasys Fortus 900 is the centerpiece of the facility.  It will be a while before the lab itself is done, so watch for an invite to the grand opening.  While we wait we are working with MSU, Lockheed Martin, Stratasys, and others to put a plan together to develop the curriculum for future classes and making sure that the engineers needed for this technology are available for the expected explosion of use of this technology.

Stratasys and PADT are proud to be partners of this fantastic effort along with many key companies in Colorado.  If you want to learn more about how we can help you build partnerships between industry and academia, please reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call.

Phoenix:  2017 Aerospace, Aviation, Defense + Manufacturing Conference

The 113f high in Phoenix really didn’t stop anyone from coming to the AADM conference. This annual event was at ASU SkySong in Phoenix and is sponsored by the AZ Tech Council, AZ Commerce Authority, and RevAZ.  PADT was proud to not only be a sponsor, but also have a booth, participate in the advanced manufacturing panel discussion, and do a short partner presentation about what we do for our Aerospace and Defense Customers.

Here is Rob’s presentation on PADT:

PADT-AeroConf-AZTC-2017

We had great conversations at our booth with existing customers, partners, and a few people that were new to us.  This is always one of the best events of the summer, and we look forward to next year.

If you want to know more about how PADT can help you in your Aerospace, Defense, and Manufacturing efforts, reach out and contact us.

PADT Welcomes John Williams to Business Development Role

Please join Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies in welcoming our new engineering services business development manager, John Williams. John will be an integral part of our growth in helping customers turn their innovations into real products through our advanced engineering capabilities, flexible project management skills and careful vendor selection process.

“With John joining our team, we’ll be able to take our engineering services business to the next level and expand on our offerings,” said Eric Miller, co-founder and principal at PADT. “His sales and business development experience at the national and international level makes him ideal to handle our diverse client portfolio and position us as a major player in this category.”

To help PADT improve its market position in engineering services and product development, Williams will help define long-term organizational goals, build customer relationships, identify new business opportunities, and maintain extensive knowledge of market conditions.

“PADT is a diverse and innovative company that presents a number of exciting opportunities,” said Williams. “I look forward to using my experience and reach to raise awareness of the great engineering expertise the company can provide. Once companies realize how PADT can help them solve tough problems and implement their designs, the word will spread that PADT really does make innovation work.”

Williams brings more than 16 years of sales experience to the position. He joins PADT from Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. in South Asia where he was the director of business development. Prior to working at Bell Helicopter, John was Regional Sales Director for Textron Aviation for South Asia.  Prior to this, he was President of Williams Consulting Group (WCG) in Phoenix, AZ.

Before starting WCG, Williams spent 12 years with The Boeing Company where he was last responsible for implementing Boeing’s offset programs in India. He also played a key role in successfully winning several large orders for Boeing. Prior to this assignment, Williams was in International Contracts at Boeing Defense Systems where he successfully negotiated and closed several major Commercial and US FMS contracts with foreign governments.

Williams holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Northwestern College. He has numerous professional certifications including a Master’s Certificate in Global Leadership from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management; as well as certifications in various U.S. Federal Acquisition Programs.

New: PADT’s Medical Device Capabilities and Portfolio Presentation

We recently updated our slide presentation on PADT’s Medical Device product development capabilities that includes some examples of past work.  Our team applies proven processes and deep industry experience across a wide spectrum of products.  Please take a look to learn more about how we help companies engineer their medical devices.

PADT-Medical-Overview-Portfolio-2018_02_13-1

You can learn more here and if you have any questins, simply email info@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884.

Press Release: PADT, Avnet and Tiempo Development Introduce Design Days, Hosted by Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

PADT-Press-Release-IconPADT and CEI have partnered with Avnet and Tiempo Development to offer a free technical advice to local startups at CEI.  Anyone needing advice on mechanical design, electrical design, or software can now sign up for an hour with an engineer from one of these fantastic local technology leaders.

CEI has been a great host for these events with just PADT for a while now, and we are pleased to announce that we have added electrical and software to what is offered, and we are officially anouncing it to the whole community. Check out the press release to learn more or visit the the CEI website: info.ceigateway.com/padt-design-days

Official copies of the press release can be found in HTML and PDF.

Press Release:

PADT, Avnet and Tiempo Development Introduce Design Days, Hosted by Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation

Design Days Brings Arizona’s Top Product Development Experts Together to Provide Free Technical Advice to Local Startup

TEMPE, Ariz., February 16, 2017 ─  In a move that gives startups and product developers the opportunity to get design and production consultations from the top product development experts in Arizona, Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT), in partnership with Avnet, Tiempo Development and the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI), are officially opening Design Days to the local startup community. Hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI) at 275 N. GateWay Drive Phoenix, Arizona 85034. The next session takes place on February 21 from 1- 4 p.m.

“We’ve compiled a roster of top industry experts in product development from a wide-range of disciplines for Design Days,” said Patti Dubois, Assistant Executive Director at CEI. “Our goal is simply to lend a hand to entrepreneurs who aspire to develop great products and software. When we’re able to help an organization or individual grow and innovate, it elevates Arizona’s technology community as a whole.”

CEI lends its fantastic space as participants will gain access to engineers who will be available to offer one-on-one assistance with product development needs. These experts will provide their opinions on the feasibility of an idea, make recommendations on the product development process, provide ballpark estimates on design and development costs, identify key differentiators of a product and more. All companies and individuals needing product development support for physical and software designs are encouraged to participate.

“CEI is the leading incubator and accelerator in the Valley making them the perfect host for Design Days,” said Eric Miller, principal and co-founder at PADT. “We are proud to partner with CEI, Avnet and Tiempo in support of helping entrepreneurs develop revolutionary innovations that will continue to put Arizona on the map as a leading tech hub.”

PADT, the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D printing services and products, will provide physical product design and prototyping consultation. Avnet, a global company ranked on the FORTUNE 500, with extensive knowledge of electronic component solutions and embedded computing products, will give advice on electrical engineering. Tiempo Development, named one of the 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America, from 2011 to 2015, specializes in offshore software development in nearshore locations, and will provide software architecture consultation.

“We’re very excited to be involved with Design Days and to work alongside these wonderful partners,” said Mike Hahn, VP of engineering at Tiempo Development. “Our organization has always been dedicated to giving back to the Valley, and I can’t think of better way to support our community than by offering our staff’s expertise to budding startups and entrepreneurs.”

“CEI has helped to establish one of the premier locations for young technology hopefuls in the nation, said Eric Leahy, Emerging Business Development Manager, Avnet. “The opportunity to be part of the next generation of a tech superstar’s growth is something we are always eager to do. I’d like to give a big thanks to CEI, PADT and Tiempo for working with us in putting on such a great event.”

Visit the Design Days page at http://www.ceigateway.com/ or here to register and find out more. Participants can select the specific consultation category they are interested in when they register. This free service is offered every month and qualification requirements are listed on the Design Days page.

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies

Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering product and services company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping solutions. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.” With over 80 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in Torrance, California, Littleton, Colorado, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Murray, Utah, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at http://www.PADTINC.com.

About CEI

The Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation is a community-based business incubator supported by and located on the GateWay Community College campus. CEI provides targeted business services and proactive business support to create a systematic link between technology development, compelling markets and opportunities; entrepreneurial and managerial talent development; early stage capital sourcing; and education and training, interns, coaching and business counseling from Maricopa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) analysts and other leading industry specialists. For more about CEI, visit www.ceigateway.com.

About Avnet, Inc.

From components to cloud and from design to disposal, Avnet, Inc. (NYSE:AVT) accelerates the success of customers who build, sell and use technology by providing a comprehensive portfolio of innovative products, services and solutions. Avnet is a global company ranked on the FORTUNE 500 with revenues of $26.2 billion for the fiscal year 2016. For more information, visit www.avnet.com.

About Tiempo Development

Tiempo offers a unique and very successful combination of a Nearshore business model, Agile Methodology, deep expertise, and advanced talent management. Building the powerful software that fits client vision and strategy, no matter whether that client relies on it to run the business or whether it is a product provided to customers. Tiempo helps companies accomplish software releases with great velocity and most cost-effectively. To learn more, visit visit www.tiempodev.com or contact Tiempo Development.

# # #

Media Contact
Alec Robertson
TechTHiNQ on behalf of PADT
585-281-6399
alec.robertson@techthinq.com
PADT Contact
Eric Miller
PADT, Inc.
Principal & Co-Owner
480.813.4884
eric.miller@padtinc.com

 

Part Scanning – An Update

3d-optical-scanner-1Did you know that PADT does scanning of parts?  No? You are not alone. We recently ran into several customers who were sending their scanning out of state and didn’t know that they could have it done by PADT, someone who is already a trusted partner. So we thought it would be a good time to do an update on our Scanning services and provide some additional background on what it is.

Part Scanning 101

The idea behind part scanning is that you want to take a part in the real world, and get an accurate model in a computer. To do this you somehow measure the part with a computer, getting a three dimensional representation of the parts surface.  Today, there are six basic ways to do this:


Physical Measurement (CMM)
Measure points on the part relative to some reference. This is great for measure simple geometry where you can reconstruct it by knowing key dimensions.
scanning-laser-scanningLaser Scanning
This process shines a laser on an object and measures the distance to the object. It does this thousands of times to build up a point array of the surface


scanning-structured-lightStructured Light Scanning
This process puts down a series of parallel lines, or a grid of lines, and measures how far they distort from a flat pattern. With this information it can create a massive amount of points on the objects surface.

scanning-cssCross Sectional Scanning
If you need to see inside, light based scanning does not work. In cross sectional scanning you machine away thin slices of an object and take an accurate picture of each layer as you go. This can then be turned in to an accurate representation of both the inside and outside of the object.
scanning-ct-scannerVolumetric Scanning
Another way around the fact that light can not penetrate an object is to use various types of radiation, like X-Rays, that go inside an object. Although new for industrial applications this method is growing for complex parts with internal geometry.
scanning-photometric-scanningPhotometric Scanning
If accuracy is not critical, then software can take pictures taken from dozens of views and reconstruct a 3D shape.  This is used most often for art and entertainment, but is not precise enough for engineering yet.

PADT offers Structured Light and Cross Sectional Scanning

scanning-point-cloud-surfaceAll of these methods create points in space.  The more sophisticated the software, the more automatic the process of assembling the points to define the surfaces of the full object. These points are sometimes called a “point cloud.”

The Point cloud can them be turned in to a faceted representation of the object.  For many people, this is all they need. This faceted representation can be rendered on a computer screen or 3D Printed.  It can also be used with inspection software to determine the accuracy of the part relative to its original specification as well as variations across multiple copies of the same geometry.

scanning-CAD-modelIf users need more, like a full CAD model, that can be created from the point cloud using specialized software.  PADT uses Geomagic DesignX.  This tool not only creates usable geometry, but it can export in the customer’s native CAD format.

To do accurate part scanning you need:

  1. A precision scanning device
  2. Software to take the measured data and create an accurate point cloud. This includes repair and cleanup tools.
  3. Software to convert the point cloud into a usable 3D CAD model
  4. or, Software to conduct accurate inspection on the measured geometry.

All of these tools require some training and practice to use efficiently.  It is fairly easy to get ball park computer models using consumer level tools. But to get accurate, engineering quality results the right tools and processes must be applied.

Why does Part Scanning Take so Long and Cost So Much?

When people ask for their first part scanning quote, they can often be surprised by the cost. The scanning process doesn’t look that hard. And to be honest, the amount of time you actually spend scanning most parts is pretty short.  The time is spent on the preparation, scanning hard-to-reach areas, the clean up, and then converting the data in to usable formats.

scanning-doing-the-workIf we are working with a light based scanner, we have to prepare the parts so that they reflect the light properly. Sometimes we have to cover the part with a find powder, sometimes we may even have to paint it.  What we need is for the reflection and color of the part to not interfere with the scanning.

If we are using cross sectional scanning, the part needs to be cast inside a rigid material, so the part we are scanning does not distort as we remove layers.  In addition, if the part is not a solid light or dark color, it may need to be died to provide contrast for the camera.

Both processes also require some study to determine the orientation of the part relative to the scanner and how the scanning process will take place. Once all this is worked out, the scanning often goes very fast. If there are nasty little parts that are hard to get to or that confuse the device, the engineer may have to modify things, do some special localized scanning, or even make castings that are then scanned.  As is usual with technical processes, a very small portion of the surface being scanned may take up the vast majority of the scanning time.

Once the scanning is done, the real hard work begins. Although software is much better than it was in the past, the resulting point cloud needs to be massaged and cleaned. Stray data is removed, and points from different scans need to be positioned and combined.  Then everything must be checked. If a CAD solid model is needed, then the engineer must spend considerable time dealing with complex features and transition areas. As with the scanning, the bulk of the time spent creating a CAD model is spent on a relatively small percentage of the geometry.

All of this adds up.  Plus, to be honest, things rarely go as planned and unexpected issues arise that need to be dealt with.

Part Scanning Services at PADT

scanning-geomagic-1Now we get to the important part of this post: hiring PADT to do your scanning.  We added this capability to support our 3D Printing customers that wanted copies of physical parts.  But as we looked at it, we found that we also had customers who needed inspection and reverse engineering of legacy parts. We studied the problem for some time and found the right tools and people to make it happen.

Our primary scanner is a Zeiss Comet L3D 5M STructured light scanner.  It used to be called a Steinbichler, till Zeiss bought them in 2015.  Although it is portable and easy to manipulate, the Comet L3D 5M is highly accurate.  It allows us to scan everything from small medical devices to the front end of acar, and to know that the resulting geometry will be accurate and usable. This is the best option for inspection and reverse engineering of high-precision parts.

scanning-padt-partsWe also have a Geomagic Capture scanner. Although less accurate it is more portable and simpler to operate. It is ideal or taking to a customer and getting geometry for reverse engineering or part copying.

If parts have internal features, and are made of plastic, we use our Cross Sectional Scanners. These high precision devices do a fantastic job and are really the best way to capture inside surfaces. Our customers love it to see how injection molded parts are coming out on well used molds.

If anything else is needed, our experts can outsource to a niche supplier.

Want to do it Yourself?

If you need to do your own scanning, no worries. PADT also sells all the tools we use inhouse to customers that need the capability internally.

Next Steps

scanning-inspection-softwareHopefully this posting has answered most of your questions and you are eager to try 3D Part Scanning.  The best place to start is to get a quote from PADT.  However, if you still have questions then feel free to contact us and fire away. We are passionate bout this capability and love talking about it.

Download our brochure here.

Either way, you can email rp@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884 and ask to talk about Part Scanning. We also have some information on our website at www.padtinc.com/scanning.

Phoenix Business Journal: Why accurate prototypes are important to product development success

Cutting corners rarely pays off, and that is especially true in product development when you skimp on physical or virtual prototyping.  In “Why accurate prototypes are important to product development success” I take a look at why accurate prototyping is so important, with some real world lesson learned as examples.

Phoenix Business Journal: ​Um, the coffee machine needs more water and 5 rules to improve your user interface design game

Usually getting coffee is just getting coffee, but a recent trip turned into some deep thoughts on user interface design.  “​Um, the coffee machine needs more water and 5 rules to improve your user interface design game” explains my encounter with the office caffeine dispenser as well as five key rules that everyone should follow when developing a user interface for a product.

ANSYS Startup Roadshow Kickoff – CEI Phoenix

Click Here to Register

Click Here to Register

Can’t make it? Keep an eye out as we will be hosting events in other locations as the roadshow continues on!

In the meantime, click here for more information on the ANSYS Startup Program.