ANSYS Convergence in Chicago – Smart People Talking about Cool Stuff, and Only a Little Wind

chicago-clouds2Once ANSYS started doing more regional user group meetings, we here at PADT decided to stay out west where we felt comfortable. So we have only attended the California and Texas events in the past.  This year we decided to venture further East and go to the Convergence meeting in Chicago.  I have to say it was a great experience, different then the Santa Clara meeting a few weeks ago.

Being from Arizona, I was a bit worried about the weather. It was appropriately windy, and unfortunately overcast with low clouds so my pictures of the famous skyline was a bit stunted.

What was so great was that the same type of smart people who get simulation were there, the products they work on were very different.  From train locomotives to exercise equipment to automotive electronics, we were exposed to a variety of very unique and very cool applications.  And as usual, the people from ANSYS, Inc. had a lot to contribute and show off that was new or coming in various programs.

The event started off with a great presentation from Sin Min Yap, VP of Marketing at ANSYS, on how simulation can be used to turn good ideas in to great products.  Some great customer stories were shared and it really set a foundation as to why we do this thing called modeling and simulation.

However, the customer keynote address stole the show. It was from Jim Kennedy at Mars Corporate Innovation. No, there is no corporation on Mars (outside of SciFi movies). This is the Mars Corporation that is famous for their candy (M&M’s!!!!) and also does several well known pet foods, Wrigley chewing gum, a bunch of food brands, and drinks.  His talk was how the manufacturing of food can be improved with simulation.  Here is a bad picture of a great slide showing the modeling in FLUENT of their gum Kneaders.

gum-kneeders

And here is a model of forming Skittles:

skittles-forming

For an engineer, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. He had other great examples, and tied it all together to show how they do some very sophisticated simulation to improve their efficiency, product quality while reducing cost and minimizing their energy footprint.

Several of us sitting in the back were just amazed at the complex material models they must be using.  Candy, chocolate, gums – much more difficult than stainless steel for sure!

The next speaker talked about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet, which is the IoT applied to the machines that are used to make things, and to monitor products in the field.  My key takeaway is that those of us who are responsible for designing new products have to start figuring out how we are going to make it all work. Simulation can be used to solve difficult packaging issues with batteries, antenna, and sensors the will soon be in most products we develop.  And ANSYS has the tools to do the simulation.

ANSYS also talked about their new ANSYS Enterprise Cloud solution. A very impressive effort to do a true Cloud solution for simulation… not just call time-sharing “cloud computing.”  Working with Amazon they have introduced a truly scalable, interactive, secure, and robust solution that sets the industry standard for Cloud based simulation. We also got a chance to play with it, because ANSYS’s Judd Kaiser was in the booth next to me.  It really is easy to implement and use.  I took a picture when Judd was not looking:

ansys_enterprise_cloud_demo

Renee Demay, the head of the ANSYS Customer Excellence team explained how ANSYS, Inc. is delivering a new more effective solution for customer support and services – focused as the name says on giving the customer and excellent experience.

And then the morning session finished on my favorite combined topic: Simulation and 3D Printing.  John Graham from ANSYS SpaceClaim gave a great talk on how SpaceClaim can be used to improve 3D Printing and serve as the bridge between scanning, 3D Printing, and simulation.

Here he is talking about the repair functionality in the tool. Something we use here at PADT all the time:

spaceclaim-stl-repair

That finished up the morning session, which was followed by a nice lunch where we were able to interact with people a lot. Several of you who read this blog stopped by to say hi. That really made my day.

PADT  had a booth:

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Several of our fiends and partners were also there, so I did a selfie with them all to say hi.  First stop was our good friends and fellow ANSYS Channel Partners SimuTech. They have a local office in Chicago:

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Right across from them were a team from VR&D, our favorite topological optimization tool:

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And NICE was there as well, showing of the remote visualization tool DCV that we use for CoresOnDemand.com and ANSYS uses in EKM and the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud:IMG_6379

The afternoon sessions were great. Lots of ANSYS and customer applications that showed the breadth and depth of usage of ANSYS products in the Midwest.

Then we had a reception, which for a Friday evening where everyone had a big commute ahead of them, was well attended.  Wine was drunk, HFSS models were shared, and the best strategy for disk array RAID configuration was debated… among other less interesting things.

A great trip, where I caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. I  look forward to exploring further east in the future!

And at least one of us will be in Houston, so if you are going make sure you stop by and say hi!

Personal Note – A Saturday of Frank Lloyd Wright

So instead of trying to red eye it back to Phoenix, I spent the night and on Saturday I went on a pilgrimage I’ve wanted to do some time: a visit to some of Frank Lloyd Wrights early creations. I won’t bore you all with my ineloquent ramblings on what a genius he was. Let me just say it was better than I expected.  His studio in his first home was nothing short of amazing (there I go, rambling…) anyhow, here are few shots I took from the outside. I didn’t take any inside pictures because: 1) I take crappy pictures, and 2) I wanted to look and explore instead of take selfies.

The first studio.

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The house attached that the studio is attached to.  You should see the playroom on the top floor. Here is a link to a great blog posting about the house.

flw4

I then went to the Unity Temple which is just down the street. It was covered in scaffolding, but the inside, although worn and in need of repair, was so amazing:

flw2

Then I drove to the University of Chicago to see my second favorite Wright structure (Falling Water being my fav, duh), the Robbie House.  It did not disappoint:flw-1

A day well spent.

flw5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have You Ever Dreamed in Color – 3D Color? 3D PDF Is Here with VCollab!

VCollab_Shaded_Logo_FinalIf you have ever dreamed of, or at least had a need for a 3D .pdf file of your simulation results, the dream is now realized thanks to VCollab.  As Eric Miller mentioned in The Focus blog back in February, the latest release of VCollab software enables users to save their results in 3D .pdf format.

We’ve now had a chance to test out the capability here at PADT, and we find it quite useful.  We’ve talked about VCollab before, but it’s a software suite that enables virtual collaboration (hence the name) by reducing what may be huge simulation files to a much smaller size, enabling others in your organization or your customers to dynamically view simulation results as well as CAD data in a light-weight viewer.  The folks at Vcollab have gone one step beyond that now by supporting the 3D .pdf format that is viewable in the standard Adobe reader.

Vcollab works with ANSYS results as well as results from lots of other simulation tools.  The process is:

You can download the sample file used in the images below:

vcollab-3d-pdf-sample-bolted1.pdf.

This is what a typical 3D .pdf file created from an ANSYS Mechanical/MAPDL results file looks like, with using the mouse to rotate and zoom around within Adobe reader.

So, if you recognize value in being able to create 3D .pdf files like this, the Vcollab software suite is worth investigating.  Vcollab does lots of useful things besides writing 3D .pdf files, including the capability to be imbedded within the ANSYS Engineering Knowledge Manager (ANSYS EKM) tool.

The best way to see the power of this tool is to request a demo.  Just fill out this form and we will reach out and set one up, followed by a 30 day trial.  .

Or check out www.vcollab.com.

 

Announcing CoresOnDemand.com – Dedicated Compute Power when you Need It

CoresOnDemand-Logo-120hWe are pleased to announce a new service that we feel is remote solving for FEA and CFD done right: CoresOnDemand.com.  We have taken our   proven CUBE Simulation Computers and built a cluster that users can simply rent.  So you get fast hardware, you get it all to your self, and you receive fantastic support from the ANSYS experts at PADT.

It is not a time share system, it is not a true "cloud" solution.  You tell us how many nodes you need and for how long and we rent them to you. You can submit batch or you can configure the machines however you need them.  Submit on the command line, through a batch scheduler, or run interactive. And when you are done, you do not have to send your files back to your desktop. We've loaded NICE DCV so you can do graphics intense pre- and post-processing from work or home, over the internet to our head nodes.  You can even work through your iPad.

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If you visit our Blog page a lot, you may have noticed the gray cloud logo with a big question mark next to it. If you guessed that was a hint that we were working on a cloud solution for ANSYS users, you were correct. We've had it up and running for a while but we kept "testing" it with  benchmarks for people buying CUBE computers. Plus we kept tweaking the setup to get the best user experience possible.  With today's announcement we are going live.

We created this service for a simple reason. Customers kept calling or emailing and asking if they could rent time on our machines.  We got started with the hardware but also started surveying and talking to users. Everyone is talking about the cloud and HPC, but we found few providers understood how to deliver the horsepower people needed in a usable way, and that users were frustrated with the offerings they had available. So we took our time and built a service that we would want to use, a service we would find considerable value in.

simulation-hardware ansys-expertise dependability

You can learn more by visiting www.CoresOnDemand.com. Or by reading the official press release included below. To get your started, here are some key facts you should know:

  1. We are running PADT CUBE computers, hooked together with infiniband. They are fast, they are loaded with RAM, and they have a ton of disk space. Since we do this type of solving all the time, we know what is needed
  2. This is a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) service. You will need to lease the licenses you need from whoever you get your ANSYS from.  As an ANSYS Channel partner we can help that process go smoothly.
  3. You do not share the hardware.  If you reserve a node, it is your node. No one else but your company can log in.  You can rent by the week, or the day.
  4. When you are done, we save the data you want us to save and then wipe the machines.  If you want us to save your "image" we can do that for a fee so next time you use the service, we can restore it to right where you were last time.
  5. Right now we are focused on ANSYS software products only. We feel strongly about focusing on what we know and maximizing value to the customers.
  6. This service is backed by PADT's technical support and IT staff. You would be hard pressed to find any other HPC provider out there who knows more about how to run ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Mechanical APDL, ANSYS FLUENT, ANSYS CFX, ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS MAXWELL, ANSYS LS-DYNA, ANSYS AUTODYN, ICEM CFD, and much more.

To talk to our team about running your next big job on CoresOnDemand.com contact us at 480-813-4884 or email cod@padtinc.com

CoresOnDemand-ANSYS-CUBE-PADT-1

See the official Press Release here

Press Release:

CoresOnDemand.com Launches as Dedicated ANSYS Simulation
High Performance Cloud Compute Resource 

PADT launches CoresOnDemand.com, a dedicated resource for users who need to run ANSYS simulation software in the cloud on optimized high performance computers.

Tempe, AZ – April 29, 2015 – Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D Printing services and products, is pleased to announce the launch of a new dedicated high performance compute resource for users of ANSYS simulation software – CoresOnDemand.com.  The team at PADT used their own experience, and the experience of their customers, to develop this unique cloud-based solution that delivers exceptional performance and a superior user experience. Unlike most cloud solutions, CoresOnDemand.com does not use virtual machines, nor do users share compute nodes. With CoresOnDemand.com users reserve one or more nodes for a set amount of time, giving them exclusive access to the hardware, while allowing them to work interactively and to set up the environment the way they want it.

The cluster behind CoresOnDemand.com is built by PADT’s IT experts using their own CUBE Simulation Computers (http://www.padtinc.com/cube), systems that are optimized for solving numerical simulation problems quickly and efficiently. This advantage is coupled with support from PADT’s experienced team, recognized technical experts in all things ANSYS. As a certified ANSYS channel partner, PADT understands the product and licensing needs of users, a significant advantage over most cloud HPC solutions.

“We kept getting calls from people asking if they could rent time on our in-house cluster. So we took a look at what was out there and talked to users about their experiences with trying to do high-end simulation in the cloud,” commented Eric Miller, Co-Owner of PADT. “What we found was that almost everyone was disappointed with the pay-per-cpu-second model, with the lack of product understanding on the part of the providers, and mediocre performance.  They also complained about having to bring large files back to their desktops to post-process. We designed CoresOnDemand.com to solve those problems.”

In addition to exclusive nodes, great hardware, and ANSYS expertise, CoresOnDemand.com adds another advantage by leveraging NICE Desktop Cloud Visualization (https://www.nice-software.com/products/dcv) to allow users to have true interactive connections to the cluster with real-time 3D graphics.  This avoids the need to download huge files or running blind in batch mode to review results. And as you would expect, the network connection and file transfer protocols available are industry standards and encrypted.

The initial cluster is configured with Intel and AMD-based CUBE Simulation nodes, connected through a high-speed Infiniband interconnect.  Each compute node has enough RAM and disk space to handle the most challenging FEA or CFD solves.  All ANSYS solvers and prep/post tools are available for use including: ANSYS Mechanical, ANSYS Mechanical APDL, ANSYS FLUENT, ANSYS CFX, ANSYS HFSS, ANSYS MAXWELL, ANSYS LS-DYNA, ANSYS AUTODYN, ICEM CFD, and much more. Users can serve their own licenses to CoresOnDemand.com or obtain a short-term lease, and PADT’s experts are on hand to help design the most effective licensing solution.

Pre-launch testing by PADT’s customers has shown that this model for remote on-demand solving works well.  Users were able to log in, configure their environment from their desktop at work or home, mesh, solve, and review results as if they had the same horsepower sitting right next to their desk.

To learn more about the CoresOnDemand: visit http://www.coresondemand.com, email cod@padtinc.com, or contact PADT at 480.813.4884. 

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 75 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, and from offices in 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.

Taking NASTRAN Input Files Into ANSYS Mechanical via External Model in ANSYS 16.0

nastran-ansys-external-model-tnI found another very nice enhancement to version 16.0 of the ANSYS Workbench/ANSYS Mechanical toolset.  If you happen to have a NASTRAN input file (.dat, .nas, and .bdf) that you need to get into ANSYS Mechanical, no longer do you have to use FE Modeler in ANSYS Workbench to perform the translation.  In fact, not only can you move the NASTRAN model into ANSYS Mechanical, but you get the existing mesh as well as newly-created geometry that can be used for boundary condition application, etc.  As with most translations from one FE tool to another, you can’t expect everything will be translated.  However, this new technique can be an incredible time saver in addition to giving us capabilities to continue and augment simulations that were previously performed in NASTRAN, now in ANSYS.

Here is an example of this new procedure.  (Note that we don’t have NASTRAN here at PADT, so I couldn’t create a generic sample of a NASTRAN model in NASTRAN.  Instead, I created a model in ANSYS, then converted it into NASTRAN using ANSYS FE Modeler to get a NASTRAN input file for the purpose of this exercise.)

Once I have the NASTRAN input file that I need to convert into ANSYS Mechanical, I launch ANSYS Workbench 16.0 and insert an External Model branch.  I then click the … button to browse to the NASTRAN input file.  In this case, the file is NASTRAN.nas.

nastran-ansys-external-model-f1

Next, I drag and drop a new analysis type block into the Project Schematic.  In this case, it was a modal analysis.  Note that you can’t drop this onto the Setup cell in the External Model block as you might expect.  You set it up as a separate block and establish the link in the next step.

nastran-ansys-external-model-f2

Next, we drag and drop the Setup cell from the External Model block onto the Model cell of the Modal analysis block.  This establishes the link from the NASTRAN model to the new Modal analysis.

nastran-ansys-external-model-f3

We also need to right click on the Setup cell in the External Model block and select Update to get a green checkmark in that cell:

nastran-ansys-external-model-f4

Notice that there is no Geometry cell in the resulting Modal analysis block.  If all goes well, there will be geometry within the Mechanical model that can be used for selection purposes (in addition to the mesh that comes in from NASTRAN). 

Next we open the Mechanical editor by double clicking on one of the cells in the Modal analysis blocks (other than the Engineering Data cell).  It may take several minutes to bring in the NASTRAN model depending on the size of the NASTRAN model.  The Mechanical window doesn’t really let you know that it’s working, but if it’s sitting there with nothing being displayed, it’s probably churning away at bringing in the NASTRAN mesh and creating surface geometry on it.

Here is what the Mechanical window looks like after the mesh is read in and geometry is automatically created.  This is the mesh from the NASTRAN file, but in this case both solid and surface geometry is also present.  It’s not guaranteed that everything will come across.  I’ve seen contact elements come through for certain types of contact but not for other types of contact for example.

nastran-ansys-external-model-f5

The next image shows that geometry was created that can be used for the purposes of inserting fixed supports, just as if the geometry had come in from a CAD system.  Note that the NASTRAN input file had NO geometry, just finite element entities.  ANSYS is creating the geometry for use in Mechanical from the information in the NASTRAN input file.

nastran-ansys-external-model-f6

Finally, after manually creating a needed contact region, I was able to solve the modal analysis, demonstrating that further simulation can be performed in ANSYS Mechanical from this model which originally came from NASTRAN.

nastran-ansys-external-model-f7

So, the main take away here is that with version 16.0 of ANSYS, we can take a NASTRAN input file and through the use of the External Model block, go directly into ANSYS Mechanical.  Not only do we get the nodes and elements as well as other finite element entities from the NASTRAN model, but if all goes well we get geometry that facilitates further processing within ANSYS Mechanical.

We certainly hope this new capability makes it easier for you to perform additional simulations in ANSYS when the starting point is a NASTRAN model.  The other formats documented for version 16.0 are ABAQUS, Fluent input files, and ICEM CFD input files.

Tech Tips and Videos for ANSYS Mechanical and CFD

ansys_free_techtipsA few weeks ago we added some great free resources to our website for existing and potential users of ANSYS Structural and CFD tools.  It includes some great videos from ANSYS, Inc. on a variety of topics as well as productivity kits. It dawned on us that many of you are faithful readers of The Focus but don’t often check out our ANSYS product web pages. So, we are including the material here for your viewing pleasure.

(7/9/2015: We just added the Electromechanical kit here.)

For structural users, we have a link to “The Structural Simulation Productivity Kit ” here. The kit includes:

  • Analyzing Vibration with Acoustic–Structural Coupling Article
  • Contact Enhancements in ANSYS Mechanical and MAPDL 15.0 Webinar
  • ANSYS Helps KTM Develop a 21st Century Super Sports Car Case Study
  • A Practical Discussion on Fatigue White Paper
  • Designing Solid Composites Article

We also have a collection of videos from ANSYS, Inc that we found useful:

For CFD users, we have a link to “The CFD Simulation Productivity Kit ” here. The kit includes:

  • Simulating Erosion Using ANSYS Computational Fluid Dynamics Presentation,
  • Cutting Design Costs: How Industry leaders benefit from Fast and Reliable CFD  White Paper,
  • Introduction to Multiphase Models in ANSYS CFD Three Part Webinar,
  • Advances in Core CFD Technology: Meeting Your Evolving Product Development Needs White Paper,
  • Turbulence Modeling for Engineering Flows Application Brief.

We also have a collection of videos from ANSYS, Inc that we found useful:

Interested in learning more, contact us or simply request a quote.

Press Release: Structural Optimization from VR&D Added to PADT Portfolio

varand-gtam-w-logosWe are very pleased to announce that we have added another great partner to our product portfolio: Vanderplaats Research  Development.  VR&D is a leading provider of structural optimization tools for simulation, and a strong partner with ANSYS.  We came across their Genesis and GTAM products when we were looking for a good topological optimization tool for one of our ANSYS customers. We quickly found it to be a great compliment, especially for the growing need to support optimization for parts made with 3D Printing.

Please find the official press release below or as a PDF file.  You can also learn more about the products on our website here. We hope to schedule some webinars on this tool, and publish some blog articles, in the coming months. 

As always, feel free to contact us for more information.  

Press Release:

PADT is now a reseller of the GTAM and GENESIS optimization tools from Vanderplaats R&D, offering leading structural geometry and topological optimization tools to enable simulation for components made with 3D Printing

Tempe, AZ – March 24, 2015 – Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT, Inc.), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D Printing services and products, is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc. (VR&D) for PADT to become a distributor of VR&D’s industry leading structural optimization tools in the Southwestern United States. These powerful tools will be offered alongside ANSYS Mechanical as a way for PADT’s customers to use topological optimization and shape optimization to determine the best geometry for their products.

The GENESIS program is a Finite Element solver written by leaders in the optimization space. It offers sizing, shape, topography, topometry, freeform, and topology optimization algorithms.  No other tool delivers so many methods for users to determine the ideal configuration for their mechanical components. These methods can be used in conjunction with static, modal, random vibration, heat transfer, and buckling simulations.  More information on GENESIS can be found at http://www.vrand.com/Genesis.html

vrand-Design-Studio-for-GENESIS

PADT recommends that ANSYS Mechanical users who require topological optimization access GENESIS through the GENESIS Topology for ANSYS Mechanical tool, or GTAM. This extension runs inside ANSYS Mechanical, allowing users the ability to use their ANSYS models and the ANSYS user interface while still accessing the power of GENESIS.  The extension allows the user to setup the topology optimization problem, optimize, post-processing, export optimized geometry all within ANSYS Mechanical user interface.

vrand-gtam-exmpl-1 vrand-gtam-exmpl-2

“We had a customer ask us to find a topological optimization solution for optimizing the shape of a part they were manufacturing with 3D Printing. We tried GTAM and immediately found it to be the type of technically superior tool we like to represent” commented Ward Rand, a co-owner of PADT.  “It didn’t take our engineers long to learn it and after receiving great support from VR&D, we knew this was a tool we should add to our portfolio.”

Besides reselling the tool, PADT is adopting both GENESIS and GTAM as their internal tools for shape optimization in support of their growing consulting in the area of design and simulation for Additive Manufacturing, popularly known as 3D Printing. PADT combines these with ANSYS SpaceClaim and Geomagic Studio to design and optimize components that will be created using 3D Printing.

“We are thrilled to partner with PADT because of their deep knowledge in simulation, additive manufacturing, and 3D printing and for their extraordinary ability to help their clients”, stated Juan Pablo Leiva, President and COO of VR&D, “We feel that their unique talents are crucial in supporting clients in today’s demanding and changing market.”

To learn more about the GENESIS and GTAM products, visit http://www.padtinc.com/vrand or contact our technical sales team at 480.813.4884 or sales@padtinc.com.

vrand-GTAM-GUI vrand-race-car-composites vrand-pedal

About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies
Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering service company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping products and services. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and an 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 75 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, its Littleton, Colorado office, Albuquerque, New Mexico office, and Murray, Utah office, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

About Vanderplaats Research & Development
Since its founding in 1984, Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc. (VR&D) has advocated for the advancement of numerical optimization in industry. The company is a premier software company, developing and marketing a number of design optimization tools, providing professional services and training, and engaging in ongoing advanced research. VR&D products include GENESIS, GTAM, VisualDOC, Design Studio, SMS, DOT, and BIGDOT. For more information on VR&D, please visit:  www.vrand.com.

ANSYS 16.0 License Manager – New Look and Feel, New Capabilities

ansys-license-manager-160-tnIf your role includes administering ANSYS licenses, you should be aware that the look and feel of the ANSYS license manager has changed somewhat at version 16.0.  The tasks that used to all be performed within the Server ANSLIC_ADMIN Utility have now been split pretty much between that tool and a new tool that runs within your browser called the ANSYS License Management Center.

The ANSYS License Management Center looks like this:

ansys-license-manager-160-f1

This new License Management Center window is opened on Windows via Start > All Programs > ANSYS, Inc. License Manager > ANSYS License Management Center, and on Linux via /ansys_inc/shared_files/licensing/start_lmcenter.

This utility is where you now install license files, start and start the license manager, and also gather diagnostic information if something goes wrong.  You can also view the license .log files here as well as ANSYS licensing documentation.

The ‘old’ Server ANSLIC_ADMIN Utility is now smaller and does less than it did in prior versions.  This is what it looks like at version 16.0:

ansys-license-manager-160-f2

This window is still useful in that you can click on View Status/Diagnostic Options to get information you can’t get in the new License Management Center, primarily Display the License Status to see what licenses are in use and are available.  This information is also available to clients via the Client ANSLIC_ADMIN Utility.  You can start the ANSYS License Management Center from here too.

One capability you won’t find in either utility is the ability to Reread the License Manager settings.  When you load a new license file, the License Management Center now automatically stops and starts the license manager so you shouldn’t have to do a reread after installing a new file, but just in case, it can still be done via the command line using these instructions:

On Windows, open a command prompt and move to:

C:\Program Files\ANSYS Inc\Shared Files\Licensing\winx64

Then issue the command:

ansysli_server –k reread

The same command works on Linux from the /ansys_inc/shared_files/licensing/linx64 directory.

Another important change is the location of the license files after they have been installed.  The new location is (on Windows):

C:\Program Files\Ansys Inc\Shared Files\Licensing\license_files

This means there is a new sub-folder named license_files that contains the license file(s).  File(s) is now plural since you can have both an ANSYS license file and an Ansoft license file in that folder, both running using the ANSYS License Management Center.  There is a new license file naming convention as well:

ANSYS License file name:  ansyslmd.lic

ANSOFT License file name:  ansoftd.lic

The path on Linux is:

 /ansys_inc/shared_files/licensing/license_files

When you install an ANSOFT license file, the license manager now does some edits to change the daemon to the ANSYS daemon in addition to renaming the file and placing it in the new location. 

One additional piece of information:  The license manager reads any .lic files that are located in the license_files folder, so it’s probably a good idea to ensure that only ‘good’ versions of ansyslmd.lic and ansoftd.lic reside in that folder. 

A major conclusion that can be drawn from all of this is that ANSYS license manager and Ansoft license manager license files can now be managed using a single licensing tool and single set of licensing software.  We’ve been waiting for this for some time and it’s nice to see it’s here and working successfully.

 

Video Tips: Trace Import Extension for Analyzing PCBs in ANSYS Mechanical

As we know trying to resolve the traces, vias and copper pads on a PCB in an FEA tool is practically unfeasible. 

This video will show the Trace Import Extension, which will fill in the gap between having to perform lumped-material analyses and having to try and resolve/mesh all the tiny features….and it does so in a pretty neat way.

Node & Element Selection in ANSYS Mechanical: Some Good News and Some Bad News (fixed)… And Some More Good News

ansys-mechanical-selection-f1First, some good news… 

In Workbench R14.5, ANSYS introduced nodal Named Selections, and in R15.0, they have added the ability to create Named Selections of elements. So now you can make groups of nodes or elements just like you can in MAPDL.  You can use these name selections for result plots to show just specific portion of the results. ansys-mechanical-selection-f2

In R15.0, you can right-click on a Name Selection in the tree and hit, “Create Nodal Name Selection”. This creates a Name Selection of all the nodes associated with the particular piece of geometry in the original Named Selection, whether that is a body, surface, edge, or vertex. Highlighting the nodal named selection in the tree will then take you to the Worksheet where you can add rows for limiting the selection of nodes to a location value or some other criteria.

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This is also where you can add a row to “Convert” the “Mesh Node” entity type to “Mesh Element”. The Mesh Element entity type has a criterion choice for how the elements are selected from the nodes.  

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“Any Node” will select all the elements that have any of their nodes in the list of nodes that make up the current named selection.  “All Nodes” will select only those elements that have all of their nodes in the current set. Many of you may already know this, and it is a great new feature, but there is a catch, and that brings us to the telling of the “Bad News”.

The Bad News…

After noticing the generation time of the name selection drastically increase when using the “All Nodes” criteria, I ran a small test case. With just a cube meshed to two different refinement levels, I tracked the generation time for the element name selection using the two different criterion. Here is what I found.

ansys-mechanical-selection-f5

I am not even going to speculate what is different with the “All Nodes” node-checking algorithm, but an increase in element count by a factor of eight caused more than a 13300% increase in generation time. But look at the generation time for the “Any Node” criteria. It stayed right on par for the different mesh sizes.

So, back to the Good News, and the Really Good News…

The Good News is that you can avoid the long generation times, in R15.0, by not using the “All Nodes” criteria. The Really Good news is that when I ran the same test in R16.0, I got 6.0 Sec for the “Any Node” criteria, and 6.3 Seconds for the “All Nodes” criteria. So ANSYS has already fixed the problem in R16.0, which just gives you another reason to upgrade. If you are going to continue using R15.0, then just stay away from the “All Nodes” criteria for the element named Selections. It is much better to use the location based filtering to cut down your nodal selection so that you can use the “Any Node” criteria.  

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Job Opening at PADT: ANSYS Account Manager

PADT_Logo_Color_100x50PADT is looking for proactive and technical sales professionals interested in joining our team to represent ANSYS software products.  There are multiple openings with opportunities in Southern California, the Phoenix Arizona metro area, Denver Colorado, Salt Lake City Utah, and Albuquerque New Mexico.  Selling ANSYS with PADT is hard but rewarding work where you get to interface with smart and capable customers and work with one of the most respected ANSYS resellers in the world.  Learn more on our career page or simply send your resume to jobs@padtinc.com.

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Put 3D Simulation Results into 3D PDF with VCollab

VCollab_Shaded_Logo_FinalPDF has become a great, versatile format for sharing electronic documents. But engineers doing simulation were stuck with only being able to include 2D images in their PDF files. With the release of a new Plugin for VCollab Professional, you can include 3D model and result plots right in your PDF files.  A great way to archive, a great way to share.

You can see the results by checking out these two examples:

Here is a small example of a car front: vcollab-3dPDF-example-carfront

And here is the full car: vcollab-3dPDF-example-car

You can read the full press release here.

  vcollab-3dpdf-airplane1    

PADT uses VCollab to convert our CAD geometry and simulation results in to smaller, portable formats that can be imbedded in to PowerPoint, Word, websites, portals, PLM/PDM systems, etc…  It is a great way to view complicated data without having to fire up the full simulation tool.  And the files are much smaller than a full result file, so it also is a great way to get key results off of a remote server and interact with them quickly and efficiently.

Now with 3D PDF support the end user doesn't even have to have a Microsoft Office product or be on the web, they can just view it in their Adobe Acrobat reader.  If you are interested in trying out VCollab to make 3D PDF content or for any other application, contact us at sales@padtinc.com or call 1.800.293.PADT or 480.813.4884. We can arrange for a demonstration over the web, provide you with a trial copy, and work out the best configuration for your needs. 

Using Bright CM to Manage a Linux Cluster

COD_Cluster-Bright-1What goes into managing a Linux HPC (High Performance Computing) cluster?

There is an endless list of software, tools and configurations that are required or recommended for efficiently managing a shared HPC cluster environment.

A shared HPC cluster typically has many layers that deliver a usable environment that doesn’t have to  depend on the users coordinating closely or the system administrators being superheroes of late-night patching and just-in-time recovery.

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Figure 1 Typical Layers of a shared HPC cluster.

For each layer in the diagram above there are numerous open-source and paid software tools to choose from. The thing to note is that it’s not just a choice. System administrators have to work with the user requirements, compatibility tweaks and ease of implementation and use to come up with a perfect recipe (much like carrot cake). Once the choices have been made, users and system administrators have to train, learn and start utilizing these tools.

HPC @ PADT Inc.

At PADT Inc. we have several Linux based HPC clusters that are in high demand. Our Clusters are based on the Cube High Value Performance Computing (HVPC) systems and are designed to optimize the performance of numerical simulation software. We were facing several challenges that are common with building & maintaining HPC clusters. The challenges were mainly in the areas of security, imaging and deployment, resource management, monitoring and maintenance.

To solve these challenges there is an endless list of software tools and packages both open-source and commercial. Each one of these tools comes with its own steep learning curve and mounting time to test & implement.

Enter – Bright Computing

After testing several tools we came across the Bright Computing – Bright Cluster Manager (Bright CM). Bright CM eliminates the need for system administrators to manually install and configure the most common HPC cluster components. On top of that it provides the majority of the HPC software packages, tools and software libraries in their default software image.

A Bright CM cluster installation starts off with an extremely useful installation wizard that asks all of the right questions while giving the user full control to customize the installation. With a note pad, a couple of hours and a basic understanding of HPC clusters, you are ready to install your applications.

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Figure 2. Installation Wizard

An all knowing dashboard helps system admins master and monitor the cluster(s) or if you prefer the CLI CM shell provides full functionality through command line. From the dashboard system admins can manage multiple clusters down to the finest details.

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Figure 3. Cluster Management Interface.

An extensive cluster monitoring interface allows systems admins, users and key stakeholders to generate and view detailed reports about the different cluster components.

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Figure 4. Cluster Monitoring Interface.

Bright CM has proven to be a valuable tool in managing and optimizing our HPC environment. For further information and a demo of Bright Cluster Manager please contact sales@padtinc.com.

10 Useful New Features in ANSYS Mechanical 16.0

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PADT is excited about the plethora of new features in release 16.0 of ANSYS products.  After sorting through the list of new features in Mechanical, here are 10 enhancements that we found to be particularly useful for general applications.


1: Mesh Display Style

This new option in the details view for the mesh branch makes it easy to visualize mesh quality items such as aspect ratio, skewness, element quality, etc.  The default style is body color, but it can be changed in the details to element quality, for example, as shown here:

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Figure 1. A. – Mesh Display Style Set to Element Quality

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Figure 1. B. – Element Quality Plot After Additional Mesh Settings

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Figure 1. C. – Accessing Display Style in the Mesh Details


2: Image to Clipboard

How many times have you either done a print screen > paste into editing tool > crop or done an image to file to get the plots you need into tools such as Word and PowerPoint?  The new Image to Clipboard menu pick streamlines this process.  Now, just get the image the way you want it in the geometry view, right click, and select Image to Clipboard.  Or just use Ctrl + C.  When you paste, you’ll be pasting the contents of that view window directly.  Here’s what it looks like:

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Figure 2 – Right Click, Image to Clip Board


3: Beam Contact Formulation

This was a beta feature at 15.0, but if you didn’t get a chance to try it out, it’s now fully supported at 16.0.  The idea here is that instead of the ‘traditional’ bonded contact methods (using the augmented Lagrange or pure penalty formulation) or the Multi-Point Constraint (MPC) bonded option, we now have a new choice of beam contact.  This option utilizes internally-created massless linear beam elements to connect the two sides of a contact interface together.  This can be more efficient than the traditional formulations and can avoid the over constraints that can happen if multiple contact regions utilizing the MPC option end up generating constraint equations that tend to conflict with each other.

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Figure 3 – Beam Formulation for Bonded Contact


4: Nonlinear Adaptive Region

If you have ever been frustrated by the error message in the Solution Information window that says, “Element xyz … has become highly distorted…”, version 16.0 adds a new tool to our toolbox with the Nonlinear Adaptive Region capability.  This capability is in its infancy stage at 16.0, but in the right circumstances it allows the solution to recover from highly distorted elements by pausing, remeshing, and then continuing.  We plan on publishing more details on this capability soon, but for now please know that it exists and more can learned in the 16.0 Mechanical Help.  There are a lot of restrictions on when it can work, but a big one is that it only works for elements that become overly deformed due to large and nonuniform deformation, meaning not due to unstable materials, numerical instabilities, or structures that are unstable due to buckling effects.

As shown in figure 4. A., a Nonlinear Adaptive Region can be inserted under the Solution branch.  It is scoped to bodies.  Options and controls are set in the details view.

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Figure 4. A. – Nonlinear Adaptive Region

If the solver encounters a ‘qualifying event’ that triggers a remesh, the solver output will inform us like this:

 

**** REGENERATE MESH AT SUBSTEP     5 OF LOAD STEP      1 BECAUSE OF
      NONLINEAR ADAPTIVE CRITERIA

 

 

 

 

AmsMesher(ANSYS Mechanical Solver Mesher),Graph based ANSYS Meshing EXtension,v0.96.03b
(c)ANSYS,Inc. v160-20141009
  Platform           :  Windows 7 6.1.7601
  Arguments          :  F:\Program Files\ANSYS Inc\v160\ANSYS\bin\winx64\AnsMechSolverMesh.exe
                     :  -m
                     :  G:\Testing\16.0\_ProjectScratch\Scr692\file_inpRzn_0001.cdb
                     :  –slayers=2
                     :  –silent=0
                     :  –aconcave=15.0000
                     :  –aconvex=15.0000
                     :  –gszratio=1.0000
  Seed elements      :  _RZNDISTEL block

– 17:6:17 2015-2-11

  ===================================================================
  == Mesh quality metrics comparison                                
  ===================================================================
  Element Average    :  ——–Source——–+——–Target——–
  ..Skewness(Volume) :    4.0450e-001             4.1063e-001        
  ..Aspect Ratio     :    2.3411e+000             2.4331e+000        
  Domain Volume      :    8.6109e-003             8.6345e-003        

  Worst Element      :  ——–Source——–+——–Target——–
  ..Skewness(Volume) :    0.8564  (e552     )      0.7487  (e2217    )   
  ..Aspect Ratio     :    4.9731  (e434     )      6.8070  (e2236    )   

  ===================================================================
  == Remeshing result statistics                                    
  ===================================================================
  Domain(s)          :   1      
  Region(s)          :   1      
  Patche(s)          :   7      
  nNode[New]         :   39      
  nElem[New/Eff/Src] :   79 / 92 / 2076      

  Peak memory        :   10 MB

– 17:6:17 2015-2-11
– AmsMesher run completed in 0.225 seconds

  ========================= End Run =================================
  ===================================================================

 **** NEW MESH HAS BEEN CREATED SUCCESSFULLY. CONTINUE TO SOLVE. 

Results item tabular listings will show that a remesh has occurred, as shown in figure 4. B.

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Figure 4. B. – Results Table Indicating a Remesh Occurred in the Nonlinear Adaptive Region

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Figure 4. C. – Before and After Remesh Due to Nonlinear Adaptive Region


5: Thermal Fluid Flow via Thermal ‘Pipes’

This has also been a beta option in prior releases, but nicely, at 16.0 it becomes a production feature.  The idea here is that we can use the ANSYS Mechanical APDL FLUID116 elements in Mechanical, without needing a command object.  These fluid elements have temperature as their degree of freedom in this case, and enable the effects of one dimensional fluid flow.  This means we have a reduced order model for capturing heat transfer due to a fluid moving through some kind of cavity without having to explicitly model that cavity.  The pipe ‘path’ is specified using a line body.

The line body gets defined with a cross section in CAD, and is tagged as a named selection in Mechanical.  This thermal pipe can then interact on appropriate surfaces in your model via a convection load.  Once the convection load is applied on appropriate surfaces in your model, the Fluid Flow option can then be set to Yes, and the line body is specified as the appropriate named selection.  Appropriate BC’s need to be applied to the line body, such as temperature constraints and mass flow rate, as shown in figure 5.

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Figure 5 – Thermal “Pipe” Line Body at Top, Showing Applied Boundary Conditions


6: Solver Pivot Checking Control

This new option under Analysis Settings > Solver Controls allows you to potentially continue an analysis that has stopped due to pivoting issues, meaning a model that’s not fully constrained or one that is having trouble due to contact pairs not being fully in contact. 

The options are Program Controlled, Warning, Error, and Off.  The Warning setting is the one to use if you want the solver to continue after any pivoting issues have occurred.  The Error setting means that the solver will stop if pivoting issues occur.  The Off setting results in no pivot checking to occur, while Program Controlled, which is the default, means that the solver will decide.

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Figure 6 – Solver Pivot Checking Controls Under Analysis Settings


7: Contact Result Trackers

This new feature allows you to more closely track contact status data while the solution is running, or after it has completed.  This capability uses the .cnd file that is created during the solution in the solver directory.  It is useful because it gives you more information on the behavior of your contact regions during solution so you can have more confidence that things are progressing well or potentially stop the solution and take corrective action if they are not.  The tracker objects get inserted under the Solution Information branch, as shown in figure 7. A.

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Figure 7. A. – Contact Trackers Inserted Under Solution Information

A large variety of quantities can be selected to track, such as Number Contacting, Number Sticking, Gap, Penetration, etc.

ansys-mechanical-16-f7b

Figure 7. B. – Contact Results Tracker Settings in the Details View

Contact results tracker quantities can be viewed in real time during the solution, as shown in figure 7. C.

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Figure 7. C. – Contact Results Tracker Showing Gap Decreasing as the Solution Progresses


8: Tree Filtering

For large assemblies or other complex models, there are useful enhancements in how the tree can be filtered, including the ability to create Groups.  Groups can consist of tree entities that are geometry, coordinate systems, connection features, boundary conditions, or even results.  Grouping is accomplished as easily as selecting the desired items in the tree, then right clicking to specify Group, as shown in Figure 8. A.

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Figure 8. A. – Grouping Displacements

A new folder in the tree is then created which can be named something useful.  Figure 8. B. shows the displacement boundary condition group (folder) after it was given a name.

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Figure 8. B. – Group of Displacement BC’s, Given a Meaningful Name

It’s easy to right click and Ungroup if needed, and there is also a Group Similar Objects option which allows you to select just one item in the tree and easily group all similar items by right clicking.


9: Results Set Listing Enhancements

In addition to the information on remeshing that we mentioned back in useful new feature number 4, there is a new capability to right click in the tabular listing of results and then right click to create total deformation or equivalent stress results.  This capability can make it faster to create a deformation or stress plot for a particular time point or result set of interest.

The procedure to do this is:

  • Left click on the Solution branch in the tree.
  • Left click on the desired Results set in Tabular Data
  • Right click on that results set and select Create Total Deformation Results or Create Equivalent Stress Results, as shown in figure 9.

The result of these steps will be a new result item in the tree, waiting for you to evaluate so you can see the new results plot.

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Figure 9 – Right Click in Solution Tabular Data to Create Deformation or Equivalent Stress Result Items


10: Explode View

We’ve saved a fun one for last, the new Explode View capability.  This allows you to incrementally ‘explode’ the view of your assemblies, making it potentially easier to visualize the parts and interaction between parts that make up the assembly.  To use this feature, make sure the Explode View Options toolbar is turned on in your View settings.  There are several options for the ‘explosion center’, such as the assembly center or the global or a user defined coordinate system.

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Figure 10. A. – The Explode View Options Toolbar

As you can see in figure 10. A., there is a slider that allows you to control the ‘level’ of view explosion.  Keep in mind this is just a visual tool and does nothing to the coordinates of the parts in your assemblies.

Figures 10. B. and 10. C. show various slider settings for the exploded view of an assembly.

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Figure 10. B. – Explode View Level 3

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Figure 10. C. – Explode View Level 4


This concludes our tour of 10 useful new features in ANSYS Mechanical 16.0.  We hope you find this information helps you get your ANSYS Mechanical simulations completed more efficiently.  There are lots and lots of other new features that we didn’t mention here.  The Release Notes in the Help covers a lot of them.  We’ll be writing more about some of the things we mentioned here as well as some of the other new features soon.  

PADT’s ANSYS Sales Team Celebrates Sales Record for 2014

2014 was both a challenging and rewarding year at PADT. One area of the company that achieved success last year was the ANSYS Sales team.  Lead by Bob Calvin, our account  managers Oren Raz and Patrick Barnett worked with the support of our technical team  throughout the year to help our customers find the right solution for their simulation needs. All that hard work resulted in a record year of sales for ANSYS products by PADT.

A big "Thank You" needs to go out to all of our fantastic customers who make selling and supporting this tool such a pleasure. Our success is a direct result of the success that they are having in the application of ANSYS, Inc. technology to improve their products and their product development process. I know that sounds kind of "salesy" but it is true.  We keep selling more of this stuff for one simple reason, it works. 

And making it work is also the job of our technical support team, our engineers who serve as application engineers, and the business support staff that takes care of the details. 

 This week we were lucky to have Bob Thibeault, the new ANSYS Director North America Channel, and Clark Cox, the ANSYS Channel Account Manager, visit Phoenix and we were able to get a picture with them as we placed our 6th annual sales achievement medal on our "wall o' awards."

PADT-2014-ANSYS-Sales-Achievement-Award
2014 Accomplished – Putting the medal on the wall
(L to R) Clark Cox, Bob Thibeault, Ward Rand, Eric Miller, Bob Calvin

Things are already off to a great start for 2015 and we hope to be working with even more customers as we help them explore new and profitable ways to apply this technology. 

Quick Tip: Concatenating Text Files Using ANSYS Mechanical APDL

So you have text output from some ANSYS analysis and you wish you could just do this:

cat lift.txt  cop.txt drag.txt >> results.txt

and you are writing an ANSYS macro and want it to run on all platforms.  The following macro will use APDL commands to join the files together. 

macro1.mac

/inquire,linesin1,lines,lift,txt

*sread,str1array,lift,txt,,80,,linesin1

/inquire,linesin2,lines,cop,txt

*sread,str2array,cop,txt,,80,,linesin2

/inquire,linesin3,lines,drag,txt

*sread,str3array,drag,txt,,80,,linesin3

*cfopen,results,txt

*vlen,linesin1

*vwrite,str1array(1)

%80S

*vlen,linesin2

*vwrite,str2array(1)

%80S

*vlen,linesin3

*vwrite,str3array(1)

%80S

*cfclose

Bonus: If you want to strip some lines off of the top or read less than all the lines, you can pass additional arguments to *sread:

/inquire,linesin1,lines,lift,txt

Lines_skip=5

Lines_read=linesin1-lines_skip

*sread,str1array,lift,txt,,80,lines_skip,lines_read