Transitioning to ANSYS

Before joining PADT last July, I have worked on FEA and CFD analyses but my exposure to ANSYS was limited and I was concerned about the transition. To my delight, the software was very easy to learn; most often than not intuitive and self-explanatory (e.g. mechanical wizard), the setup time was minimized after learning couple simple features (e.g. named selection, object generator etc.) and the resources on the ANSYS portal were very instrumental in the learning process. Furthermore, the colleagues at PADT proved to be very knowledgeable and experienced and more importantly responsive and eager to jump for help.

One of the most attractive features that caught my attention was the streamline of the Multiphysics nature that ANSYS has. I have been satisfied with the performance of standalone CFD packages in the past, and same goes for structural ones. But never have I dealt with an extensive software that maintained the quality of a specialized one. The importance of this attribute is showing more and more its powers in recent years given the development of new convoluted products of Multiphysics nature e.g. medical applications.

Using ANSYS to simulate medical applications is one of the most rewarding experience I personally enjoy. Even though, it is definitely satisfying to be able to help accelerate innovation in the aerospace, automotive, and a myriad of other industrial areas…the experience in the medical area has a more refreshing taste, probably due to the clear and direct link to human lives. From intravascular procedures to shoulder implants and microdevices, there is one common factor: ANSYS is decreasing the risks of catastrophic failures, improving the product capabilities and shortening the innovation cycle.

Editors Note: Ziad is part of PADT’s team in Southern California.   He is a graduate of USC and has worked at Boeing, Meggit, and Pacific Consolidated Industries before joining PADT.  He works with the rest of our ANSYS technical staff to make sure our users are getting the most from their ANSYS investment. 

 

 

2017 Highlights: A lot happened at PADT this year

As we jump into December everyone is starting to realize that 2017 is almost over. And what would the end of a year be without a look back at what happened? 2017 was a big year for PADT, with new offerings, fantastic events, and humbling recognition taking place throughout the year.  If anything, this was a year where PADT further established itself as the leader in simulation, product development, and 3D printing in the southwest.

Take a look, maybe you were part of some of the critical happenings during the year:

January

PADT Named ANSYS North American Channel Partner of the Year and Becomes an ANSYS Certified Elite Channel Partner

The year started with a bang when, because of our fantastic customers and the hard work of our sales and support team, ANSYS, Inc. recognized PADT as Channel Partner of the Year for North America.  At the same time, the team hit their goals and the company became an ANSYS Certified Elite Channel Partner

Concept Laser, Honeywell, and PADT Build Largest Additive Manufacturing Center in Southwest at Arizona State University

ASU launched their Manufacturing Research and Innovation Hub, the largest additive manufacturing research and teaching center in the Southwestern US.  PADT is proud to have partnered with ASU, as well as Concept Laser and Honeywell, to get this important piece of the local manufacturing ecosystem started and to keep it growing.

March

PADT’s 2017 SciTech Festival Open House

Every year PADT opens its doors to let the community come in and see how “We Make Innovation Work.” We enjoyed kids running excitedly down the hall and customers using the visit as a way to explain what they do to their friends and family.  With over 250 attendees, this was one of our biggest open houses ever.

April

Introducing our new Newsletter: the PADT Pulse

Everyone loved getting five emails a week from PADT…not. So, we decided in April to consolidate some of the information into a monthly newsletter.  It covers upcoming events, anything special that happened, key news that PADT needs to share, and the occasional tidbit of useful but only slightly related information.

Cox shows off a smart home with 55 connected devices and fast gigabyte internet

PADT was asked to take part in a demonstration put on by one of our local communication companies, Cox Communications, showing off what a “smart home” looks like.  It was a great chance to show how 3D Printing and other technologies integrate into the smart home and how do-it-yourself is turning in to print-it-yourself.

PADT Welcomes John Williams to Business Development Role

When PADT wanted to take our engineering services business to the next level and expand our offerings, we knew we needed someone with sales and business development experience at the national and international level. That is why we asked John Williams to join our team. Williams is an experienced professional with the ideal skillset to handle our diverse client portfolio and position us as a major player in this area

 

May

Kidneys and Child Hearts – Our Recent Real-World Experiences with 3D Printing in Medicine

PADT was recently able to use 3D printing to help doctors and their patients receive better treatment.  The first involved converting a CT scan of a kidney into a printed model so the doctors could plan a difficult stone removal procedure.  The second was a 10-year-old boy who needed complex heart surgery. PADT provided a 3D model fast to try and help doctors find a way to carry out the surgery.

 

June

A Three Event, Three State Hat Trick

On June 22nd, PADT had three events scheduled for the same day: An Aerospace Summit in Phoenix, we launched an industry-academia partnership in Denver, and held a 3D Printing user group meeting in Albuquerque.  The logistics of doing all three on the same day in three different states is tough, but we made it happen.

 

PADT Welcomes Steve Gaxiola

As part of the company’s effort to grow our 3D Printing and manufacturing services offering, Steve Gaxiola joined PADT’s advanced manufacturing team. He will initially focus on growing our capabilities in scanning and reverse engineering. He will later be charged with introducing a certified quality system for our services in this important and growing part of the company.

 

Affordable Metal 3D Printing from Desktop Metal Added to PADT Portfolio

PADT has partnered with Desktop Metal to resell its office-friendly and affordable metal 3D Printing solution. The partnership will allow PADT to integrate this exciting new technology into our 3D Printer maintenance and part printing services and it gives our customers yet another option for their additive manufacturing needs.

 

July

Installing a Metal 3D Printer Series of Articles Finished

After installing our own metal 3D printer, PADT’s Dhruv Bhate published a five-part series on our experience.  The articles are very popular and have been reprinted in several different areas. Anyone considering a metal additive manufacturing system should take a look.

 

August

Launch of All Things ANSYS podcast

After publishing content on our blog for over 10 years, PADT decided it was time to share our ANSYS Knowledge and expertise on a newer platform, and the All Things ANSYS Podcast was born. Every two weeks two or more, PADT simulation engineers get together to talk about what they have learned and explore the world of ANSYS products.

 

September

Eric Miller Presents at WESTEC 2017 In Los Angeles – Medical Device Development: The Bitter Pill

The WESTEC show in LA is one of the year’s biggest gatherings for manufacturing and mechanical engineers. This year, PADT was asked to come out and share our experience helping startups develop medical devices. The talk was well attended, and we were also able to stop by and talk with customers and partners who were also attending the show.

 

PADT and Stratasys Announce Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory at Metropolitan State University in Denver

PADT helped build another industry-academia partnership to educate students and provide research to the industry around 3D Printing. This effort brings Lockheed Martin, Stratasys, and PADT together with the Metropolitan State University in Denver with a focus on tooling made with additive manufacturing.

 

October

2017 ANSYS Arizona Innovation Conference

ANSYS, Inc. and PADT partnered once again to hold a fantastic user conference for all local users of the ANSYS product suite. This annual event focuses on user presentations, how they use simulation, and a technical overview from ANSYS, Inc. and PADT on new and exciting features in the toolset.

 

PADT Partners with 3D Printing Disruptor Carbon to Offer Production Part

3D Printing of productions parts is here, and PADT is one of the first to offer on-demand manufacturing that leverages Carbon’s revolutionary 3D Printing technology.

 

PADT Triples 3D Printing with New Large Stereolithography System   

The addition of a new UnionTech RSPro 450 further establishes PADT as the leader in Additive Manufacturing technology in the Southwestern US. With a build volume of 17.7 x 17.7 x 15.75 inches, this state of the art Stereolithography(SLA) machine will triple our capacity to 3D Print with SLA technology.

 

Nerdtoberfest 2017

Our annual customer appreciation event, Nerdtoberfest, was another fun and informative evening at PADT’s Tempe offices.  Over 200 customers and partners came to see what we had that was new and to socialize with PADT’s employees as well as other attendees.  Fun was had by all and a LOT of pizza was consumed.

 

November

Finishing the Year with Awards and a Booth at Arizona Technology Council Governor’s Celebration of Innovation

A year packed full of events, milestones, and new capabilities were capped off with our annual attendance at the premier tech event in the state: The Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. As is tradition, we 3D Printed the awards.  Our booth was full of fun examples of products that our customers produce. And it never sucks when the Governor and the state’s most successful tech entrepreneur hold a trophy you designed and 3D Printed.

 

Looking Forward to 2018

After looking back on 2017, all indicators point to 2018 being even better. We look forward to meeting new customers, growing our old clients, and bridging new partnerships. We will see you in 2018!

Without Risk There Can Be No Progress

I’m sure most people don’t know the name George M. Low.  He was an early employee at NASA, serving as Chief of Manned Space Flight and later as a leader in NASA’a Apollo moon program in the late 1960’s.  In fact, he was named Manager of the Apollo Spacecraft Program after the deadly Apollo 1 fire in 1967, and helped the program move forward to the successful moon landings starting in 1969.

As most alumni of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute know, he returned to Rensselaer, his alma mater, serving as president from 1976 until his death in the 1980’s.  I still recall the rousing speech he gave to us incoming freshman at the Troy Music Hall on a hot September afternoon.  On our class rings is his quote, “Without risk there can be no progress.”

I’ve pondered that quote many times in the years since.  It’s easy to coast along in many facets of life and accept and even embrace the status quo.  Over the years, though, I have observed that George Low was right, and the truth is that risk is required to move forward and improve.  The hard part is determining the level of risk that is appropriate, but it’s a sure bet that by not taking any risk, we will lag behind.

How is that realization applicable to our world of engineering simulation?  Surely those already doing simulation have moved from the old process of design > test > break > redesign > test > produce to embrace the faster and more efficient simulate > test > product, right?  Perhaps, but even if they have, that doesn’t mean there can’t be progress with some additional risk.

Let’s look at a couple of examples in the simulation world where some risk taking can have significant payoffs.

First, transitioning from ANSYS Mechanical APDL to ANSYS Mechanical (Workbench).  Most have already made the switch.  I’ll allow there are still some applications that can be completely scripted within the old Mechanical Ansys Parametric Design Language in an incredibly efficient manner.  However, if you are dealing with geometry that’s even remotely complex, I’ll wager that your simulation preparation time will be much faster using the improved CAD import and geometry manipulation capabilities within the ANSYS Workbench Mechanical workflow.  Let alone meshing.  Meshing is lights out faster, more robust, and better quality in modern versions of Mechanical than anything we can do in the older Mechanical APDL mesher.

Second, using ANSYS SpaceClaim to clean up, modify, create, and otherwise manipulate geometry.  It doesn’t matter what the source of the geometry is, SpaceClaim is an incredible tool for quickly making it useable for simulation as well as lots of other purposes.  I recently used the SpaceClaim tools within ANSYS Discovery live to combine assemblies from Inventor and SolidWorks into one model, seamlessly, and was able to move, rotate, orient, and modify the geometry to what I needed in a matter of minutes (see the Discovery Live image at the bottom).  The cleanup tools are amazing as well.

Third, looking into ANSYS Discovery Live.  Most of us can benefit from quick feedback on design ideas and changes.  The new Discovery Live tool makes that a reality.  Currently, in a technology demonstration mode, it’s free to download and try it from ANSYS, Inc. through early 2018.  I’m utterly amazed by how fast it can read in a complex assembly and start generating results for basic structural, CFD, and thermal simulations.  What used to take weeks or months can now be done in a few minutes.

Credits:  Motorcycle geometry downloaded from GrabCAD, model by Shashikant Soren.  Human figure geometry downloaded from GrabCAD, model by Jari Ikonen.  Models combined and manipulated within ANSYS Discovery Live. George M. Low image from www.nasa.gov.

I encourage you to take some risks for the sake of progress.

All Things ANSYS 009 – How to get your Models to run Faster & Modeling 3D Printing with ANSYS

 

Published on: December 4, 2017
With: Ted Harris, Joe Woodward, Eric Miller
Description: In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Senior Mechanical Engineer Joe Woodward, and Simulation Support Manager Ted Harris for a look into recent announcements regarding simulating 3D Printing with ANSYS and 3DSIM as well as a discussion about what users can do when their models are taking too long to solve.
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Getting to Know PADT: Cube Simulation Computers

This post is the seventh installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

“It is done running already? What machine did you run that on? Your desktop? How do I buy one?”  That serious of questions from an ANSYS customer of PADT’s is how CUBE Computers became one of our product offerings.  We offer a complete line of six standard systems to meet the needs of the most demanding, and cost-conscious, users.

The problem is that in the world of advanced numerical simulation, most off-the-shelf computers just don’t perform like they should. They are expensive and are weighed down with unnecessary accessories and slowed down by poor configuration.  Because PADT has been building our own computers for over twenty years for the sole purpose of running simulation models, we know how to configure boxes that are optimized for that sweet spot everyone is looking for.  Our engineers and IT staff work with customers to find the right standard system, or to customize a unique system that is ideal.

We break our standard models into three families: Workstations, Servers, and Cluster Appliances.  Although each type can be heavily customized, we have pre-configured the following systems to make it easy for users to quickly get what they need:

Each machine comes with maintenance and support that is also tuned to the customer’s needs – from basic parts only warranty to same-day on-site support. You can also have us install the system and your simulation software.  Whatever you need, we can deliver.

Over one hundred customers, many who have purchased multiple systems from us over the years, have worked with PADT’s team to obtain an optimized computer system that maximizes the return on their simulation investment. Reach out to our CUBE Computer System team and let us help you ” Discover What You Need.”

 

Estimating Structural Response to Random Vibration in ANSYS Mechanical: Reaction Forces

One of the key outputs from any random vibration analysis is determining the response of the object you are analyzing in terms of reaction forces.  In the presentation below. Alex Grishin shares the theory behind getting accurate forces and then how to do so in ANSYS Mechanical.

PADT-ANSYS-Random-Vib-Reaction-Forces-2017_11_22-1

As always, please contact PADT for your ANSYS simulation, training, and customization needs.

 

 

Phoenix Business Journal: Exploring Easy: Making things easy with empowerment in your business

Empowerment is one of those loaded buzzwords that hangs out with synergy and disruptive. When done right, empowerment can make running a business, and making that business successful, much easier. In the fourth installment of “Exploring Easy” I take a look at empowerment and why is not just a good idea, it is easier to do than trying to control everything.

Phoenix Business Journal: Is your business ready for a one-star rating?

The ability to rate products, services, and even companies online has been fantastic for consumers. But it is also a tool that a disgruntled customer can use to seek revenge, and that is not fantastic for the company getting a bad rating.  Managing your online ratings is as important as your search engine optimization.  “Is your business ready for a one-star rating?

Phoenix Business Journal: What does #MeToo mean for your technology business?

The recent #MeToo campaign brought to light how widespread and endemic harassment and assault are in the workplace. Tech companies can often feel they are they are not part of the problem, but #MeToo has shown that they are.  So, “What does #MeToo mean for your technology business?

Phoenix Business Journal: Exploring easy – Make it easy for your customers, keep things simple when proposing new business

Sometimes, in an attempt to impress prospective customers, we bombard them with information during the proposal phase of a project. In “Exploring easy: Make it easy for your customers, keep things simple when proposing new business” I take a look at how starting simple can get you to success faster.

Phoenix Business Journal: Exploring Easy – Give your customers the ability to interact through the web

The web is such an important part of our life now, but many companies do not use web pages and applications to make it easier for their customers to do business with them.  “Exploring Easy – Give your customers the ability to interact through the web” gives some examples of this along with some recommendations.

IEEE Day 2017: Smart Antennas for IoT and 5G

IEEE Day celebrates the first time in history when engineers worldwide and IEEE members gathered to share their technical ideas in 1884. Events were held around the world by 846 IEEE Chapters this year. So, to celebrate, I attended a joint chapter meeting in at The Museum of Flight in Seattle with technical presentations focused on “Smart Antennas for IoT and 5G”. There were approximately 60 in attendance, so assuming this was the average attendance globally results in over 50,000 engineers celebrating IEEE Day worldwide!

The Seattle seminar featured three speakers that spanned theory, design, test, integration, and application of smart antennas. There was much discussion about the complexity and challenges of meeting the ambitious goals of 5G, which extend beyond mobile broadband data access. Some key objectives of 5G are to increase capacity, increase data rates, reduce latency, increase availability, and improve spectral and energy efficiency by 2020. A critical technology behind achieving these goals is beamforming antenna arrays, which were at the forefront of each presentation.

Anil Kumar from Boeing focused on the application of mmWave technology on aircraft. Test data was used to analyze EM radiation leakage through coated and uncoated aircraft windows. However, since existing regulations don’t consider the increased path loss associated with such high frequencies, the integration of 5G wireless applications may be restricted or delayed. Beyond this regulatory challenge, Anil discussed how multipath reflectors and absorbers will present significant challenges to successful integration inside the cabin. Although testing is always required for validation, designing the layout of the onboard transceivers may be impractical to optimize without an asymptotic EM simulation tool that can account for creeping waves, diffraction, and multi-bounce.

Considering the test and measurement perspective, Jari Vikstedt from ETS-Lindgren focused on the challenges of testing smart antenna systems. Smart or adaptive antenna systems will not likely perform the same in an anechoic chamber test as they would in real systems. Of particular difficulty, radiation null placement is just as critical as beam placement. This poses a difficult challenge to the number and location of probes in a test environment. Not only would a large number of probes become impractical, there is significant shadowing at mmWave frequencies which can negatively impact the measurement. Furthermore, compact ranges can significantly impact testing and line of sight measurements become particularly challenging. While not a purely test-oriented observation, this lead to considering the challenge of tower hand off. If a handset and tower use beamforming to maintain a link, if is difficult for an approaching tower to even sense the handset to negotiate the hand-off.

In contrast, if the handset was continuously scanning, the approaching tower could be sensed to negotiate the hand-off before the link is jeopardized.

The keynote speaker, who also traveled from Phoenix to Seattle, was ASU Professor Dr. Constantine Balanis. Dr. Balanis opened his presentation by making a distinction between conventional “dumb antennas” and “smart antennas”. In reality, there are no smart antennas, but instead smart antenna systems. This is a critical point from an engineering perspective since it highlights the complexity and challenge of designing modern communication systems. The focus of his presentation was using an adaptive system to steer null points in addition to the beam in an antenna array using a least mean square (LMS) algorithm. He began with a simple linear patch array with fixed uniform amplitude weights, since an analytic solution was practical and could be used to validate a simulation setup. However, once the simulation results were verified for confidence, designing a more complex array with weighted amplitudes accompanying the element phase shift was only practical through simulation. While beam steering will create a device centric system by targeting individual users on massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) networks, null steering can improve efficiency by minimizing interference to other devices.

Whether spatial processing is truly the “last frontier in the battle for cellular system capacity”, 5G technology will most certainly usher in a new era of high capacity, high speed, efficient, and ubiquitous means of communication. If you would like to learn more about how PADT approaches antenna simulation, you can read about it here and contact us directly at info@padtinc.com.

All Things ANSYS Episode 008 – Looking at Explicit Dynamics and CFD tools in ANSYS pt. 1

Published on: November 6, 2017
With: Tom Chadwick, Joe Woodward, Jim Peters, Ahmed Fayad, Eric Miller
Description: In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s Senior CFD Engineer Tom Chadwick, Senior Mechanical Engineer Joe Woodward, Senior Staff Technologist Jim Peters, and IT Operations and Support Engineer Ahmed Fayad for the first part of an in depth look at Explicit Dynamics in ANSYS along with a review of the various CFD tools available in the ANSYS family of products.
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PADT Halloween Party, 2017

The only day available for our company meeting was October 31st, so we combined the meeting with a Halloween celebration.  We are an engineering company, so not everyone wore a costume.. but we did all have fun.  Check out the slide show:

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Phoenix Business Journal: Exploring Easy – The frustrating difficulty of displacing what works with newer and better technology

After seeing several startup companies that looked fantastic not take off, I started to look the fact that just doing something better was no indicator of success. In “Exploring Easy: The frustrating difficulty of displacing what works with newer and better technology” I look at how making a task or process easier may not be better enough to be successful.