Have you ever thanked an engineer? In this week’s TechFlash post I explore how we live in a world that has been transformed for the better (mostly) by engineers. We are simple creatures who avoid the spotlight… but a thanks you would be nice. When was the last time you thanked an engineer?
At a recent Lunch-n-Learn organized by the Arizona Technology Council, I had the opportunity to speak for 10 minutes on 3D printing. I decided to focus my talk on trying to answer one question: how can I determine if 3D printing can benefit my business? In this blog post, I attempt to expand on the ideas I presented there.
While a full analysis of the Return-On-Investment would require a more rigorous and quantitative approach, I believe there are 5 key drivers that determine the value proposition for a company to invest in 3D printing, be it in the form of outsourced services or capital expenditure. If these drivers resonate with opportunities and challenges you see in your business, it is likely that 3D printing can benefit you.
1. Accelerating Product Development
3D printing has its origins in technologies that enabled Rapid Prototyping (RP), a field that continues to have a significant impact in product development and is one most people are familiar with. As shown in Figure 1, PADT’s own product development process involves using prototypes for alpha and beta development and for testing. RP is a cost- and time effective way of iterating upon design ideas to find ones that work, without investing in expensive tooling and long lead times. If you work in product development you are very likely already using RP in your design cycle. Some of the considerations then become:
- Are you leveraging the complete range of materials including high temperature polymers (such as ULTEM), Nylons and metals for your prototyping work? Many of these materials can be used in functional tests and not just form and fit assessments.
- Should you outsource your RP work to a service bureau or purchase the equipment to do it in-house? This will be determined by your RP needs and one possibility is to purchase lower-cost equipment for your most basic RP jobs (using ABS, for example) and outsource only those jobs requiring specialized materials like the ones mentioned above.
The video below contains several examples of prototypes made by PADT using a range of technologies over the past two decades.
2. Exploiting Design Freedom
Due to its additive nature, 3D printing allows for the manufacturing of intricate part geometries that are prohibitively expensive (or in some cases impossible) to manufacture with traditional means. If you work with parts and designs that have complex geometries, or are finding your designs constrained by the requirements of manufacturing, 3D printing can help. This design freedom can be leveraged for several different benefits, four of which I list below:
2.1 Internal Features
As a result of its layer-by-layer approach to manufacturing a part, 3D printing enables complex internal geometries that are cost prohibitive or even impossible to manufacture with traditional means. The exhaust gas probe in Fig. 2 was developed by RSC engineering in partnership with Concept Laser has 6 internal pipes surrounded by cooling channels and was printed as one part.
2.2 Strength-to-Weight Optimization
One of the reasons the aerospace industry has been a leader in the application of 3D printing is the fact that you are now able to manufacture complex geometries that emerge from a topology optimization solution and reduce component weight, as shown in the bracket manufactured by Airbus in Figure 3.
2.3 Assembly Consolidation
The ability to work in a significantly less constrained design space also allows the designer to integrate parts in an assembly thereby reducing assembly costs and sourcing headaches. The part below (also from Airbus) is a fuel assembly that integrated 10 parts into 1 printed part.
Nature provides several design cues, optimized through the process of evolution over millenia. Some of these include lattices and hierarchical structures. 3D printing makes it possible to translate more of these design concepts into engineering structures and parts for benefits of material usage minimization and property optimization. The titanium implant shown in Figure 5 exploits lattice designs to optimize the effective modulus in different locations to more closely represent the properties of an individuals bone in that region.
3. Simplifying the Supply Chain, Reducing Lead Times
One of the most significant impacts 3D printing has is on lead time reduction, and this is the reason why it is the preferred technology for “rapid” prototyping. Most users of 3D printing for end-part manufacturing identify a 70-90% reduction in lead time, primarily as a result of not requiring the manufacturing of tooling, reducing the need to identify one or more suppliers. Additionally, businesses can reduce their supplier management burden by in-sourcing the manufacturing of these parts. Finally, because of the reduced lead times, inventory levels can be significantly reduced. The US Air Force sees 3D printing as a key technology in improving their sustainability efforts to reduce the downtime associated with aircraft awaiting parts. Airbus recently also used 3D printing to print seat belt holders for their A310 – the original supplier was out of business and the cost and lead time to identify and re-tool a new supplier were far greater than 3D printed parts.
4. Reducing Costs for High Mix Low Volume Manufacturing
According to the 2015 Wohlers report, about 43% of the revenue generated in 3D printing comes from the manufacturing of functional, or end-use parts. When 3D printing is the process of choice for the actual manufacturing of end-use parts, it adds a direct cost to each unit manufactured (as opposed to an indirect R&D cost associated with developing the product). This cost, when compared to traditional means of manufacturing, is significantly lower for high mix low volume manufacturing (High Mix – LVM), and this is shown in Figure 6 for two extreme cases. At one extreme is mass customization, where each individual part has a unique geometry of construction (e.g. hearing aids, dental aligners) – in these cases, 3D printing is very likely to be the lowest cost manufacturing process. At the other end of the spectrum is High Volume Manufacturing (HVM) (e.g. semiconductor manufacturing, children’s toys), where the use of traditional methods lowers costs. The break-point lies somewhere in between and will vary by the the part being produced and the volumes anticipated. A unit cost assessment that includes the cost of labor, materials, equipment depreciation, facilities, floor space, tooling and other costs can aid with this determination.
5. Developing New Applications
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of 3D printing is how people all around the world are using it for new applications that go beyond improving upon conventional manufacturing techniques. Dr. Anthony Atala’s 2011 TED talk involved the demonstration of an early stage technique of depositing human kidney cells that could someday aid with kidney transplants (see Figure 7). Rarely does a week go by with some new 3D printing application making the news: space construction, 3D surgical guides, customized medicine to name a few. The elegant and intuitive method of building something layer-by-layer lends itself wonderfully to the imagination. And the ability to test and iterate rapidly with a 3D printer by your side allows for accelerating innovation at a rate unlike any manufacturing process that has come before it.
As I mentioned in the introduction, if you or your company have challenges and needs in one or more of the 5 areas above, it is unlikely to be a question of whether 3D printing can be of benefit to you (it will), but one of how you should best invest in it for maximum return. Further, it is likely that you will accrue a combination of benefits (such as assembly consolidation and supply simplification) across a range of parts, making this technology an attractive long term investment. At PADT, we offer 3D printing both as a service and also sell most of the printers we use on a daily basis and are thus well positioned to help you make this assessment, so contact us!
This how to describes how to install PuTTY and Xming and then hook the two together to provide you the end-user with an X Window System display server, a set of traditional sample X applications and tools, and a set of fonts. These two products will help to eliminate many of your frustrations! Xming features support of several languages that many of our ANSYS Analyst’s use here at PADT, Inc. We truly enjoy and use these two products. One reason for why would should be interested is that by combining Xming and PuTTY for use in numerical simulation Mesa 3D, OpenGL, and GLX 3D graphics extensions capabilities work amazingly well! Kudos to the programmers, we love you!
Server: CUBE Linux 64-bit Server
Client: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Step 1 – Install PuTTY first (accept defaults)
Double-check that the Normal PuTTy link with SSH client is checked
Step 3 – After the program has completed installation.
Step 4 – Install the Xming fonts that you had downloaded earlier.
Verify that Xming has been started. You will notice a new running task inside of your task bar. If you hover over the X icon in your taskbar. It should Say something like “Xming Server:0.0”
Now let us hook them together. It is X and PUTTY time!
Step 5 – Open your PUTTY application.
- Enter the hostname or IP address.
- Enter in a Session name:
- On the left side bar within PUTTY. Locate –> Connection and then expand out –> SSH –> X11
o Check –> Enable X11 forwarding
Save the new session –> Locating on the left panel of your PUTTY program (you may need to scroll up a little bit).
Click on the text –> Session and then Save the new session.
Yay! now open your newly saved session and login to a CUBE linux server to test and verify.
I always forget to remember tell people this TIP but for multi display types: Start Xming in -multiwindow mode.
How? from Command Prompt (the Windows cmd console) or create a desktop shortcut.
“C:\Program Files\Xming\Xming.exe” -multiwindow -clipboard
Have a Happy Valentines Day Weekend and do not forget to show the penguin some love too. This penguin looks lonely and maybe needs a date?
Metal Additive Manufacturing, or Metal 3D Printing, is a topic that generates a lot of interest, and even more questions. So we held a webinar on February 9th, 2016 to try and answer the most common questions we encounter. It was a huge success with over 150 people logging in to watch live. But many of you could not make it so we have put the slides and a recording of the webinar out there. Just go to this link to access the information.
The presentation answered the fllowing common questions:
- What are the different process steps involved?
- How “good” are 3D printed metal parts?
- What materials and machines do you offer?
- Who uses this technology today?
- What is the value proposition of metal 3D printing for me?
- What can I do after this webinar?
As always, our technical team is available to answer any additional questions you may have. Just shoot an email to email@example.com or give us a call at 480.813.4884.
One of the most powerful approaches to overcome the limitations of new complex problems is take multiple CPU’s and link them together over a distributed network of computers. Further unpacking this for you the reader, one critical piece to using parallel processing using a quality high performance message passing interface (MPI). The latest IBM® Platform™ MPI version 9.1.3 Fix Pack 1 is provided for you in your release with ANSYS 17.0.
When solving a model using distributed parallel algorithms, lately the communication for authenticating your credentials to make this login process seamless is known as Secure Shell, or SSH. SSH is a cryptographic (encrypted) network protocol to allow remote login and other network services to operate securely over an unsecured network.
Today let us all take the mystery and hocus pocus out setting up your keyless or password ssh keys. As you will see this very easy process to complete.
I begin my voyage into keyless freedom by first logging into one of our CUBE Linux server’s.
STEP 1 – Create the key
- Type ssh-keygen –t rsa
- Press the enter key three times
- (in some instances as shown in the screen capture below, You may see a prompt asking you to overwrite. In that case type y)
STEP 2 – Apply the key
- Type ssh-copy-id –i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub firstname.lastname@example.org
- Type ssh-copy-id –i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub email@example.com
- Enter your current password that you would use to login to cs1.padtinc.com
Now give it a try and verify test.
Login to the first server you setup, In my case CS0.
At the terminal command prompt type ssh cs1
BEST PRACTICE TIP:
I find it is my best practice is to also repeat the ssh-copy-id command using the simple name at the same time on each of the server.
That command would look like:
1. After you have completed Step 2.a listed out below you will also perform the same command locally.
a. ssh-copy-id –i ~/.ssh/id_rsa.pub mastel@cs0
b. enter your old password press enter.
PADT is excited to open our doors to the community and show you and your families what engineering is all about. Bring the family down for a tour of PADT’s Tempe office and we will show them why engineering rocks. This family friendly event is a great way for kids to see what engineers really do all day. Tour our 3D printing lab and check out how “We Make Innovation Work”. Register Here
|WHEN:||Wednesday, February 24th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm|
|7755 S. Research Drive, Suite 110|
|Tempe, AZ 85284|
The Arizona SciTech Festival is a state-wide celebration of science, technology, engineering and math held annually in February and March. Through a series of over 1,000 expos, workshops, conversations, exhibitions and tours held in diverse neighborhoods throughout the state, the Arizona SciTech Festival excites and informs Arizonans from ages 3 to 103 about how STEM will drive our state for next 100 years. Spearheaded by the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona Science Center, the Arizona Technology Council Foundation, Arizona Board of Regents, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, the Arizona SciTech Festival is a grass roots collaboration of over 700 organizations in industry, academia, arts, civic, community and K-12.
The first “opinion” piece for the TechFlash blog of the Phoenix Business Journal. My thoughts on how the trend of ignoring science is harmful: “Flint’s water problem and the dangers of ignoring science“
After some end of year reflection we hit upon a key factor that constantly let us close business deals faster. We share the key driver in the PBJ’s Phoenix Business Blog with the to-the-point title of “How to close business deals faster“
The ANSYS 17.0 release improves the impact of driving design with simulation by a factor of 10. This 10x jump is across physics and delivers real step-change enhancements in how simulation is done or the improvements that can be realized in products.
Unless you were disconnected from the simulation world last week you should be aware of the fact that ANSYS, Inc released their latest version of the entire product suite. We wanted to let the initial announcement get out there and spread the word, then come back and talk a little about the details. This blog post is the start of a what should be a long line of discussions on how you can realize 10x impact from your investment in ANSYS tools.
As you may have noticed, the theme for this release is 10x. A 10x improvement in speed, efficiency, capability, and impact. Watch this short video to get an idea of what we are talking about.
Where is the Meat?
We are already seeing this type of improvement here at PADT and with our customers. There is some great stuff in this release that delivers some real game-changing efficiency and/or capability. That is fine and dandy, but how is this 10x achieved. There are a lot of little changes and enhancements, but they can mostly be summed up with the following four things:
Having the best in breed simulation tools is worth a lot, and the ANSYS suite leads in almost every physics. But real power comes when these products can easily work together. At ANSYS 17.0 almost all of the various tools that ANSYS, Inc. has written or acquired can be used together. Multiphysics simulation allows you to remove assumption and approximations and get a more accurate simulation of your products.
And Multiphysics is about more than doing bi-directional simulation, which ANSYS is very good at. It is about being able to transfer loads, properties, and even geometry between different software tools. It is about being able to look at your full design space across multiple physics and getting more accurate answers in less time. You can take heat loads generated in ANSYS HFSS and use them in ANSYS Mechanical or ANSYS FLUENT. You can take the temperatures from ANSYS FLUENT and use them with ANSYS SiWave. And you can run a full bidirectional fluid-solid model with all the bells and whistles and without the hassles of hooking together other packages.
To top it all off, the system level modeler ANSYS Simplorer has been improved and integrated further, allowing for true system level Multiphysics virtual prototyping of your entire system. One of the changes we are most excited about is full support for Modelica models – allowing you to stay in Simplorer to model your entire system.
Speed is always good, and we have come to expect 10%-30% increases in productivity at almost every release. A new feature here, a new module there. This time the developers went a lot further and across the product lines.
The closer integration of ANSYS SpaceClaim really delivers on a 10x or better speedup for geometry creation and cleanup when compared to other methods. We love SpaceClaim here at PADT and have been using it for some time. Version 17 is not only integrated tighter, it also introduces scripting that allows users to take processes they have automated in older and clunker interfaces into this new more powerful tool.
One of our other favorites is the new interface in ANSYS Fluent, just making things faster and easier. More capability in the ANSYS Customization Toolkit (ACT) also allows users to get 10x or better improvements in productivity. And for those who work with electronics, a host of ECAD geometry import tools are making that whole process an order of magnitude faster.
Many of the past releases have been focused on establishing underlying technology, integration, and adding features. This has all paid off and at 17.0 we are starting to see some industry specific workflows that get models done faster and produce more accurate results.
The workflow for semiconductor packaging, the Chip Package System or CPS, is the best example of this. Here is a video showing how power integrity, signal integrity, thermal modeling, and integration across tools:
A similar effort was released in Turbomachinary with improvements to advanced blade row simulation, meshing, and HPC performance.
A large portion of the improvements at 17.0 are made up of relatively small enhancements that add up to so big benefits. The largest development team in simulation has not been sitting around for a year, they have been hard at work adding and improving functionality. We will cover a lot of these in coming posts, but some of our favorites are:
- Improvements to distributed solving in ANSYS Mechanical that show good scaling on dozens of cores
- Enhancements to ACT allowing for greater automation in ANSYS Mechanical
- ACT is now available to automate your CFD processes
- Significant improvements in meshing robustness, accuracy and speed (If you are using that other CFD package because of meshing, its time to look at ANSYS Fluent again)
- Fracture mechanics
- ECAD import in electromagnetic, fluids, and mechanical products.
- A new solver in ANSYS Maxwell that solves more than 10x faster for transient runs
- ANSYS AIM just keeps getting more functions and easier to use
- A pile of SpaceClaim new and improved features that greatly speed up geometry repair and modification
- Improved rigid body dynamics in ANSYS Mechanical
And a ton more. It may take us all of the time we have before ANSYS 18.0 comes out before we have a chance to go over in The Focus all of the great new stuff. But we will be giving a try in the coming weeks and months. ANSYS, Inc. will be hosting some great webinars as well.
If you see something that interests you or something you would like to see that was not there, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 480.813.4884.
Most histories of Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) trace the origins of the technology back to Charles Hull’s 1984 patent, the same year production began on the first of the Back to the Future movies. Which is something of a shock when you see 3D printing dotting the Gartner Hype Cycle like it was invented in the post-Seinfeld era. But that is not what this post is about.
When I started working on Additive Manufacturing (AM), I was amazed at the number of times I was returning to text books and class notes I had used in graduate school a decade ago. This led me to reflect on how AM is helping bring back to the forefront disciplines that had somehow lost their cool factor – either by becoming part of the old normal, or because they contained ideas that were ahead of their time. I present three such areas of research that I state, with only some exaggeration, were waiting for AM to come along.
- Topology Optimization: I remember many a design class where we would discuss topology optimization, look at fancy designs and end with a conversation that involved one of the more cynical students asking “All that’s fine, but how are you going to make that?”. Cue the elegant idea of building up a structure layer-by layer. AM is making it possible to manufacture parts with geometries that look like they came right out of a stress contour plot. And firms such as ANSYS, Autodesk and Altair, as well as universities and labs are all working to improve their capabilities at the intersection of topology optimization and additive manufacturing.
- Lattice Structures: One of the first books I came across when I joined PADT was a copy of Cellular Solids by Lorna Gibson and M.F. Ashby. Prof. Gibson’s examples of these structures as they occur in nature demonstrate how they provide an economy of material usage for the task at hand. Traditionally, in engineering structures, cellular designs are limited to foams or consistent shapes like sandwich panels where the variation in cell geometry is limited – this is because manufacturing techniques do not normally lend themselves well to building complex, three dimensional structures like those found in nature. With AM technologies however, cell sizes and structures can be varied and densities modified depending on the design of the structure and the imposed loading conditions, making this an exciting area of research.
- Metallurgy: As I read the preface to my “Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist” text book, I was surprised to note the author openly bemoan the decline of interest in metallurgy, and subsequently, fewer metallurgists in the field. And I guess it makes sense: materials science is today mostly concerned with much smaller scales than the classical metallurgist trained in. Well, lovers of columnar grain growth and precipitation hardening can now rejoice – metallurgy is at the very heart of AM technology today – most of the projected growth in AM is in metals. The science of powder metallurgy and the microstructure-property-process relationships of the metal AM technologies are vital building blocks to our understanding of metal 3D printing. Luckily for me, I happen to possess a book on powder metallurgy. And it too, is from 1984.
For this week’s contribution to the PBJ’s TechFlash blog I cover something that is near and dear to PADT – the replacement of testing with simulation, or virtual prototyping. Learn why “Build and Bust is so 20th Century“
At PADT, we’re as big of a fan as anyone of the cool, trendy software and IT companies that run up billion dollar valuations in Silicon Valley and keep us all entertained and productive with their latest apps and platforms.
But as an engineering product and services company, we’re hardware geeks at heart and one of our favorite conferences is coming up quick. It’s the Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing (AADM) Conference hosted by the Arizona Technology Council and Arizona Commerce Authority on March 3 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort.
Arizona has a rich history in this sector. TechAmerica’s 2014 Cyberstates Report ranks Arizona fourth nationwide for jobs in the space and defense systems manufacturing industry, employing more than 8,300 people. Industry giants such as Raytheon, Honeywell, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics all have a big presence here. Luke Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca and the Yuma Proving Ground all provide ideal places for testing and flying in our cloudless skies and more than 300 days of sunshine.
When you look at manufacturing, you’ll find thousands of varied companies located here that are propelling Arizona’s economy into the next era of growth. Industries leaders such as Intel, Microchip, and Frito Lay all have significant Arizona operations.
Now in its fifth year, this conference has become the gathering place for Arizona’s AADM industry. You’ll not only have a chance to hear what the big companies are up to, you’ll meet potential suppliers and customers during the interesting presentations and well-attended cocktail reception. And for as little as $750 you can get a booth space and two conference tickets – that’s a deal you won’t find in New York City! The traffic at our booth always keeps us hopping and give us the opportunity to capture great leads.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, get on it, check out the sponsorships and register now. And don’t forget to stop by the PADT booth. We’ll show you how we make innovation work!
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is growing every day. This article starts with an encounter at the grocery store that leads to an explanation of what the IoT is and what your company should be doing to make sure you take advantage of this exciting change in how everything around us will work. Check out “My cat didn’t preheat the oven: Is your company ready for the Internet of Things?” in the PBJ TechFlash blog to learn more.
Have an idea for a product and feel like you need a prototype.Tishin Donkersley from the Arizona Tech Beat asked me over to their offices to do a short interview and share some pointers on the subject. Take a look at the result here.
While you are there, take a look around the sight. AZ Tech Beat is one of the best places to find out what is going on in the Arizona Tech Community as well as in tech in general. I especially like their gadget updates.