By now you’ve probably heard that ANSYS versions 18.0, 18.1, and 18.2 have all been released in 2017. While 18.0 was the ‘point’ release in January, it should be noted that 18.1 and 18.2 are not ‘patches’ or service packs, but are full releases each with significant enhancements to the code. We’ll present some significant and useful enhancements for each.
Number 1: First and foremost – info on the new features is more readily accessible with the Mechanical Highlights list. The first time you launch Mechanical, you’ll see a hyperlinked list of new release highlights.
One you actually do something in Mechanical, though, that list goes away. There is a simple way to get it back: Click on the Project branch in the Mechanical tree, then click on the Worksheet button in the menu near the top of the window.
Clicking on the hyperlinks in the list or simply scrolling down gives us more information on each of the listed enhancements. Keep in mind the list is only highlights and by no means has all of the new features listed. A more detailed list can be found in the ANSYS Help, in the Release Notes.
Number 2: A major new feature that became available in 18.0 is Topology Optimization. We’ve written more about Topology Optimization here
Number 3: Another really useful enhancement in 18.0 is the ability to define a beam connection as a pretensioned bolt. This means we no longer need to have a geometry representation of a bolt if we want a simpler model. We can simply insert a beam connection between the two sides of the bolted geometry, and define the pretension on that resulting beam.
Beam connections are inserted in the Connections branch in Mechanical. Once the beam is fully defined, it can have a bolt pretension load applied to it, just like as if the beam geometry was defined as a solid or beam in your geometry tool. Here you can see a beam connection used for bolt pretension on the left, with a traditional geometric representation of a pretensioned bolt on the right:
Number 4: A very nice capability added in version 18.1 is drag and drop contact regions for contact sizing in the Mesh branch. Contact elements work best when the element sizes on both sizes of the interface are similar, especially for nonlinear contact. ANSYS Mechanical has had Contact Sizing available as a mesh control for a long time. Contact Sizing allows us to specify an element size or relevance level once, for both sides of one or more contact regions.
What’s new in 18.1 is the ability to drag and drop selected contacts from the Connections branch into the Mesh branch. Just select the desired contact regions with the mouse, then drag that selection into the Mesh branch. Then specify the desired mesh sizing controls for contact.
This is what the dragging and dropping looks like:
After dropping into the Mesh branch, we can specify the element size for the contact regions:
This shows the effect of the contact sizing specification on the mesh:
Number 5: An awesome new feature in 18.2 is element face selection, and what you can do with it. There is a new selection filter just for element face selection, shown here in the red box:
Once the element face select button is clicked, element faces can be individually selected, box selected, or paint selected simply by holding down the left mouse button and dragging. The green element faces on the near side have been selected this way:
The selected faces can then be converted to a Named Selection, or items such as results plots can be scoped to the face selection:
Number 6: Finally, to finish up, some new hotkeys were added in 18.2. Two really handy ones are:
- Z = zoom fit or zoom to the current selection of entities
- <Ctrl> K = activate element face selection
- F11 = make the graphics window full screen!
- Click F11 again to toggle back to normal size
Please realize that this list is just a tiny subset of the new features in ANSYS 18. We encourage you to try them out on your own, and investigate others that may be of benefit to you. Keep the Mechanical Highlights list from Number 1 in mind as a good source for info on new capabilities.
Yesterday ANSYS, Inc. did a webinar about a technology that was going to “Change the way simulation is done.” If you have been around the world of FEA and CFD for the 30+ years I have you have heard that statement before. And rarely does the actual product change match the hype. Not true for ANSYS Discovery Live. If anything, I think they are holding back. This is disruptive, this is a tool that will change how people do simulation. In this post I’ll share my thoughts on what it is and why I think it is so transformative, and then in the second half (go ahead, if you don’t want to listen to me go on and on about how much I like this tool, skip ahead) there are some tips on how to get your hands on it to see for yourself.
What is ANSYS Discovery Live?
ANSYS Discovery Live is a new multiple physics simulation platform that combines several key ingredients to produce a software tool that engineers can use to do almost instantaneous virtual prototypes of the behavior of their designs directly from their solid models. The developers at ANSYS, Inc. have combined their knowledge of advanced solver technology, making solvers parallel for Graphical Processor Units (GPUs, high-end graphics cards), direct solid modeling (SpaceClaim), and some advanced stuff on the discretization side I don’t think I can talk about. All of those things embedded inside SpaceClaim make ANSYS Discovery Live.
Once you have a solid model in the tool, you simply define what physics you want to solve and some boundary conditions, then it solves. In almost real time. Right there in front of you. The equivalent steps of meshing, building the model, solving it, extracting results, and displaying the results are done automatically. It may iterate a few times to converge on a solution, but in a few seconds, you will have a good enough answer to give you insight into your design.
And that is the key point. This is not a replacement for ANSYS Mechanical, FLUENT, or HFSS. It is a tool for exploring your designs and gaining insight into their behavior. It allows the design engineer, with very little training or expertise, to exercise their design and see what happens.
The product lives inside ANSYS Spaceclaim and can be installed on its own. It runs on Windows and requires a NVidia graphics card with a newer GPU (see below for more on that). Right now the product is in pre-release mode and anyone, yes anyone, can go to www.ansys.com/discovery and download it and try it out. And please, share your feedback. Expect the product to be released in the first quarter of 2018. Pricing and bundling have not been firmed up yet, but from what we have seen the plans are reasonable and make sense.
Why is it Unique in the Industry?
Some of the first comments I saw on social media about ANSYS Discovery Live after the webinar were that it is not a unique tool. There are other GPU based solvers out there. That is true. But even though those tools are super fast at solving, they have not been widely adopted. The ANSYS product is unique because it: 1) combines GPU based solvers for multiple physics and 2) is built into a fully functioning solid modeling tools. A third might be that it is also an ANSYS product, which means it will be backed technically and supported well.
Why I think that the Simple Fact that it Exists is Important?
During an interview for a magazine article about innovation in product development this week I was asked what is keeping innovation from happening more often. My answer was that most companies with the resources, both money and people, to innovate are choosing to acquire rather than innovate internally. They let others raise money, take all the risk, work out all the problems, deal with all the issues of trying to make something new. And then when they succeed, they buy them. There is nothing morally wrong with that approach, it is just inefficient and inaccurate. Every innovation has to not only survive its technical challenges, it has to survive being a startup.
What ANSYS, Inc. has done is the opposite. They could have purchased a GPU based solver startup and checked the box. But instead, they took people from different business units, several that were acquired, and put them together and said: “innovate… but make it something very useful.” And they did. The fact that they executed on the logistics of a new product that used new and old technology across physics and across software development realms, is fantastic. It makes me feel good about ANSYS, Inc’s true dedication to improving their products.
How will it Change Simulation?
In my career, I have had the same conversation dozens of times “Let me go out to the lab and tinker with it, I’ll figure out what is going on.” That is the way you had to explore your product to get a “feel” for what is going on. Simulation took too long and you became so wrapped up in the process of building and running a model that you could not really explore the behavior of your product. Now we can.
ANSYS Discovery Live is called Discovery Live not because anyone at ANSYS is a marketing genius (sorry guys…) but because that is what it lets you do. Discover the behavior of your product live. You simply play with it and see what happens. And this will change simulation because we know can move from verification or optimization to simply experimenting and gaining a deeper understanding, early in the design process. We will still do what is now I guess called traditional simulation. We will need more accuracy, more complex physics, loads, and behavior. But early on we can learn so much by virtually experimenting.
Is it the Perfect Tool Right out of the Box?
This is not a perfect-does-everything tool. First off, it is a pre-release. The basic functionality to make it useful is there. More than I thought would be available in a first release. But there are limitations because it is new, or because of the approach. It is not as accurate as more traditional approaches. The way it works takes some shortcuts on geometry and can’t include some behaviors. This should improve over time but it will never be accurate as more time-consuming approaches that simply have more functionality.
Over the next two to three years we will see it mature and add functionality and accuracy. The GPU’s the tool depends on will offer more performance for less money as well. This is a journey, but right now everyone I have talked to who has actually played with the pre-release is very happy with the functionality and accuracy that is there now. Because it is sufficient to do the experimentation and exploration it was designed to allow.
ANSYS, Inc. realized that this type of tool demos so well, and is so different, that a skeptical group of engineers will not accept what they see in a webinar as accurate. So they have made the pre-release available for use. You can download it and install it, or explore with it in the cloud through your browser.
- To get started, go to www.ansys.com/discovery and look around. The videos are awesome! When you are ready to try it out, click on Download Now. Fill out the form. Don’t complain. Yes you will get a few emails and a salesperson (gasp!) may call you. It’s worth some emails and maybe a phone call.
- Set yourself up there. There is a verification code step and once you put that in and create your login, you have to click on some legal agreements, including export controls. Save your login info, you will need it to get back in.
- After that either start the download or the Cloud Trial Option. The cloud trial didn’t work for me, read below how I got to that function.
- If you chose download it will download a big Zip File, over 1 GB. It is a full solid modeler and CFD/Structural/Thermal solver… so it is big.
- Once it is there, unzip, and run Setup.exe. follow the steps and you will be there.
- If you don’t have a graphics card that will run this, then use the cloud demo. Like I said above, the button didn’t work for me. If you have that problem or you want to use it after your first login, go to:
- https://discoveryforum.ansys.com/ and click on “Getting Started.”
- Scroll down a bit and find the “Cloud Trial” post. That one takes you to the page where you can find a server near you to try things out on. It’s pretty slick.
- If you need to get back here, use https://discoveryforum.ansys.com/ and log in with the email and password you gave at registration,
The only sticky bit about this whole thing is that it run a subset of Nvidia graphics cards. So you have to have one of those cards. According to the information in the forum:
ANSYS Discovery Live relies on the latest GPU technology to provide its computation and visual experience. To run the software, you will require:
– A dedicated NVIDIA GPU card based on the Kepler, Maxwell or Pascal architecture. Most dedicated NVIDIA GPU cards produced in 2013 or later will be based on one of these architectures.
– At least 4GB of video RAM (8GB preferred) on the GPU.
Also, please ensure you have the latest driver for your graphics card, available from NVIDIA Driver Downloads. You can also refer to the post on Graphics Performance Benchmarks. Performance of Discovery Live is less dependent on machine CPU and RAM. A recent generation 64-bit CPU running Windows, and at least 4GB of RAM will be sufficient. If you do not have a graphics card that meets these specifications, the software will not run. However, you can try ANSYS Discovery Live through an online cloud-based trial, which requires only an internet browser and a reasonably fast internet connection.
I didn’t know if my GPU on my laptop would work, so I went to https://www.techpowerup.com and put in my card model (nvidia m500m) and it told me it was Maxwell technology.
Go Forth and Discover, and Share
Don’t hesitate, download this and try it out. Even if you are a high-end combustion simulation expert that will never need it, if you are interested in Simulation you should still try it out. Use the forum to share your thoughts and questions. The gallery is already filling up with some fantastic real world examples.
One of the newest materials available for the Stratasys Fortus 450 users (other machines could have this capability at a later date) is the Nylon 12CF. Nylon 12CF is a Carbon Fiber filled Nylon 12 filament thermoplastic. The carbon fiber is chopped fibers that are 150 microns long. This is Stratasys’ highest strength and stiffness to weight ratio for any of their materials to date as shown below.
Often times, when Stratasys is getting close to releasing a new material, they will allow certain users to be a beta test site. One beta user was Ashley Guy who is the owner of Utah Trikes, which is located in Payson, Utah. He is having so much success with this material that he is making production parts with it. Watch this video to hear more from Ashley and to see some of his 3D printed parts.
Talking with Ashley, he has helped us with understanding some of the tips and tricks to get better results from printing with this material. One change that he highly recommends is to adjust the air gap between raster’s to -.004”. This will force more material between the raster’s so there won’t be as many noticeable air gaps. Here is a visual representation of the air gap difference using Stratasys software Insight:
The end goal at Utah Trikes is to produce production parts with this material, so by adjusting the air gap, the appearance of the parts look close to injection mold quality after the parts have been run through a tumbler. Some key things that I really like about this material is that the support material is soluble and easily removed using PADT’s own support cleaning apparatus (SCA Tank) that aid with the support removal. After the support has been removed, they are placed in a tumbling machine to smooth the surfaces of the part with different media within the tumbling machine. Any post process drilling or installing of helicoil inserts or adding bushings to the part is done manually.
Jerry Feldmiller of Orbital ATK, who also did a beta test of this material at his site in Chandler, Arizona, mentions these 3 tips:
- Nylon12 CF defaults to “Use model material for Support”. 90% of the time I uncheck this option.
- I use stabilizing walls and large thin parts to anchor the part to the build sheet and prevent peal up.
- Use seam control set to Align to Nearest.
Jerry also supplied his Nylon 12CF Tensile Test that he performed for this new material as shown below. He mentions that the Tensile Strength is 8-15 ksi depending on X-Y orientation.
~5 ksi in Z-axis, slightly lower than expected.
This part is used to clamp a rubber tube which replace the old ball valve design at ATK. Ball valves are easily contaminated and have to be replaced. After two design iterations, the tool is functioning.
Jerry also follows a guide that Stratasys offers for running this material. If you would like a copy of this guide, please email me your info and I will send it to you. My email is James.firstname.lastname@example.org
Now onto Stratasys and the pointers that they have for this material. First, make sure the orientation of the part is built in its strongest orientation. Nylon materials have the best layer-to-layer bond when comparing them against the other thermoplastics that Stratasys offers.
Whenever you print with the Nylon materials (Nylon 6, 12, and 12CF), it is advised to print the sacrificial tower so that any loose strands of material are collected in the sacrificial tower instead of being seen on the 3D printed part. You also want to make sure that these materials are all stored in a cool and dry area. Moisture is the filaments worst enemy, so by storing the material properly, this will help tremendously with quality builds.
It is also recommended for parts larger than 3 inches in height to swap the support material for model material when possible. Since the support material has a different shrink factor than the model material, it is advised to print with model material where permitted. This will also speed your build time up as the machine will not have to switch back and forth between model and support material. We have seen some customers shave 5+ hours off 20 hour builds by doing this.
This best practice paper is the quick tips and tricks for this Nylon 12CF material from our users of this material. The Stratasys guide goes into a little more detail on other recommendations when printing with this material that I would like to email to you. Please email me with your info.
Let us know if this material is of interest to you and if you would like us to print a sample part for testing purposes.
Being able to grow your own replacement organ is one of those things, like flying cars, that we have been waiting a long time for. The combination of stem cells and 3D Printing may be what we need to get that new liver on order. In “How close are we to 3-D Printing human organs?” I go over where we are with this technology and what is needed to take those final steps.
As with any technology, automation of social media has been co opted for evil. A recent example of this with the President gave me a bit of a scare, and in “‘Bots’ are here, and they are scaring this tech guy a little” I share why and what we can do about it.
Self-driving cars are being tested in the Phoenix area now, and they will be available to businesses and consumers soon. Such a significant change will affect tech businesses, even if they are not in the automotive supply chain. In “Autonomous cars are coming soon. What you need to know” we take a look at the tech behind them and what businesses need to know about this disruptive trend.
Simulation software enables product development engineers to gain insights that were previously possible only through making and breaking expensive prototypes. However, such software isn’t for every engineer. It can be difficult to learn and master, and often simulation results take time to set up and calculate. But what if simulation could be faster and easier?
With its Discovery Live technology, ANSYS revolutionizes product design.
This simulation software provides instantaneous simulation results while you design and edit and enables you to experiment with design ideas for on-the-spot feedback. These immediate insights make simulation useful and relevant to every engineer for upfront CAE. Discovery Live’s speed and simplicity represents a quantum leap forward in simulation technology, and it enables you to spend more time with answers instead of questions.
With Discovery Live, you can:
- Experiment with design ideas, easily make changes
and receive instantaneous engineering insights
- Perform 10 to 1,000 simulations in the same timeframe that was once needed to perform just one simple simulation
- Simulate on newly created models or any imported CAD file
- Investigate more options earlier in the design process and develop new products that get to market faster
- Explore all your “what if” design ideas at little to no cost in time and effort
- Facilitate breakthroughs and innovations and take your engineering efforts to the next level
As Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) remains one of the most flexible and accurate tools for developing solutions involving fluid flows in a variety of industries, it is important of engineers to stay up to date on the software that makes it all possible: ANSYS.
Thanks to the latest version ANSYS Fluent, engineers now more than ever, can generate unexpected insights and additional value, helping to greatly improve the effectiveness of their product development process.
Join PADT’s CFD Team Lead Engineer, Clinton Smith, for a live webinar, covering the various improvements and enhancements made to the Fluent tool in ANSYS 18.2.
By attending this webinar, you will learn how Fluent 18.2 can help users to:
- Define a scalar transport equations to improve results for chemical species
- Visualize injection position and orentation during model setup
- Accurately predict cavitation in high pressure devices with non-condensable gases
- And much more!
Don’t miss your chance to attend this upcoming event,
click below to secure your spot today!
If this is your first time registering for one of our Bright Talk webinars, simply click the link and fill out the attached form. We promise that the information you provide will only be shared with those promoting the event (PADT).
You will only have to do this once! For all future webinars, you can simply click the link, add the reminder to your calendar and you’re good to go!
I still can’t believe it. I’m still kind of mad. I went with my son to get his driver’s licence and it was a smooth and efficient process. After I got done reeling from this change in a cornerstone of common modern struggles, I realized that “If the DMV can be efficient, so can your business.” We no longer have an excuse for being inefficient, if the DMV can clean up its act we have to.
PADT and Stratasys have worked with Lockheed Martin to establish a new Additive Manufacturing Laboratory at Metropolitan State University in downtown Denver. The Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory is the first-of-its-kind facility in Colorado. It is focused on giving students and industry access to the equipment and faculty needed to develop the next generation of manufacturing tooling, based on the use of 3D printing to make the tooling.
This is PADT’s third successful contribution to the creation of Academia + Industry + Equipment Manufacturer lab, the others being at ASU Polytechnic focused on characterization of 3D Printed parts and at Mesa Community College, focused on training the needed technicians and engineers for running and maintaining additive manufacturing systems. These types of efforts show the commitment from Stratasys, industrial partners, and PADT to making sure that the academic side of new manufacturing technology is being addressed and is working with industry.
We reported on the grand opening of the facility here,and are very pleased to be able to announce the official partnership for the Laboratory. Great partners make all the difference.
The ability to take a model of some object on a computer and make a physical copy with one machine, 3-D Printing or Additive Manufacturing, has been around for more than twenty-five years. Recently, the bug noise in 3D Printing has been around metal 3D Printing. It is a big deal, and in “What’s so exciting about metal 3-D printing anyway?” I explain why engineers are so head-over-heals for this new capability.
High Performance Computing (HPC) has proven to be critical for simulation tools like ANSYS thanks to its ability to help engineers perform a wider range of analyses faster than ever before.
PADT is proud to be working with Nimbix, the creators of an award winning HPC platform developed for enterprises and end users who demand performance and ease of use in their process.
Check out the following recording of our co-hosted webinar, with Nimbix Application & Sales Engineer Adil Noor, and PADT’s Lead Application Engineer, Manoj Mahendran, discussing the benefits of leveraging HPC and Cloud Computing for simulation, along with a look at how PADT has deployed ANSYS on the Nimbix platform.