|Published on:||September 7th, 2021|
|With:||Eric Miller & Ahmed Fayad|
In this episode your host and Co-Founder of PADT, Eric Miller is joined by PADT’s IT Software Support Engineer, Ahmed Fayad to discuss common support questions he frequently receives, along with best practices for avoiding issues and finding solutions within Ansys simulation software.
If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a topic for the next episode, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we would love to hear from you!
Additive manufacturing (3D Printing) has been rapidly gaining popularity as a true manufacturing process in recent years. ANSYS’ best-in-class solution for additive manufacturing enables simulation at every step in your AM process, and helps to optimize material configurations, and machine & parts setup before printing begins.
Through the use of ANSYS tools such as Additive Suite & Additive Print, paired with topology optimization capabilities in ANSYS Mechanical Workbench, the need for physical process of trial-and-error testing has been greatly reduced.
Join PADT’s Simulation Support and Application Engineer Doug Oatis for an exploration of the ANSYS tools that help to optimize additive manufacturing, and what new capabilities are available within them when upgrading to ANSYS 2019 R2. This presentation includes updates regarding:
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We are honored, pleased, and humbled to announce that PADT won a very special national award, a 2018 Silver Stevie for our ANSYS Technical Support Team. This is a very special award for us because what it recognized goes to the heart and soul of who PADT is. Technical support across the company is where we put our blood, sweat, and sometimes tears. For ANSYS, Stratasys 3D Printers, SCA’s, scanners, or consulting; whatever product or service it is that we support for customers, how we interact with those customers so that they can be successful with those products and services is really what makes PADT different.
And now a bunch of independent and outside judges looked at what we do and how we do it, and they said: Outstanding Job! In fact, they said, “PADT defines what premium customer service looks like.” As an ANSYS Elite Channel Partner, our technical support is key to keeping and growing customers. These tools are incredibly capable and diverse. Also, they are not cheap. When a customer purchases ANSYS software they expect a higher level of service, and this award confirms that we deliver.
The official award was: Silver Stevie (R) Winner: Customer Service Department of the Year – Computer Software – Up to 2,500 Employees
Our customers also agree, based on the response to surveys that we send them when support tickets are closed, 92% of respondents said we solved their problem and 96% were satisfied or very satisfied. Having great customers with real and challenging issues is also key to our success. And we would not have received this award without backup from our backup, the ANSYS Customer Excellence team around the world. Without their help, we literally would not have had answers for our customers.
Everyone who does support earned this award. But, their families also deserve a big thank you. thanks. Doing tech support is hard and can be frustrating. You are basically taking on other peoples problems and trying to fix them. All day. Every day. And sometimes we take that home. Sometimes our engineers will check a test run at 2:00 am. Or they will get an idea at the dinner table and send an email.
And although we applied for and won an award that focused on our ANSYS team, the same outstanding support is supplied to all of our customers. It is one of the key ways that “We Make Innovation Work.”
Here is a link to the Stevie Awards page itself: Check out the other companies. We are very happy to be listed with them. You can also find links there to the process, and especially the judging. We had to submit a lot of data.
Do you want award-winning support for your ANSYS products? If you are in the Southwestern US and you are not currently our customers, contact us and we would be honored to have you join our group of happy customers. Not an ANSYS user? Let’s talk about how to get these fantastic tools into your organization. And don’t worry, as stated above, this level of service is available for everything PADT does, so reach out and let’s see how we can work together.
Contact us at 480.813.4884 or email@example.com
When it comes to Additive Manufacturing (AM), there is a lot to consider before hitting the print button. One of the biggest constraints in most AM processes is the need for supports for overhangs, which are aspects of the design that will not print properly without supports either due to the force of gravity acting on the material (natural free-falling state of the material with no support forcing it into position), or the thermomechanical effects associated with printing with no underlying thermally conductive and warpage-constraining material.
The solution is to either redesign any of the problem areas or reorient the whole piece to avoid any overhangs that need these supports. During my internship at PADT Inc., I will be focusing on strategies to minimize the need for supports, towards the ideal goal of manufacturing only self-supporting structures, because it’s never a bad idea to decrease waste, both in terms of additional material used and the labor involved in removing the support materials after the print. This post (part 1) of this blog series is going to be about evaluating the most basic guidelines of printing a self-supporting structure to extract some insight.
Using inspiration from some machine accuracy tests found online, I designed my own prints to evaluate the Makerbot Replicator 5th generation’s ability to print overhangs using angles, upright holes, bridges, arched bridges, and 90 degree overhangs—and I present each one of these standard guidelines below. My process parameters for almost all of the tests with, of course, supports OFF were as follows:
For testing overhangs with angles, I printed out two different sets of trapezoids. The first was a set of six ranging from 25-75 degrees (or 65-15 degrees from the leveled plane).
As shown by the photos above, the prints were of good quality and only started to show visibly poor quality on the 65 and 75 degree samples. The thinnest edge on the 65 degree sample curled up due to the heat of the extruder. The same issues were present on the 75 degree piece, but this is more exaggerated because of how harsh the angle is.
My hope of printing self-supporting pieces was shattered when I printed out an 85 degree trapezoid. To save material, I only printed out a section of the trapezoid, but the angled edge did not print smoothly at all. Not only that, but it did not print at a true 85 degree angle. With these tests, it is safe to say that a machine can handle up to a 65 degree angle with light finishing needed, but further experimentation can be done to see if these angles can be improved.
3.2 Upright Holes
For these, I did 2 quick tests. The first was printed with the settings listed above, and the second was printed with only one shell (contour). The numbers next to the circles (1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10) represent the radii in millimeters. The double-shelled print came out a lot better than the single-shell replica on the edges of the piece, but the single-shelled piece had slightly cleaner holes due to less weight on the overhang. However, both pieces had defects that can easily be sanded down.
3.3 “H” Overhangs/Bridges
Bridges are sometimes referred to as an “H” overhang due to the overhang having two sides to support it. When testing bridges with 90 degree overhangs of 0.25, 0.75, 1.25, 1.75, and 2.25 inches, the results showed increasing stringing with length for all but the 0.25 inch sample.
3.4 Arched Bridges
The inspiration for these came from the shape of an egg. That’s because I learned during an egg drop lab that an egg is stronger when weight is being put on it length-wise than if the sides are pinched. As expected, the pieces where the curves are less steep (like an egg laying so the shorter distance is perpendicular to the ground) have more defects, and the steepest curve (as if the top of an egg was the mold for this piece) was almost perfect. The wider the curve becomes, the less it can support itself and the more the piece is unrecoverable.
3.5 “T” Overhangs/Cantilevers
The final test for this section is the “T” overhang, which only has a support on one side. This happened to be the only test that completely failed, as none of these pieces are usable – it’s safe to say that pieces should not be made without supports on both side of the overhang.
A rule-of-thumb “overhang rule” used in the industry is that a piece can be self-supporting as long as the overhang does not exceed the angle to the horizontal by more than 45 degrees. A back-of-the-envelope (literally) calculation shows that if we approximate an angular edge with stair-steps of thickness t, the overhang length l equals t/tan(Θ). According to this equation, this means that to increase the allowable angle, the layer thickness can be increased or the unsupported length should be reduced.
This observation is confirmed by a previous investigation into the angles of self-support for ULTEM-9085 on Stratasys Fortus systems showed how the maximum angle that can be self-supported is indeed a function of layer thickness, but also a function of the contour width (see graph below). In the graph, the lower the angle, the lesser the support needed, since everything above that angle will need to be supported. Thus, thicker layers result in lesser support. Due to the nature of contouring in the FDM processes, a thin contour that forms the edge of the overhang is likely to droop off. But as it gets thicker, it maintains greater contact with the supported portion.
The fact that thicker layers and contour widths may yield larger support angles is counter intuitive since we generally assume thinner layers improve print quality – and this is in general true. But if the aim is to design parts without supports, both these variables can push the limits of the process.
Basic design guidelines for overhangs can be, to a first order, simplified to one design rule: the angle below which material needs to be supported. This angle in turn, for the Fused Deposition Modeling process on a given machine and material, can be optimized by manipulating layer thickness and contour width.
In my next post, I will look for inspiration for self-supporting strategies from other disciplines. Stay tuned.
How do you make sure that your customers have a great experience? In “Five simple strategies for promoting customer satisfaction” PADT’s manager of ANSYS Technical Support and Training, Ted Harris, outlines the tools he and his team use to keep PADT’s customer satisfaction rates outstanding.
Palm trees and movie stars. Endless beaches and deserts that fade to the horizon. Aerospace companies, world class universities, med device developers, and toy manufacturers. Oil, freeways, and big construction. Southern California. A place larger and more diverse than most countries in the world. PADT has done work in the area since our first weeks in business. As our business continued to grow, our customers started asking when we were opening up a local office, but the time never seemed right. Until now.
PADT is pleased to announce that we will be loading furniture and computers in a truck and head on the I-10 to Torrance, California where we will open up a new office. ANSYS, Inc. has expanded our sales territory to include small and medium sized new accounts in the Southern California area. The focus of this new office will be building that business.
You can read the official details in the press release below, or the PDF here. As usual, we want to share some more informal information with our blog readers.
The office will be started with an engineer and a salesperson who have been with us for a while, and another pair that we are hiring locally. This combination of company experience and local knowledge should get us going quickly. Over time, the plan is to grow the Torrance office, and add at least two more. Long term we would like to have between 3 and 10 employees per office in Southern California.
Our team will conduct training and seminars from this office and use it as a base to spread the word on simulation driven product development across Southern California. The initial focus for sales will be on small and medium sized businesses that are currently not using ANSYS products, that want to work with a technical sales and support team who can provide more than the software tool – customers who want a partner who can also help them apply the tools effectively. The dense hotbeds of engineering along the coast will be an obvious area of concentration. We also aim to represent the value of ANSYS products in less visited areas of the region, including the high deserts, “in-between” towns, and inland locations beyond LA, Orange County, and San Diego.
Consumers in the United States spend almost seven trillion dollars each year on consumer goods. In order to tap into this lucrative market, many major american companies in mexico manufacture their products in exotic locales such as China, India, or other Asian nations due to their cheap labor and lax trade restrictions. Unfortunately, few of the industries that export their capitol across the Pacific realize that they could save more money with one short trip across the southern border to the maquiladoras of CaliBaja based in Mexicali, Baja California and Calexico, California.
Because of international trade agreements such as NAFTA, manufacturers can import raw material and heavy equipment into Mexico duty and tariff-free in an arrangement referred to as the maquiladora program. The word maquiladora is derived from the Spanish term that translates to “to submit something to the action of the machine.” The governments of the United States and Mexico developed a mutually beneficial economic partnership that allows American businesses to utilize Mexican labor laws while maintaining production standards and levels found in the best American factories. This agreement has been the secret weapon used by such prominent companies as 3M Corp, General Electric, Boeing, Sanyo, Wolf Electronics, and Page Electric to decrease production costs and increase profits.
CaliBaja is the leading business in the maquiladora program. Clients from across the United States employ CaliBaja in one of two ways: the contract system and the shelter system. The contract system requires the least amount of risk on the client’s part, for it allows them to concentrate on running their business and leave the manufacturing to us. We handle everything else, from quality control, inspection, maintenance, and shipping, to production scheduling, translation, training, and documentation management. Basically, clients tell us what they want to make, we make it, and pass along our expenses as cost. Depending on the volume and type of item desired, clients could save tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The shelter system is the fastest way to get a product out the door and to the shelves of retailers. Under this production design, the client provides the equipment, tooling, technical experience, quality control, and management, and we handle the permits, taxes, government interaction, accounting, and legal representation. CaliBaja also ensures that our clients have the finest workforce drawn from the highly motivated and educated population of Mexicali. Furthermore, many clients often find that neither of these solutions fits perfectly with their business needs, so CaliBaja can tailor a program that can suit any manufacturing situation.
Partnering with CaliBaja has several distinct advantages over not only international production but also other maquiladoras in Mexico. First, because we are located next to the U.S.-Mexico border, our clients have more direct control and oversight into their production process, with no time difference commonly experienced during trans-Pacific manufacturing. Furthermore, our facilities are serviced by major rail lines, roads, deep water shipping ports, and airports that can distribute products throughout America and the world. Mexicali is also a prime location for manufacturing, as other border locations such as Tijuana lack both the infrastructure and workforce to properly staff a sophisticated manufacturing program.
The good news is that we are not starting from scratch. This first office is right down the street from the California campus of PADT’s largest and oldest customer. We also have over one hundred customers who have used PADT for simulation services, training, rapid prototyping, and product development, and we will be reaching out to them shortly to start building our local network even further. And then, our new employees who we will hire locally will be contacting their network as well.
Before the end of the summer we hope to have a grand opening event, as well as several seminars that will continue through the end of the year. If you live in the area and want to be invited, visit here to register as someone who want to be on the California contact list.
This blog and social media will be used to post our progress. The entire sales and technical team is looking forward to meeting everyone in the area in the coming months.
If you have any questions or suggestions for us, please contact us. Our standard number 480.813.4884 works for all of our offices.
Below is a copy of the press release, or you can view the “official” version here.