As engineers, we struggle with using social networks to market our company. Engineers are not as in to social networking and they are adverse to anything that looks like a sale. “The five C’s of effective social network marketing” goes over some of the things that have worked for PADT and should help similar tech companies get greater value – Clear Messaging, Consistency, Content, Conciseness, and Cross Platform.
Having the right product development team is critical to the successful development of a new product. In “How to assemble the right product development team” I take a look at what PADT has learned through the years about what makes a great team.
Denver was the first stop on a trip around the Southwest for Stratasys’ new J750 Full Color 3D Printer. We are showing this machine that is reinventing 3D printing off in person so people can see the device up close and hold the incredible parts it makes in their hands.
The Denver event was hosted by St. Patrick’s Brewery in Littleton, right down the street from PADT’s Colorado Office. Several customers and PADT employees gave talks on how to better use 3D Printing, including a presentation from Mario Vargas on the new Stratasys J750.
On top of all of that, local radio station KDMT, Denver’s Money Talk 1690, did a live broadcast from the event. You can listen in here. Again, PADT employees and customers talked about 3D Printing as well as the new Stratasys J750.
We also made the local paper, check that out here.
We are pleased to announce that PADT has been awarded a grant from America Makes to further our research into combining our three favorite things: Simulation, 3D Printing, and Product Development. We will work with our partners at ASU, Honeywell Aerospace, and LAI International to study lattice structures created in 3D Printing, how to model them in ANSYS simulation software, and then how to use that information to drive product design.
If you have used or are using CFD tools like ANSYS Fluent or ANSYS CFX, then you already know how much of a pain extracting the fluid volume can be from a CAD model. Whether the extraction fails because of geometry issues, or if you’ve forgotten to create capping surfaces for all your openings it can be quite frustrating when you get the “non-manifold body” error.
We’ve done it the same way for a long time – create some super solid and do a Boolean subtract or try to close everything off and try to use a cavity function to fill in the model. Both can have headache inducing issues.
CLICK HERE for a PDF that shows how ANSYS SpaceClaim uses a different approach which can make the fluid volume extraction much easier for engineers.
CLICK HERE for a video demo of this as well
If you have visited PADT’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona you know that we have been next to an empty lot since we moved in. Today our new neighbors, Arizona Oncology, broke ground on their new East Valley facility. Although we will miss watching the bunny rabbits and the unobstructed view of Elliot Road, we are happy to have a nice looking facility next door.
During the groundbreaking ceremonies we learned that they are the largest Oncology treatment provider in the valley. I also learned that other recent additions to the ASU Research Park bring the total of employees in the park to 6000. The addition of Arizona Oncology’s 21,000 sq ft facility will add even more and will be a center for their research and clinical trials as well as a fully integrated care facility.
Welcome to the neighborhood!
In this The Focus Video Blog, Joe Woodward shares a nice little trick he found when answering a tech support question.
When you want to take timesteps from a transient thermal analysis in ANSYS Mechanical and use the results as loads in a series of static simulations, in just a few mouse clicks.
PCB designers know that it is critical to design a board for temperature rise, thermal expansion and external structural loads. The difficulty has always been to capture a board’s structural makeup accurately without having an impractical effect on solve time.
CLICK HERE for a PDF that shows how ANSYS solves this challenge in a unique straightforward and effective manner. And as always feel free to reach out to us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
We have all experienced times where someone uses regulations and rules as an excuse to stop or slow some initiative in a company. The blog post “Why it’s time to stop using regulations as an excuse” is a bit of a rant on why this is a bad idea and what we can do to avoid it.
A successful startup is often the result of how the leadership performs. In most cases the ideal CEO doesn’t exist, and if you dig down you usually find that the company is being led by two people who compliment each other. In “For every Woz, you need a Jobs” I look at one of the most famous, and successful such partnering and share some other examples and how to recognize and promote the ideal pairing.
According to some, the novelty of 3D printing has been wearing off — its mentioned in daily conversations, used on Grey’s Anatomy episodes, incorporated in high school and college classes. Most iPhone-wielding millennials know what it is and how it works. It’s not a “new thing” anymore, right?
Coming to Denver, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix — Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT) invites you to be one of the first to meet the Stratasys J750 3D Printer: the latest introduction in the portfolio of PolyJet 3D Printers. The Stratasys J750 is the first-ever full-color, multi-material system, which finally addresses the frustration of designers who want realistic models but have to contend with inconsistent color results and rough finishes from current technology.
Ready to register now? Click here and jump right to it! Or keep reading . . .
Unlike other 3D printers currently in existence, the Stratasys J750 can operate with five different colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, black and white — all of the primary colors in the CMYK color process, just like day-to-day 2D full-color printers. The Stratasys J750 also achieves very fine layer thicknesses, enabling high surface quality and the creation of models and parts with very fine, delicate details, where current 3D printers usually result in relatively rough surface finishes.
What does this mean for those who use 3D printing? The Stratasys J750 not only delivers incredible realism but it’s also the most versatile 3D printer available. Designers and producers can say goodbye to the days of adopting multiple 3D-printing technologies and still resorting afterwards to extensive post-processing, such as sanding, painting and bonding.
Before the Stratasys J750, no single 3D printer could deliver full color, smooth surfaces and multiple materials. Now, however, you can print realistic prototypes, presentation models, Digital ABS injection molds, jigs, fixtures, educational and promotional pieces, production parts – or all of the above, with one system.
The Stratasys J750 even goes one step past versatile, simultaneously being the fastest, simplest, and easiest 3D printer to use. The printer includes several user-requested upgrades, such as server functionality, six-material capacity, and even three print modes that are suitable for different priorities: high speed, high mix and high quality. Additionally, where some 3D printing processes must run in a dedicated facility due to the possible hazard of the materials, chemicals and post-processing steps involved, the Stratasys J750 3D Printer uses a clean, easy process, with no hazardous chemicals to handle.
The Stratasys J750 is one choice among an ever-growing array of 3D printers in the marketplace. But its capabilities and versatility make it more than just a 3D printer; It’s a solution-maker.
In other words, Stratasys has just invented 3D printing. Again. PADT’s 3D Printing team can help you pick the best printer for your job and provide you with one-on-one engineering and prototype support.
If you’re at all interested in technology, you won’t want to miss this printer’s big coming-out day.
Check out times and locations below.
Saint Patrick’s Brewing Company
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Salt Lake – Wednesday, July 27th
Hilton Salt Lake City Center
3:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Phoenix – Friday, July 29th
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Part 2 is out! Making a product a smart and connected device requires a lot of planning and an understanding of how Internet of Things devices differ. In “How to turn your IoT idea into a product” I review the key steps and offer suggestions to make for a more successful design process. It is published in two parts:
A few months ago, I did a post on the Technology Trends in Laser-based Metal Additive Manufacturing where I identified 5 key directions that technology was moving in. In this post, I want to do the same, but for a different technology that we also use on a regular basis at PADT: Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM).
1. New Materials with Improved Properties
Many companies have released and are continuously developing composite materials for FDM. Most involve carbon fibers and are discussed in this review. Arevo Labs and Mark Forged are two of many companies that offer composite materials for higher performance, the table below lists their current offerings (CF = Carbon Fiber, CNT = Carbon Nano Tubes). Virtual Foundry are also working on developing a metal rich filament (with about 89% metal, 11% binder polymer), which they claim can be used to make mostly-metal parts for non-functional purposes using existing FDM printers and a heat treatment to vaporize the binder. In short, while ABS and PLA dominate the market, there is a wide range of materials commercially available and this list is growing each year.
|Arevo Labs||CF, CNT in PAEK|
|CF in PEEK|
|Fiberglass in PARA|
|Mark Forged||Micro-CF in Nylon|
|Fiberglass (High Strength High Temperature)|
2. Improved Properties through Process Enhancements
Even with newer materials, a fundamental problem in FDM is the anisotropy of the parts and the fact that the build direction introduces weak interfaces. However, there are several efforts underway to improve the mechanical properties of FDM parts and this is an exciting space to follow with many approaches to this being taken. Some of these involve explicitly improving the interfacial strength: one of the ways this can be achieved is by pre-heating the base layer (as being investigated by Prof. Keng Hsu at the Arizona State University using lasers and presented at the RAPID 2016 conference). Another approach is being developed by a company called Essentium who combine microwave heating and CNT coated filaments as shown in the video below.
Taking a very different approach, Arevo labs has developed a 6-axis robotic FDM process that allows for conformal deposition of carbon fiber composites and uses an FEA solver to generate optimized toolpaths for improved properties.
3. Faster & Bigger
A lot of press has centered around FDM printers that make bigger parts and at higher deposition rates: one article discusses 4 of these companies that showcased their technologies at an Amsterdam trade show. Among the companies that showcased their technologies at RAPID was 3D Platform, that showed a $27,000 3D printer for FDM with a 1m x 1m x 0.5m printing platform. Some of the key questions for large form factor printers is if and how they deal with geometries needing supports and enabling higher temperature materials. Also, while FDM is well suited among the additive technologies for high throughput, large size prints, it does have competition in this space: Massivit is one company that in the video below shows the printing of a structure 5.6 feet tall in a mere 5 hours using what they call “Gel Dispensed Printing” that reduces the need for supports.
4. Bioprinting Applications
Micro-extrusion through syringes or specialized nozzles is one of the key ways bioprinting systems operate – but this is technically not “fused” deposition in that it may not involve thermal modification of the material during deposition. However, FDM technology is being used for making scaffolds for bio-printing with synthetic, biodegradable or bio-compatible polymers such as PCL and PLGA. The idea is these scaffolds then form the structure for seeding cells (or in some cases the cells are bioprinted as well onto the scaffold). This technology is growing fast and something we are also investigating at PADT – watch this space for more updates.
5. Material Modeling Improvements
Modeling FDM is an important part of being able to use simulation/analysis to design better processes and parts for functional use. This may not get a lot of press compared to the items above, but is a particular interest of mine and I believe is a critical piece of the puzzle going to true part production with FDM. I have written a few blog posts on the challenges, approaches and a micromechanics view of FDM printed structures and materials. The idea behind all of these is to represent FDM structures mathematically with valid and accurate models so that their behavior can be predicted and designs truly optimized. This space is also growing fast, the most recent paper I have come across in this space is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that was published May 12, 2016.
Judging by media hype, metal 3D printing and 3D bioprinting are currently dominating the media spotlight – and for good reasons. But FDM has many things going for it: low cost of entry and manufacturing, user-friendliness and high market penetration. And the technology growth has no sign of abating: the most recent, 2016 Wohlers report assesses that there are over 300 manufacturers of FDM printers, though rumor on the street has it that there are over a thousand manufacturers coming up – in China alone. And as the 5 trends above show, FDM has a lot more to offer the world beyond being just the most rapidly scaling technology – and there are people working worldwide on these opportunities. When a process is as simple and elegant as extruding material from a hot nozzle, usable innovations will naturally follow.
In the day to day process of putting out fires and dealing with minor issues, it is easy for business owners to loose site of the why. In “Don’t forget the business objectives” I relay some recent thoughts on how to get back to the basics and drive decisions based on clearly communicated objectives.