Paolo Colombo is the Aerospace & Defense Global Industry Director at ANSYS.
He was born in Italy in 1970, joined the Air Force as student pilot in 1992 and, though his career took a different path, he is still regularly flying. From 1999 his passion for advanced technologies brought him to work with companies' managers and executives on emerging technologies in product engineering, rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing and engineering simulation. He joined ANSYS in 2010.
Paolo holds a BSc and an MBA majoring in Innovation management.
A few months ago at the ANSYS Worldwide Sales Conference, I had the opportunity to view the many advancements and get briefed on other news concerning our simulation platform. As part of this learning experience, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting our newest colleagues from Esterel Technologies and finding out how embedded software is becoming key in the development of a new generation of products. From aerospace to automotive and transportation, from medical devices to energy generation plants, it is an important piece of the Simulation-Driven Product Development vision. In a 2-part blog, I’ll explain what this means to me.
Lockheed F-104C Starfighter
As I’ve mentioned before I’m quite fond of aircraft, so I’llillustratethis point by talking about some very famous military planes, starting with the glorious Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. This incredible aircraft was designed in the early 1950’s by a myth among engineers — Kelly Johnson. His goal was to create a light, easy-to-maintain, simple and cost-effective airplane that would climb as fast as possible to operating height and engage in hostile contact with radar-guided missiles. Continue reading →
I’ve always been passionate about aircraft. When I served in the Air Force and took my pilot training, I learned a lot about how systems on military planes work. One of the most amazing components, to me, was the ejection seat, probably one of the most complex pieces of equipment on board.
Drogue parachute system analysis with inset submodel of the critical area using nonlinear material properties. Courtesy CTC.
Even if the purpose of the seat is clear and simple — to provide the pilot a safe and immediate way out of the aircraft in case of accident — its job is a very tough one. The seat has to work in emergency conditions; it represents the last chance for a pilot to leave a severely damaged aircraft, maybe spiraling out of control. This system must be designed not to fail despite the critical, varied and unpredictable conditions in which it will be used. That’s quite a challenge for designers! Let me give you an example. Continue reading →
Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but we are living on a spaceship called Earth. It’s a big one, with more than 7 billion people on board, traveling at about 108,000 Km/h (67,500 mph) in the solar system, while spinning in such a way that, if you are on the equator line, you are moving at more than 1,700 Km/h (1,000 mph). Amazing, isn’t it?
The ozone hole max is on Sept. 22, 2012. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
In our travel through the universe, we are protected from outer space by our pressurized canopy: a 12 Km-thick barrier limited by an ozone layer that acts as a shield against radiation and small asteroids. It also allows us to breathe fresh air. It’s a very complex ship, with systems designed to provide the passengers (us) with anything we need to have a very pleasant journey: food, energy, water and fun. But it was designed 4.5 billion years ago, and there were no human beings at that time asking for so much energy to cool down their houses in summer, heat them up in winter, drive a big car, fly in a plane, or produce goods.
Historically, ANSYS has been well known by engineers. But in the last several years, more and more executives and entrepreneurs have become interested in understanding what simulation software is and how they can implement it into their companies’ product development cycles. We say “Innovate to Compete.”
At a recent executive conference held in Italy, over 200 top executives met with ANSYS and other business partners. I can easily see why they were interested: An executive’s role is to look ahead, envisioning the products that will represent the future of their businesses. A company leader needs to find ways to create value in a very competitive environment, in which winning the market often means investing heavily in new ideas and facing the risks that come with radical innovation.
Today, simulation software supplies insight so a leader can implement a strategic decision, understand which is the right product idea to invest in, determine if the innovation is feasible or not, and have confidence that this new product can realize the promises they are making to customers and shareholders. Today, entrepreneurs can soundly base their choices on virtual testing of thousands of hypotheses, taking into consideration unique ideas that can become breakthrough smart products. Simulation is helping them look into the future of their product’s strategy and make better decisions. That’s the reason behind why an executive meeting like this can be so successful.
Take a moment to view a video that features some conference participants. It is in Italian, but you’ll find an English translation below.
Last week, technical managers, IT managers and advanced users of CAE simulation software gathered at the Volandia Flight Museum in Milan, Italy, to discuss how aerospace industry simulation experts can effectively deal with the increasingly complex challenges they face.
ANSYS and Enginsoft, along with HP and Nvidia, came together to present a full overview that included not only software, but complete solutions made through a combination of software, hardware processes and knowledge. This event opened with Robert Harwood, Global Aerospace & Defense Director of ANSYS, discussing the trends in the aviation industry around the world. Continue reading →