About Robert Harwood

Global Industry Director

Rob obtained his engineering PhD in 1998 and since that time has focused on the industrial use of simulation based engineering in a broad range of industry sectors. Rob has been with ANSYS for 16 years.

Breakthrough Energy Innovation. What Will You Change Today to Drive Sustainable Design?

Energy efficiency, sustainable design and green products are not new concepts but they are increasingly coming to the fore. Of particular recent note was the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) meeting in Paris and the commitment to limit global temperature rise to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels.

Why the increased emphasis and urgency? A widespread and growing recognition that our use of Earth’s resources is accelerating at an unsustainable rate, with measurable consequences. Continue reading

From Waterloo to Wi-Fi: The Transition to the Connected Soldier

Last year marked the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo. I recently read an excellent account of the battle by Tim Clayton. What a tremendous difference between the technology available to the soldiers and generals in those days compared with today’s connected soldier. Continue reading

It’s a Bird! It’s a Drone! No, It’s a Bag!

OK, apologies for the Superman theme in the title but I could not resist after watching this clip of one of the more innovative uses for a drone.

images of a droneI am sure you are aware of the rapidly growing market for unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) and drones. They are in the media almost every day for one reason or another and you may even have bought one for your kids (or really yourself and are just using the kids as an excuse).

On a more serious note, there have also been quite a few headlines of drones in near misses with commercial aircraft and much speculation about what might happen if contact was to occur. To begin to understand some of the factors that might influence what happens in various drone strike scenarios, one of my colleagues, Alex Pett, undertook some preliminary, proof-of-concept-type simulations. The simulations are preliminary and no concrete conclusions can yet be made, but it does show how simulation can help in this very complex area.

Video: Courtesy Alexander Pett, ANSYS UK Ltd

For many though, it is not a question of “if” a collision between a drone and an aircraft will happen, it is a question of “when.” In April, the pilot of a British Airways flight landing in Heathrow reported that his aircraft was struck by an unmanned aircraft. But this has subsequently been played down and it may now have been a plastic bag, not a drone, that made contact with the aircraft.

However, whether or not is was a drone, the incident continues to raise the serious concern regarding drones and their safe use.

And the safety of drones is not just about where and how high they can be flown. It also has a lot to do with their design and construction. For example, the rotor blades on many quadcopter designs are driven to high speed by powerful motors that in the wrong situation could do a lot of damage.

In the light of this interest regarding both the rapid development of the drone market and the concern over the trade space between performance and safety, I’d like to let you know about a webinar we are holding with Aviation Week on June 16th.

ansys webinars this weekThe webinar is titled Engineering Drones: Challenges and Opportunities and I am also very pleased to say that we will have a guest speaker, Trey Kasling, the CEO of a drone startup company Kasling Aircraft,who will be sharing his perspective not only on the drone market but how simulation can be used to develop safer drones and how drones can be used to excite young people about the world of engineering. I hope you can join us.

10 New Advancements in Aerospace Simulation with ANSYS 17.0

Over the few weeks, a collection of posts from my colleagues talking about an incredibly wide range of new features and capabilities in ANSYS 17.0. Changes that make a true step change in the performance, insight and productivity you derive from ANSYS technology.

On their own, this is very impressive. However, these features and capabilities are not developed in isolation. They are developed as part of a cohesive strategy to deliver integrated technology that impacts not only your experience with our software, but also provides a solution to your product development goals. Continue reading

Composites Curing Problems

Boeing celebrates 100 years in 2016

Boeing celebrates 100 years in 2016

The past few months have seen some milestones in aviation. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India passed through its 75th anniversary. This was, in part, celebrated with a really nice series of articles in Aeromag Asia (I particularly like the article on page 62, but I would say that wouldn’t I?). This year also marks Boeing’s 100th year. And I am sure there are others I am missing. The links I provided above take you to a showcase of the many highlights across these time periods. Quite breathtaking when you see the collections in one place. Congratulations to both companies! Continue reading

Engineering Simulation in a World of “Grow or Go”

In his recent blog, my colleague Todd McDevitt described how engineering simulation is a multiplier of top line growth. That reminded me of an article I read recently by McKinsey & Company arguing that we continue to live in a business world of “grow or go,” i.e., adapt or die. I have unashamedly borrowed the title of that article here, with due thanks to the author of the original. Continue reading

In With The New But Not Out With The Old

AIAA SciTechThe end of one year and the start of another is often a time of reflection and change, a time to welcome in the new. For me, this is also a time to look forward to the annual meeting that is the AIAA SciTech event, one of, if not the, largest gathering for the aerospace research, development and technology community. Continue reading

Advancing Solid Rocket Propulsion System Design

concordeIt has now been over a decade since commercial travelers were able to experience supersonic flight on the Concorde aircraft. News items will periodically surface about the possibility of travel across the Atlantic in an hour or less, but these are usually media hype based on a recently filed patent or publication. The reality is that we are still many years away from a commercial aircraft that can match the speed of Concorde. And, this is a plane that first flew close to 50 years ago. Who knows how far away we are from the transportation technologies we were supposed to have on the recently passed Back to the Future Day, October 21st 2015. Continue reading

Lightning Strikes Airplane – Clever Engineers Save the Day

Earlier this year we experienced a quite severe storm with thunder and lightning here in New Hampshire in the US. While this is not in itself unusual, it sticks in my mind because it brought a tree down on my garage. Fortunately the damage was only superficial, no one was hurt and it was repaired relatively quickly. However, since then I pay a bit more attention either during storms or when I read about the effects of them in the press.

airplane lightning strikeSo it will be of no surprise that a recent “lightning strikes airplane” headline caught my eye.

If you watch the video below, I think you will agree it is spectacular and also a little frightening, particularly if, like me, you fly extensively. Continue reading

Defense Technology and A Coat of Paint: The Difference Between Winning and Losing

Defense technology news has been awash recently with stories of the defeat of the Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter during a dog fight with a 40 year old fighter, the F16. Of course, such sensational stories are to be expected for an aircraft program that is under the microscope, particularly when it is alleged that the test pilot stated that the “F35 is at a distinct energy disadvantage” when it comes to maneuverability.

But just as quick was the response from the F35 team. According to the Washington Post, Pentagon officials pointed out that one of the key technologies that was missing from the F35 that was tested in the dog fight was its “special stealth coating” — or literally an extra coat of, albeit very expensive, paint. Continue reading