Once ANSYS started doing more regional user group meetings, we here at PADT decided to stay out west where we felt comfortable. So we have only attended the California and Texas events in the past. This year we decided to venture further East and go to the Convergence meeting in Chicago. I have to say it was a great experience, different then the Santa Clara meeting a few weeks ago.
Being from Arizona, I was a bit worried about the weather. It was appropriately windy, and unfortunately overcast with low clouds so my pictures of the famous skyline was a bit stunted.
What was so great was that the same type of smart people who get simulation were there, the products they work on were very different. From train locomotives to exercise equipment to automotive electronics, we were exposed to a variety of very unique and very cool applications. And as usual, the people from ANSYS, Inc. had a lot to contribute and show off that was new or coming in various programs.
The event started off with a great presentation from Sin Min Yap, VP of Marketing at ANSYS, on how simulation can be used to turn good ideas in to great products. Some great customer stories were shared and it really set a foundation as to why we do this thing called modeling and simulation.
However, the customer keynote address stole the show. It was from Jim Kennedy at Mars Corporate Innovation. No, there is no corporation on Mars (outside of SciFi movies). This is the Mars Corporation that is famous for their candy (M&M’s!!!!) and also does several well known pet foods, Wrigley chewing gum, a bunch of food brands, and drinks. His talk was how the manufacturing of food can be improved with simulation. Here is a bad picture of a great slide showing the modeling in FLUENT of their gum Kneaders.
And here is a model of forming Skittles:
For an engineer, it doesn’t get much cooler than that. He had other great examples, and tied it all together to show how they do some very sophisticated simulation to improve their efficiency, product quality while reducing cost and minimizing their energy footprint.
Several of us sitting in the back were just amazed at the complex material models they must be using. Candy, chocolate, gums – much more difficult than stainless steel for sure!
The next speaker talked about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet, which is the IoT applied to the machines that are used to make things, and to monitor products in the field. My key takeaway is that those of us who are responsible for designing new products have to start figuring out how we are going to make it all work. Simulation can be used to solve difficult packaging issues with batteries, antenna, and sensors the will soon be in most products we develop. And ANSYS has the tools to do the simulation.
ANSYS also talked about their new ANSYS Enterprise Cloud solution. A very impressive effort to do a true Cloud solution for simulation… not just call time-sharing “cloud computing.” Working with Amazon they have introduced a truly scalable, interactive, secure, and robust solution that sets the industry standard for Cloud based simulation. We also got a chance to play with it, because ANSYS’s Judd Kaiser was in the booth next to me. It really is easy to implement and use. I took a picture when Judd was not looking:
Renee Demay, the head of the ANSYS Customer Excellence team explained how ANSYS, Inc. is delivering a new more effective solution for customer support and services – focused as the name says on giving the customer an excellent experience.
And then the morning session finished on my favorite combined topic: Simulation and 3D Printing. John Graham from ANSYS SpaceClaim gave a great talk on how SpaceClaim can be used to improve 3D Printing and serve as the bridge between scanning, 3D Printing, and simulation.
Here he is talking about the repair functionality in the tool. Something we use here at PADT all the time:
That finished up the morning session, which was followed by a nice lunch where we were able to interact with people a lot. Several of you who read this blog stopped by to say hi. That really made my day.
PADT had a booth:
Several of our friends and partners were also there, so I did a selfie with them all to say hi. The first stop was our good friends and fellow ANSYS Channel Partners SimuTech. They have a local office in Chicago:
Right across from them were a team from VR&D, our favorite topological optimization tool:
And NICE was there as well, showing the remote visualization tool DCV that we use for CoresOnDemand.com and ANSYS uses in EKM and the ANSYS Enterprise Cloud:
The afternoon sessions were great. Lots of ANSYS and customer applications showed the breadth and depth of usage of ANSYS products in the Midwest.
Then we had a reception, which for a Friday evening where everyone had a big commute ahead of them, was well attended. Wine was drunk, HFSS models were shared, and the best strategy for disk array RAID configuration was debated… among other less interesting things.
A great trip, where I caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. I look forward to exploring further east in the future!
And at least one of us will be in Houston, so if you are going make sure you stop by and say hi!
Personal Note – A Saturday of Frank Lloyd Wright
So instead of trying to red-eye it back to Phoenix, I spent the night and on Saturday I went on a pilgrimage I’ve wanted to do some time: a visit to some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s early creations. I won’t bore you all with my ineloquent ramblings on what a genius he was. Let me just say it was better than I expected. His studio in his first home was nothing short of amazing (there I go, rambling…) anyhow, here are few shots I took from the outside. I didn’t take any inside pictures because: 1) I take crappy pictures, and 2) I wanted to look and explore instead of taking selfies.
The first studio.
The house attached that the studio is attached to. You should see the playroom on the top floor. Here is a link to a great blog posting about the house.
I then went to the Unity Temple which is just down the street. It was covered in scaffolding, but the inside, although worn and in need of repair, was so amazing:
Then I drove to the University of Chicago to see my second favorite Wright structure (Falling Water being my fav, duh), the Robbie House. It did not disappoint:
A day well spent.