Driving Towards Autonomous Cars and ADAS – The Future is Now

Remote Sensing System of Vehicle. various cameras and sensors of autonomous vehicles ADASRead any automotive-related article and I’m sure it discusses autonomous cars and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)  – the benefits, the challenges and what the future may hold. More and more auto makers are moving towards autonomous developing vehicles, but many of the systems that will eventually be integrated into these vehicles to make them fully autonomous are being developed today. In fact, you probably have some of them in the car you are driving now — Collision Mitigation Braking,  Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Warning, and Lane Keeping Assistance to name a few. These ADAS applications present a new set of challenges and require a multi-disciplinary development approach. You can read more about these development areas in a blog written by my colleague, Sandeep Sovani.

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ANSYS Advantage: Simulate Early for Successful Products

ANSYS Advantage Issue 2 2017The vast majority of engineering decisions are made without the insights that engineering simulation could provide into the impact of those decisions. It is estimated that 80 percent of the total product development costs are locked in by choices made early in the design process — and subsequent analysis and optimization now has to live within the implied constraints or face very costly and time-consuming design changes.

With increasingly complex products taking advantage of advanced materials, additive manufacturing and IoT, this issue will grow exponentially as many more permutations and design options must be evaluated for any given product. The only way to harness the potential of these mega trends, and tame the inherent complexity, is to bring simulation upfront in the product development process. To design the products of tomorrow, leading companies are doing exactly that.

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Optimizing Critical Components to Fit into Confined Spaces Using the Adjoint Solver

Optimizing components that must fit into tight spaces can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced designer. Consider the HVAC system of a car, which supplies air to the vehicle’s cabin. Today, air conditioning is deemed standard equipment even in entry-level automobiles, so manufacturers must build it in. Its critical components – manifold ductwork — are located under the hood amid the well-planned jumble of engine, radiator, battery, transmission, and auxiliary structures. Not much room in there … and that’s just one of the complications. Continue reading

Design Automation Conference and LiveWorx – Big on IoT and Machine Learning

In June, I attended the Design Automation Conference in Austin, TX and LiveWorx in Boston, MA.  I would like to share some key observations from both events.

  1. The Internet of Things is going to be big; very big!
  2. Success requires partnerships.
  3. IoT is about monetizing data.
  4. Engineering simulation is essential.

The Internet of Things is going to be big!

At the just concluded Design Automation Conference in Austin, speaker after speaker stressed this.

Silicon Labs CEO, Tyson Tuttle, noted that there will be 70 billion Internet connected devices by 2025 with accompanying semiconductors to power them. He repeated McKinsey’s forecast the the Internet of Things will drive between $4 -11 trillion in global economic impact by 2025. Continue reading

How HPC Reduces CFD Simulation Time from Weeks to One Day

Some records are broken for glory, while others, like HPC, have more practical results. Compare 2017 Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest champion Joey Chestnut’s record-breaking feat of eating 72 hot dogs (with buns) in 10 minutes during the annual July 4 contest to ANSYS, Saudi Aramco and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) shattering the supercomputing record by more than 5x. Chestnut was awarded the “Mustard Belt” for the 10th time, $10,000 and an additional 20,000+ calories for his impressive performance. By leveraging high performance computing, Saudi Aramco and KAUST worked with ANSYS to speed up a complex simulation of a separation vessel from several weeks to an overnight run! Continue reading

Optimizing Tunnel Ventilation Fan Blades for Energy Efficiency Using the Adjoint Solver

Because fossil fuel resources around the globe are finite, an overriding engineering design challenge is energy efficiency and sustainability. Today I’ll use tunnel ventilation fans as an example to illustrate how CFD simulation and advancements in our Adjoint Solver in ANSYS 18 can optimize fan blades performance.

According to a report by Mosen Ltd., a leader in this industry, the “greening” of tunnel ventilation is still in its infancy. The application consumes substantial power, sometimes several megawatts; in addition, governmental regulations often require tunnels beyond a certain length (for example, 300 meters) to have ventilation systems that disperse exhaust and control smoke in case of fire. As a result, tunnels need more ventilation capacity than what would be needed for day-to-day air quality. Continue reading

The Challenges of 3D Sheet Metal Fabrication

Something you don’t read every day on the ANSYS blog are stories of how our technology helps manufacturers with 3D sheet metal fabrication. The reality is that many engineers and manufacturers use ANSYS SpaceClaim 3D technology for sheet metal design and the unfolding of problematic sheet metal bodies for punching and fabrication. MB-Technik in Neumarkt, Germany, is one such company that has built up a solid clientele with sheet metal parts, based on their unique expertise in how to punch, bend and powder coat final products. To implement complex client requirements even more rapidly, for about a year now, the company has ramped up their use of ANSYS SpaceClaim with its compelling direct modeling tools.

ANSYS-SpaceClaim-MB-Technik-sheet-metal-enclosure-finished 3D Sheet Metal FabricationFinished sheet metal enclosure fully designed and optimized in ANSYS SpaceClaim

About eleven years ago, when Thomas Markert and his partner Michael Berchtold founded their (second) joint venture MB-Technik, they knew what they were letting themselves in for.

“Clients want the impossible. And we didn’t want to get involved with the production of simple mass production parts that can be processed by any large sheet metal fabricator,” Markert says. “Clients with special requirements like demanding designs, perfect surfaces or powder coating are in good hands with us.”

The company’s core competency is the punching of parts and special components made of aluminum, steel and stainless steel sheets. Ten employees work in single-shift operation to serve the demanding clientele in industries such as automotive, aerospace and prototype manufacturing.

Getting to production faster

“As a medium-sized business, we don’t have much time for design,” Markert says. “It’s about rapidly modeling production-ready sheet metal parts from our client’s sketches or STEP files to quickly get to them onto the machines.” MB-Technik has a variety of CNC machines that punch different material types and thicknesses, and special shapes such as louvers.

“Whatever can be produced on these machines, we must be able to define with a 3-D CAD system quickly and easily,” says Markert. “That’s why I’ve kept an open eye for CAD solutions that tackle existing problems with fresh approaches.” In his search, he came across ANSYS SpaceClaim through ConWeb, an authorized ANSYS reseller in Germany. “The innovative functions in SpaceClaim get me up to speed fast, so I can take full advantage of my equipment,” he says. “With certain tasks I can finish them between 30 percent and 50 percent faster.” MB-Technik initially leased one license for these tasks because, as Markert says, “I thought this offer from ConWeb was fantastic, because this gave me enough time to really get to know the system before making my decision to purchase.” If you opt to buy the system, any money spent on lease payments goes toward the price of purchase. Meanwhile, they have been using SpaceClaim along with another CAD tool that focuses on other design aspects.

Exporting external data

Many of their clients already supply them with 3-D files. They export data to a STEP file, from which a great deal of information is removed. In Markert’s experience, many CAD systems either cannot handle the conversion or else stop running with an error message — but not ANSYS SpaceClaim. “The system is very tolerant of non-native geometry,” says Markert. “Most imported geometries are displayed correctly.” Along with this automatic translation, users can also intervene during the translation by detecting the error sources and deciding whether to remove them right away or make corrections later using direct modeling. “The system has excellent repair functions for all the usual geometry errors in files,” he says. He sees common problems such as varying thickness, incorrect corner or edge treatments or overlapping flanges.

Production preparation

Markert says the direct modeling technology of SpaceClaim lets users process and upgrade external models quickly and easily, with just a few clicks to add brackets, perform partial sections or set embossments. They simply select readymade sketches with embossments, deep drawings, punch geometries or louvers and place them on the model. They can create parametric control sketches for these patterns just as quickly – for example for keyholes, which can later be modified via radius and length.

MB-Technik often uses perforated plates, whose holes are arranged in a specific pattern. If the perforated plate needs to be enlarged, they can simply choose whether to have the holes proportionally redistributed or to keep the old coordinates. To ensure that a perforated plate with 600 three-dimensional hole geometries doesn’t take up too much computing time, SpaceClaim offers the option of showing only one hole with graphics and metadata and viewing the other ones simply as dashed lines. “This saves a tremendous amount of time for each change and each backup,” says Markert. “Before we started using SpaceClaim, this was the time when I used to have to go drink coffee.” Later, when the holes are needed during final processing, all model details output without issue.

ANSYS-SpaceClaim-MB-Technik-sheet-metal-enclosure-model-isometric-view 3D Sheet Metal FabricationFinal production model designed entirely in ANSYS SpaceClaim

More convenient options

Markert also enjoys the fact that SpaceClaim stores models, assemblies, processings, sketches and drawings in one file. “That is very convenient for transferring data. You’ve got everything together, up to date and you save time that can be used, for example, to retrace patterns,” he says. Other systems use separate files to store different data, but in SpaceClaim they are integrated with the model. Markert takes full advantage of the 2-D drawing capabilities to create partial sections, straight edges or embossing patterns to finished patterns and thus achieve results that cannot be shown with other systems. “That was one reason to buy SpaceClaim,” he says. “It works quite well.”

ANSYS-SpaceClaim-MB-Technik-sheet-metal-unfold-dimensions-3D Sheet Metal FabricationUnfolded model in ANSYS SpaceClaim. Customizable bend tables in SpaceClaim help determine bend allowance and K factor, and therefore unfold dimensions.

Bend allowance or K factor?

Depending on the material thickness and bend angle for a selected radius during the forming processes, a K factor value or bend allowance must be established (this determines the neutral axis and will have an affect on unfold lengths). Markert utilizes built-in tables with extraction values for the given parameters which give exact results with a high degree of accuracy. “An excellent solution,” says Markert. “I am also significantly faster with corrections than when I have to go over the K factor every single time. The executions, which are finally output as a DXF file for the machines, perform correctly 100 percent of the time.”

Easy entry and great value

Having experience with several CAD tools over the years, Markert is impressed with the user experience of SpaceClaim. “You get the impression the developers really worked hard to put themselves in the position of the user,” he says. “It’s important to me that development doesn’t stand still, but continues making progress with functions that are important for sheet metal processing. I have found all the necessary commands are right in front of you — no need to look for them. You can cancel any process easily by pressing a button. The program is always prompting you to do things, which really helps users navigate their way through the program.” That’s why, to this very day, Markert has never been to a training course for SpaceClaim.. He has found the tutorial videos on the website helpful, in addition to various instructional videos on YouTube. “When you see how others build a model, you quickly figure out the best approach,” Markert says. When all else fails, “the support from our reseller ConWeb is fast, reliable and competent — even if they don’t have sheet metal experts there,” he says.


ANSYS SpaceClaim includes collaborative functionality call LiveReview which lets two or more users who are geographically far apart communicate more effectively. In real time, any user can make suggestions, illustrate changes and view others contributions. It makes images further come alive to interactively collaborate this way. When MB-Technik recently invited two clients to SpaceClaim’s online LiveReview, they were both quite enthused: On the internet you can process a model together — not just view it and take notes!

Thomas Markert is just as enthusiastic about the  time savings and the outstanding cost/benefit ratio of using SpaceClaim for sheet metal fabrication: “You get the job done fast,” he concludes. “In particular, small businesses get an excellent return on their investment.”

If you are at all intrigued by MB-Technik’s story, we invite you to try ANSYS SpaceClaim for yourself and experience just how easy it is to use. You can try it right now in the cloud, or request a downloadable version.

Amphenol® RF HFSS 3D Components

Amphenol® RF engineers spend countless hours working with our customers to ensure our connectors are as effectively integrated as possible to their products. With competitive pressure and new product development cycles shrinking ever more, efficient collaboration with customers and partners for successful product integration has never been more important. A critical challenge in high performance RF connector design is to understand the impact of the connector’s launch to the device. Being able to validate our connector design on the customer’s product as early and as confidently as possible in the design stage is critical. To help address this need, Amphenol® RF is now making available, for download, encrypted ANSYS HFSS 3D models. Continue reading

3 Ways to Boost ANSYS Performance with Intel Technologies

Intel Supercomputing 2017

ISC 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany (copyright Philip Loeper)

My visit to ISC High Performance last month in Frankfurt, Germany re-affirmed my belief that computing innovation shows no signs of slowing down. I participated in an industrial HPC user panel at the event, which has traditionally focused on big supercomputing solutions for government and research institutions. The fact that this year’s ISC broke attendance records and dedicated so much time to industry sessions shows how much HPC has become entrenched in other industries.

We have been working with Intel on a few innovations that I wasn’t at liberty to discuss at ISC, but can now share with you that Intel announced its new processors and improvements to their accompanying technologies yesterday. We have been working with Intel to benchmark ANSYS software on the new technologies before their release, so that our mutual customers can immediately see what benefits they’ll receive. Here’s a sneak peek at the results. Continue reading

In Search of a Better Design with Topology Optimization

When reducing the mass of your models, are you also optimizing for other important design elements such as thermal performance, fabrication constraints or if the casting needs to be water-tight?

Thermal problems are very common in engineering design such as automotive powertrain, electronic cooling system, etc. Topology optimization can also be applied for thermal analysis to improve the cooling performance or for coupled thermal-mechanical analysis to improve the thermal and structural performance simultaneously. Continue reading