All posts by Bruce Jenkins

Autodesk Research Project Dreamcatcher: Pushing the limits of generative design

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Dreamcatcher workflow. Source: Autodesk

Project Dreamcatcher is Autodesk Research’s initiative to explore and expand the limits of generative design through the power of cloud computing, natural-language input, pattern-based problem description and AI-assisted design space visualization. Describing Dreamcatcher as an “experimental design platform with focused research probes into generative design systems,” Autodesk explains the spur for this work: “Recent advancements in artificial intelligence and the simulation of complex phenomena have enabled software to play an active, participatory role in the invention of form.”

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Click to animate. Source: Autodesk

At first glance this may look like topology optimization meets Invention Machine. But of course it’s much more. A goal-directed design system, Dreamcatcher’s objectives are summarized by Autodesk: “The Dreamcatcher system allows designers to input specific design objectives, including functional requirements, material type, manufacturing method, performance criteria and cost restrictions. Loaded with design requirements, the system then searches a procedurally synthesized design space to evaluate a vast number of generated designs for satisfying the design requirements. The resulting design alternatives are then presented back to the user, along with the performance data of each solution, in the context of the entire design solution space.” Continue reading

NAFEMS webinar—Democratization: Usability

NAFEMS webinar—Democratization: Usability, Oct. 1, 11:00 am EDT. Speakers: Chad Jackson, Lifecycle Insights; Michael “Zack” Eckblad, Intel. For non-experts to be able to run sophisticated simulations, it is critical that simulation apps be highly usable, speaking the language of the user and not the simulation expert. While there has been significant progress in making general-purpose simulation tools easier to use, they are, almost by definition, mostly used only by the experts. Meanwhile, “non-experts” continue to find that they are seldom able to use these tools safely, and must defer to the experts. In this webinar, a presentation by Chad Jackson and a case-study presentation by Michael “Zack” Eckblad of Intel explored this topic further, demonstrating practical examples of simulation apps at work, and the ROI experienced. Webinar presentations and recording available here.

Structural optimization for weight reduction of a tractor front-axle support

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Source: iChrome

Leading tractor manufacturer Same Deutz-Fahr used iChrome’s Nexus optimization and process integration software and Shaper 3D mesh morphing tool to achieve weight reductions together with an overall performance increase in complex 3D assemblies in its products. In this project, the key objective was to improve the initial shape of a tractor front-axle support, with the goal of minimizing the overall weight under performance requirement constraints. Continue reading

NAFEMS webinar—Democratization: Expert Knowledge Capture & Reuse

NAFEMS webinar—Democratization: Expert Knowledge Capture & Reuse, Sept. 17, 11:00 am EDT. Speakers: Ravi Desai, American Axle & Manufacturing; Tory Scola, NASA Langley Research Center; Bruce Jenkins, Ora Research. Forward-thinking companies have embraced targeted, solution-focused “simulation apps” to gain measurable improvements in innovation, development time and related product quality. Leveraging this approach has allowed companies to work with dispersed departments, suppliers and partners, all while maintaining control and consistency, enforcing standards, and ensuring the validity of analysis results. This webinar featured practical examples of automation templates and simulation apps at work, and the ROI that companies have experienced. Webinar presentations and recording available here.

DATADVANCE pSeven 6.1 release highlights

DATADVANCE pSeven 6.1 release highlights:

  • Siemens NX integration—Support for Siemens NX 10. Support for Unicode paths, names of model features and dimensions. Support for expressions. Stability improvements.
  • Algorithmic core updates—New method of solving mixed-integer optimization problems that does not require surrogate-based optimization. Better handling of cusp-like singularities in optimization problems. New sparse linear regression technique for approximation.
  • Project database cleanup—Compact a project database by removing redundant data. Significantly reduces size of projects that use the database actively.
  • Updated examples—Approximation model export. Using SolidWorks and ANSYS in optimization.

Accelerate 2015 with Autodesk PLM 360

Accelerate 2015 with Autodesk PLM 360, Sept. 1-2, Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center, Boston. Autodesk’s 2nd annual PLM conference will bring together customers, industry executives, market analysts and subject matter experts to learn, network and share strategies for solving modern manufacturing challenges, and get an exclusive sneak peek into the future of Autodesk PLM 360. Event and registration information here.

Optimizing the remote sensing instrument of Taiwan’s FORMOSAT-8 satellite

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Figure 1: Appearance of the optical RSI payload on FORMOSAT-5 satellite (1). Source: FEA-Opt

Taiwan began designing and developing its first satellite in 1994 in collaboration with a U.S. space systems contractor. FORMOSAT-1 was launched in January 1999 and provided service until its retirement in 2004. FORMOSAT-2 was launched later in 2004, followed by FORMOSAT-3 in 2006. In 2010, FORMOSAT-5 passed design verification and now awaits deployment. FORMOSAT-5 will carry the first optical remote sensing instrument payload completely designed and developed by Taiwan itself.

Today FORMOSAT-8 is under development. This new satellite will inherit the experience from FORMOSAT-5 and will likewise carry an optical remote sensing instrument developed by Taiwan. Opto-mechanical systems integration will be led by the country’s Instrument Technology Research Center, with participation by the Opto-Mechanical Design Analysis (OMDA) Lab supervised by Professor Yi-Cheng Chen at Taiwan’s National Central University, which is responsible for weight reduction of the mirror supporting structure. To achieve the breakthrough improvements required in structural weight, the OMDA Lab is utilizing FEA-Opt Technology’s SmartDO design optimization, system integration and process automation software. Continue reading

Maximizing aircraft economy through multidisciplinary winglet optimization

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Winglets increase the lift generated at the wingtip by smoothing the airflow across the upper wing side near the tip. Winglets also reduce the lift-induced drag caused by wingtip vortices, improving the lift-to-drag ratio of the aircraft.

Executive summary—Wingtip devices are intended to reduce aircraft drag through partial recovery of the tip vortex energy. Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) used Noesis Solutions’ Optimus to automate and couple FEM and CFD simulations to identify optimized winglet design configurations offering operational and environmental benefits. Optimus realized a 1.2% reduction in aircraft takeoff weight for a typical mission profile at 1G cruise speed. It achieved this by balancing the aerodynamic benefits and weight penalties of a passenger aircraft model integrating wing reinforcement to withstand winglet induced loads. Optimus’ design of experiments (DOE) and response surface modeling (RSM) capabilities helped FHI engineers understand the impact of winglet characteristics on aircraft performance up-front. Global design optimization enabled them to reduce the aircraft’s cruise drag by 4% and its takeoff weight by 676 kilograms, while respecting the shock induced separation (SIS) airflow constraint. Continue reading

NAFEMS Simulation 20/20 webinar series

NAFEMS announced an initiative to collaborate with industry thought leaders and end-user companies to develop and deliver a webinar series titled Simulation 20/20—The Next Five Years. This year-long program offers 14 webinars aimed at advancing the understanding, usability and application of current and emerging CAE technologies and methodologies. The series commenced Thursday, August 27 with a webinar titled Democratizing CAE that discussed how CAE analysis is being deployed to a broadening group of users throughout product development using template-based simulation applications. Webinar presentations and recording available here. Following will be three webinars based on case studies related to the democratization topic: Expert Knowledge Capture & Reuse, Usability and Accessibility. Continue reading