We are excited to announce the return of our annual fall open house, Nerdtoberfest! PADT will be opening it’s doors to the public for a celebration of all things engineering and manufacturing in Arizona.
More information, along with a full event agenda will be made available soon, however in the meantime you can secure your spot now by clicking the link below.
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
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.
The A in PADT actually stands for Analysis. Back in 1994 when the company was started, computer modeling for mechanical engineering was called Analysis. It was such an important part of what we wanted to achieve that we put it in the name. Unfortunately, Analysis was a bit to generic so the industry switched to Numerical Simulation, or simply simulation. In the 23 years since we started, analysis… sorry, simulation, has been not just a foundation for what PADT does for our customers, it has become a defacto tool in product development. Through it all there has been a dedicated group here that is focused on providing the best simulation as a service to customers around the world.
Driving Designs with Simulation
Many companies know about PADT with regards to simulation because we are an ANSYS Elite Channel Partner – selling and supporting the entire suite of ANSYS simulation tools in the Southwestern US. The success of simulation in the design and development of physical products is a direct result of the fact that these fantastic tools from ANSYS can be used to drive the design of products. This can be done in-house by companies designing the products, or outsourced to experts. And that is where PADT has come in for hundreds of customers around the world. The expertise we use to support and train on ANSYS products derives directly from our real world experience providing CFD, structural, thermal, electromagnetic, and multiphysics simulations to help those customers drive their product development.
For those not familiar with simulation, or who only use the basic tools embedded in CAD software as a quick check, understanding why it is so important hinges on understand what it really is. Numerical Simulation is a methodology where a physical product is converted into a computer model that represents its physical behavior. This behavior can be many different physics: stresses, vibration, fluid flow, temperature flow, high frequency electromagnetic radiation, sloshing of liquids, deformation during impact, piezoelectric response, heating from static electromagnetic waves, cooling from air flow. The list goes on and on. Pretty much anything you studied in physics can be modeled using a numerical simulation.
The process of doing the simulation consists of taking the physical object and breaking it into discrete chunks, often very small relative to the size of the object, so that equations can easily be written for each chunk that describes the physical behavior of that chunk relative to the chunks around it. Imagine writing equations for the fluid flow in a complicated valve housing, very hard to do. But if you break it up into about one million small polyhedrons, you can write an equation for flow in and out of each polyhedron. These equations are then assembled into a giant matrix and solved using linear algebra. That is why we need such large computers. We mostly use the world’s leading software for this, from ANSYS, Inc.
More than Building and Running Models
Knowing how to build and run finite element and CFD models is key to providing simulation as a service. PADT’s team averages over 18 years of experience and few people come close to their knowledge on geometry preparation, meshing, setting up loads and boundary conditions, leveraging the advantages of each solver, and post processing. That is a good starting point. But what really sets PADT apart is the understanding of how the simulation fits into product development, and how the information gathered from simulation can and should be used. Instead of providing a number or a plot, PADT’s experienced engineers deliver insight into the behavior of the products being simulated.
How each project is conducted is also something that customers keep coming back for. Nothing is ever “thrown over the wall” our passed through a “black box.” From quote through delivery of final report, PADT’s engineers work closely with the customer’s engineers to understand requirements, get to the heart of what the customer is looking for, and deliver useful and actionable information. And if you have your own in-house simulation team, we will work closely with them to help them understand what we did so they can add it to their capabilities. In fact, one of the most popular simulation services offered by PADT is automation of the simulation process with software tools written on top of ANSYS products. This is a fantastic way to leverage PADT’s experience and knowledge to make your engineers more efficient and capable.
Unparalleled Breadth and Depth
Based on feedback from our customers, the other area where PADT really stands out is in the incredible breadth and depth of capability offered. Whereas most service providers specialize in one type of simulation or a single industry, more than twenty years of delivering high-end simulation to evaluate hundreds of products has given PADT’s team a unique and special level of understanding and expertise. From fluid flow in aerospace cooling systems to electromagnetics for an antenna in a smart toy, a strong theoretical understanding is combined with knowledge about the software tools to apply the right approach to each unique problem.
No where is this breadth and depth exemplified than with PADT’s relationship with ANSYS, Inc. Since the company was founded, PADT engineers have worked closely with ANSYS development and product management to understand these powerful tools better and to offer their advice on how to make them better. And each time ANSYS, Inc. develops or acquires a new capability, that same team steps up and digs deep into the functionality that has been added. And when necessary, adding new engineers to the team to offer our customers the same expert access to these new tools.
The best way to understand why hundreds of companies, many of them large corporations that are leaders in their industry, come to PADT from around the world for their simulation services needs is to talk to us about your simulation services needs. Regardless of the industry or the physics, our team is ready to help you drive your product development with simulation. Contact us now to start the discussion.
Simulation has become even more prevalent in the world of engineering than it was even 5 years ago. Commercial tools have gotten significantly easier to use, whether you are looking at tools embedded within CAD programs or the standalone flagship analysis tools. The driving force behind these changes are to ultimately let engineers and companies understand their design quicker and with more fidelity than before.
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.
Join Nimbix Application & Sales Engineer Adil Noor, and PADT’s Lead Application Engineer, Manoj Mahendran, for a discussion on the benefits of leveraging HPC and Cloud Computing for simulation, along with a look at how PADT has deployed ANSYS on the Nimbix platform.
From this webinar you will learn about:
PADT recently hosted the Aerospace & Defence Form, Arizona Chapter for a talk and a tour. The talk was on “Additive Manufacturing & Simulation Driven Design, A Competitive Edge in Aerospace” and it was very well received. So well in fact, that we decided it would be good to go ahead and record it and share it. So here it is:
Aerospace engineering has changed in the past decades and the tools and process that are used need to change as well. In this presentation we talk about how Simulation and 3D Printing can be used across the product development process to gain a competitive advantage. In this webinar PADT shares our experience in apply both critical technologies to aerospace. We talk about what has changed in the industry and why Simulation and Additive Manufacturing are so important to meeting the new challenges. We then go through five trends in each industry and keys to being successful with each trend.
If you are looking to implement 3D Printing (Additive Manufacturing) or any type of simulation for Aerospace, please contact us (email@example.com) so we can work to understand your needs and help you find the right solutions.
With simulation driven product design and development becoming the norm in the world of manufacturing, it has become increasingly relevant for companies to stay on the cutting edge in the search of the next best thing, in order to succeed in their respective industries.
Join PADT’s Co-Owner and Principal Engineer, Eric Miller for a live presentation on the benefits of ditching your current CAD-Embedded Software for state of the art ANSYS Simulation Solutions.
This webinar will dispel common misconceptions surrounding ANSYS Software, explain how to make the move away from CAD-Embedded tools, and present highly requested topics that ANSYS can provide solutions for, such as:
- Understanding fluid flow: accurate and fast CFD
- Real parts that exist in assemblies
- The importance of robust meshing
- Advanced capabilities and faster solvers
In my previous article, I wrote about how you get what you pay for with your analysis package. Well, buckle up for some more…but this time we’ll just focus on handling assemblies in your structural/thermal simulations. If all you’re working on are single components, count yourself lucky. Almost every simulation deals with one part interacting with another. You can simplify your boundary conditions a bit to make it equivalent, but if you have significant bearing stresses, misalignments, etc…you need to include the supporting parts. Better hope your analysis package can handle contact…
First off, contact isn’t just for structural simulations. Contact allows you to pass loads across difference meshes, meaning you don’t need to create a conformal mesh between two parts in order to simulate something. Here’s a quick listing on the degrees of freedom supported in ANSYS (don’t worry…you don’t need to know how to set these options as ANSYS does it for you when you’re in Workbench):
You can use contact for structural, thermal, electrical, porous domain, diffusion, or any combination of those. The rest of this article is going to focus on the structural side of things, but realize that the same concepts apply to essentially any analysis you can do within ANSYS Mechanical..
First, it’s incredibly easy to create contact in your assembly. Mechanical automatically looks for surfaces within a certain distance from one another and builds contact. You can further customize the automated process by defining your own connection groups, as I previous wrote about. These connection groups can create contact between faces, edges, solids bodies, shell bodies, and line bodies.
Second, not only can you create contact to transfer loads across different parts, but you can also automatically create joints to simulate linkages or ‘linearize’ complicated contacts (e.g. cylindrical-to-cylindrical contact for pin joints). With these joints you can also specify stops and locks to simulate other components not explicitly modeled. If you want to really model a threaded connection you can specify the pitch diameter and actually ‘turn’ your screw to properly develop the shear stress under the bolt head for a bolted joint simulation without actually needing to model the physical threads (this can also be done using contact geometry corrections)
If you’re *just* defining contact between two surfaces, there’s a lot you simulate. The default behavior is to bond the surfaces together, essentially weld them closed to transmit tensile and compressive loads. You also have the ability to let the surfaces move relative to each other by defining frictionless, frictional, rough (infinite coefficient of friction), or no-separation (surfaces don’t transmit shear load but will not separate).
Some other ‘fancy’ things you can do with contact is simulate delamination by specifying adhesive properties (type I, II, or III modes of failure). You can add a wear model to capture surface degradation due to normal stress and tangential velocity of your moving surfaces. You can simulate a critical bonding temperature by specifying at what temperature your contacts ‘stick’ together instead of slide. You can specify a ‘wetted’ contact region and see if the applied fluid pressure (not actually solving a CFD simulation, just applying a pressure to open areas of the contact interface) causes your seal to open up.
Now, it’s one thing to be able to simulate all of these behaviors. The reason you’re running a finite element simulation is you need to make some kind of engineering judgement. You need to know how the force/heat/etc transfers through your assembly. Within Mechanical you can easily look at the force for each contact pair by dragging/dropping the connection object (contact or joint) into the solution. This will automatically create a reaction probe to tell you the forces/moments going through that interface. You can create detailed contour plots of the contact status, pressure, sliding distance, gap, or penetration (depending on formulation used).
Again, you can generate all of that information for contact between surface-to-surface, surface-to-edge, or edge-to-edge. This allows you to use solids, shells, beams, or any combination you want, for any physics you want, to simulate essentially any real-world application. No need to buy additional modules, pay for special solvers, fight through meshing issues by trying to ‘fake’ an assembly through a conformal mesh. Just import the geometry, simplify as necessary (SpaceClaim is pretty awesome if you haven’t heard), and simulate it.)
For a more detailed, step-by-step look at the process, check out the following video!
The ANSYS App Store contains all sorts of free and paid apps developed by ANSYS as well as trusted partners. These apps improve workflows and allow users to build in best practices. An app that has been of particular interest to me is Workbench Poly Meshing for Fluent.
This app enables the power and capacity of Fluent Meshing, most notably the polyhedral meshing feature, with the ease of use of the ANSYS Workbench Meshing environment. In order to show the functionality of this app, I will demonstrate with the generation of a polyhedral mesh on a sample geometry from the Fluent Meshing tutorials.
To start out, I have imported a .igs file of an exhaust manifold into ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler, which has powerful repair and prepare tools that will come in handy. I notice that the geometry is comprised of 250 surfaces, which I need to fix in order to create a solid body. By navigating into the ‘Repair’ tab and selecting the ‘Stitch’ operation, SpaceClaim notes there are two stitchable edges in my geometry. I select the green check mark to perform this operation and am greeted with a solid geometry. I complete my tasks in SpaceClaim by extracting the fluid volume using the ‘Volume Extract’ tool in the ‘Prepare’ tab.
I setup my workflow in ANSYS workbench with my added ‘Fluent Meshing’ ACT module between the ‘Mesh’ module and ‘Fluent’ module. I can then proceed to create my desired surface mesh in ANSYS meshing and setup a few required inputs for Fluent Meshing.
Once this process has been completed, I can update my ‘Fluent Meshing’ cell and open the ‘Fluent’ setup cell to display my polyhedral mesh!
IMPORTANT NOTE: all named selections must be lowercase with no spaces, and the file path(s) cannot contain any spaces.
Just like any other marketplace, there are a lot of options in simulation software. There are custom niche-codes for casting simulations to completely general purpose linear algebra solvers that allow you to write your own shape functions. Just like with most things in life, you truly get what you pay for.
For basic structural and thermal simulations pretty much any FE-package should suffice. The difference there will be in how easy it is to pre/post process the work and the support you receive from the vendor. How complicated is the geometry to mesh, how long does it take to solve, if you can utilize multiple cores how well does it scale, how easy is it to get reactions at interfaces/constraints…and so on. I could make this an article about all the productivity enhancements available within ANSYS, but instead I’ll talk about some of the more advanced functionalities that differentiate ANSYS from other software out there.
You can typically ignore radiation if there isn’t a big temperature gradient between surfaces (or ambient) and just model your system as conduction/convection cooled. Once that delta is large enough to require radiation to be modeled there are several degrees of numerical difficulty that need to be handled by the solver.
First, radiating to ambient is fairly basic but the heat transfer is now a function of T^4. The solver can also be sensitive to initial conditions since large DT results in a large heat transfer, which can then result in a large change in temperature from iteration to iteration. It’s helpful to be able to run the model transiently or as a quasi-static to allow the solver to allow some flexibility.
Next, once you introduce surface to surface radiation you now have to calculate view factors prior to starting the thermal solution. If you have multiple enclosures (surfaces that can’t see each other, or enclosed regions) hopefully there are some processes to simplify the view factor calculations (not wasting time calculating a ‘0’ for elements that can’t radiate to each other). The view factors can sometimes be sensitive to the mesh density, so being able to scale/modify those view factors can be extremely beneficial.
Lastly you run into the emissivity side of things. Is the emissivity factor a function of temperature? A function of wavelength? Do you need to account for absorption in the radiation domain?
Luckily ANSYS does all of this. ANSYS Mechanical allows you to easily define radiation to ambient or surface-to-surface. If you’re using symmetry in your model the full radiating surface will be captured automatically. You can define as many enclosures as possible, each with different emissivity factors (or emissivity vs Temperature). There are more advanced features that can help with calculating view factors (simplify the radiating surface representation, use more ray traces, etc) and there is functionality to save the calculated view factors for later simulations. ANSYS fluid products (CFX and Fluent) can also account for radiation and have the ability to capture frequency-based emissivity and participating media.
Automatic expansion of radiating surfaces across symmetry planes
Different enclosures to simplify view factor calculations
Long story short…you don’t have to know what the Stefan-Boltzman constant is if you want to include radiation in your model (bonus points if you do). You don’t have to mess with a lot of settings to get your model to run. Just insert radiation, select the surface, and run. Additional options and technical support is there if necessary.
I’d expect that any structural/thermal/fluids/magnetics code should be able to solve the basic fundamental equations for the environment it simulates. However, what happens when you need to combine physics, like a MEMs device. Or maybe you want to take some guess-work/assumptions out of how one physics loads another, like what the actual pressure load is from a CFD simulation on a structural model. Or maybe you want to capture the acoustic behavior of an electric motor, accounting for structural prestress/loads such as Joule heating and magnetic forces.
ANSYS allows you to couple multiple physics together, either using a single model or through data mapping between different meshes. Many of the data mapping routines allow for bi-directional data passing so the results can converge. So you can run an magnetic simulation on the holding force between a magnet and a plate, then capture the deflected shape due to an external load, and pass that deformed shape back to the magnetic simulation to capture the updated force (and repeat until converged).
If you have vendor-supplied data, or are using another tool to calculate some other results you can read in point cloud data and apply it to your model with minimal effort.
To make another long story short…you can remove assumptions and uncertainty by using ANSYS functionality.
- Advanced Material Models
Any simulation tool should be able to handle simple linear material models. But there are many different flavors of ‘nonlinear’ simulation. Does the stiffness change due to deflection/motion (like a fishing rod)? Are you working with ductile metals that experience plastic deformation? Does the stiffness change due to parts coming into/out-of contact? Are surfaces connected through some adhesive property that debonds under high loads? Are you working with elastomers that utilize some polynomial form hyper-elasic formulation? Are you working with shape memory alloys? Are you trying to simulate porous media through some geomechanical model? Are you trying to simulate a stochastic material variation failure in an impact/explosive simulation?
Large deflection stiffness calculations, plasticity, and contact status changes are easy in ANSYS. Debonding has been available since ANSYS 11 (reminder, we’re at release 18.0 now). ANSYS recently integrated some more advanced geomechanical models for dam/reservoir/etc simulations. The explicit solver allows you to introduce stochastic variation in material strengths for impact/explosive simulations.
ANSYS also has all the major flavors of hyper-elastic material models. You can choose from basic Neo-Hookean, Arruda-Boyce, Gent, all the way through multiple variations of Mooney-Rivlin, Yeoh, Ogden, and more. In addition to having these material models available (and the curve fitting routines to properly extract the constants from test data) ANSYS also has the ability to dynamically remesh a model. Most of the time when you’re analyzing the behavior of a hyperelastic part there is a lot of deformation, and what starts out as a well-shaped mesh can quickly turn into a bad mesh. Using adaptive meshing, you can have the solve automatically pause the solution, remesh the deformed shape, map the previous stress state onto the new nodes/elements, and continue with the solution. I should note that this nonlinear adaptive remesh is NOT just limited to hyperelastic simulations…it is just extremely helpful in these instances.
The ending of this story is pretty much the same as others. If you have a complicated material response that you’re trying to capture you can model it in ANSYS. If you already know how to characterize your material, just find the material model and enter the constants. We’ve worked with several customers in getting their material tested and properly characterized. So while most structural codes can do basic linear-elastic, and maybe some plastic…very few can capture all the material responses that ANSYS can.
I know I’ve already discussed multiple physics and advanced materials, but once you start making parts smaller you start to get coupling between physics that may not work well for vector-based coupling (passing load vectors/deformations from one mesh to another). Luckily ANSYS has a range of multi-physics elements that can solve use either weak or strong coupling to solve a host of piezo or MEM-related problems (static, transient, modal, harmonic). Some codes allow for this kind of coupling but either require you to write your own governing equations or pay for a bunch of modules to access.
If you have the ANSYS Enterprise-level license you can download a free extension that exposes all of these properties in the Mechanical GUI. No scripting, no compiling, just straight-up menu clicks.
Using this extension you can define the full complex piezoelectric matrix, couple it with an anisotropic elasticity matrix, and use frequency dependent losses to capture the actual response of your structure. Or if you want you can use simplified material definitions to get the best approximation possible (especially if you’re lacking a full material definition from your supplier).
Long story short…there are a lot of simulation products out there. Pretty much any of them should be able to handle the basics (single part, structural/thermal, etc). What differentiates the tools is in how easy it helps you implement more real-world conditions/physics into your analysis. Software can be expensive, and it’s important that you don’t paint yourself into a corner by using a single point-solution or low-end tool.
The Speed of Simulation – with Velox Motorsports
With thoroughly engineered components including the use of Finite Element Analysis (FEA), thermodynamics, heat transfer, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), PADT Startup Spotlight Velox Motorsports strives to produce aftermarket parts that can effectively outperform the factory components.
Join Velox Co-Owners Eric Hazen and Paul Lucas for a discussion on what they use ANSYS simulation software for and how they have benefited from it’s introduction into their manufacturing process.
This webinar will focus on two projects within which the engineers at Velox have see the impact of ANSYS, including:
Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to reverse engineer a Subaru fork, find the cause of failure and develop an improved replacement part.
Using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to rub a shape sensitivity study on Nissan GT R strakes, and develop a replacement that increases down-force without significantly increasing drag.
In its latest release, ANSYS SpaceClaim further integrates its ease of use and rapid geometry manipulation capabilities into common simulation workflows. From large changes to behind the scenes enhancements, you’ll notice efficiency improvements across the board. You’ll save time automating geometry tasks with the expanded recording and replay capabilities of SpaceClaim’s enhanced scripting environment.
Join PADT’s Application Engineer Tyler Smith for this webinar and learn about several improvements that are guaranteed to save time, enhance your designs and improve overall usability. We’ll cover:
Continued development of SpaceClaim’s scripting environment. With expanded recording capabilities and replayability of scripts on model versions, you’ll save time in the steps needed to automate geometry tasks.
Faceted data optimization and smoothing enhancements. You can greatly simplify and smooth topology optimized STL data for downstream printing, while preserving the integrity of localized regions.
Lattice Infilling for additive manufacturing. The Infilling functionality has greatly expanded to include several lattice infill types, all with custom options to ensure your 3-D printed component has an ideal strength-to-weight relationship.
Exploration of inner details of a model with the new fly-through capability. Without hiding components or using cross sections, this capability provides graphical feedback at your fingertips while making it even more enjoyable to work in a 3-D environment.
Fast, easy to use lightweighting for structural analysis is now only a few clicks away thanks to the introduction of Topology Optimization in ANSYS 18.
Engineers who use Finite Element Analysis (FEA) can reduce weight, materials, and cost without switching tools or environments. Along with this, Topology Optimization frees designers from constraints or preconceptions, helping to produce the best shape to fulfill their project’s requirements.
Topology Optimization also works hand-in-hand with Additive Manufacturing; a form of 3D printing where parts are designed, validated, and then produced by adding layers of material until the full piece is formed. Pairing the two simply allows users to carry out the trend of more efficient manufacturing through the entirety of their process.
Join PADT’s simulation support manager Ted Harris for a live presentation on the full
benefits of introducing Topology Optimization into your manufacturing process. This webinar will cover:
A brief introduction into the background of Topology Optimization and Additive Manufacturing, along with an overview of it’s capabilities
An explanation of the features available within this tool and a run through of it’s user interface and overall usage
An in-depth look at some of the intricacies involved with using the tool as well as the effectiveness of it’s design workflow