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SolidWorks 2010 A-GO-GO

Published 25 August 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: solidworks, beta, solidworks 2010, etc etc., blogger

Well, it seems that the SolidWorks 2010 is kicking up the usual storm of content online and it really doesn’t need me wading into the afray when you’ve got an army of bloggers who’ve been waiting with baited breath and clammy handed anticipation to give you the skinny since the Beta NDA was lifted a couple of days ago. So, if you’re looking for SolidWorks 2010 news, then perhaps you might check these tasty links:

There will be an enslaught of everything you could want to know about the 2010 release from all of the SolidWorks bloggers and there’s a pretty exhaustive list of where to find them here.

Josh will also be writing us a review of what’s coming up in SolidWorks 2010 in the next issue of DEVLOP3D, so stay tuned. 2010 is still in the beta cycle with the latest (the third) going live just in the last few days and you can still sign up if you want a peep at it.

And to think that the official launch press release isn’t even due till the end of the month. Some of the ’traditional’ media haven’t been too happy with the state of affairs, talking about embargoes and NDAs as the source of all evil and have been quite vocal in their opinions – Roopinder at tenlinks waded in with this, while Ralph Grabowski has been feeling all left out.

I do have to admit that I find peeps moaning about exclusivity when they could very easily have signed up for the Beta programme, gained some insight into how SolidWorks 2010 is shaping up somewhat ironic. Ralph sees himself as dealing with pre-news. How about some pre-work to find the story behind 2010 – which is exactly what the bloggers have done. OK. I’m done with the subject. It’s tedious.

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New Confab event from Core77 and Coroflot for the Bay Area

Published 20 August 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: live events, core77, creative confab

Our old friends at core77.com and coroflot.com have organised another in their series of Creative Employment Confab events, this time at the Autodesk Gallery at One Market Street in San Francisco on 21st of October and I’m a bit gutted I never get to attend these things, because they always look interesting, whether that’s in Austin (for SxSW), New York (during Design Week), and Portland.

The format will be similar to previous events, with an afternoon panel discussion covering topics creative hiring, followed by a reception which mixes design directors, recruiters, and creative professionals in an environment tailor made to encourage network-building and knowledge-sharing. New for the SF date will be an optional morning session, offering a pair of concurrent workshops, one directed at job-seekers, and the other at talent-seekers.

Confirmed panelists are:

  • John Foster, Head of Talent and Organization at IDEO
  • Kate Gilman, Recruiter at 24 Seven, Inc.
  • Steve Johnson, Director of User Experience Design & Web Development at LinkedIn
  • Additional panelists will be announced as they are confirmed.

The panel will be moderated by Coroflot Editorial Director Carl Alviani, and followed by Q&A with the audience. it’s 60 bucks to get in (85 if you fancy the optional morning session). Registration is here.

If you’re in the Bay area, pop along. Looks sweet. If not, there’s some analysis, photos and video from previous Confabs (more commentary and video of the entire Portland panel can be found on the Creative Seeds blog). And say hi to Carl for me. I don’t think he’s speaking to me after I posted a two year old press release when I covered Core’s 3D CAD tips while he was on vacation wink

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Domteknika puts VISI Flow to work on sustainable vehicle design

Published 19 August 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: vero software, visi flow, sustainable vehicles

Located next to Lake Bienne on the French Swiss border, Domteknika SA is a service company providing technical and strategic assistance to world leaders in the automotive, household appliance, packaging and other design industries.

Formed in 1999 by Jean-Luc Thuliez, the company is actively interested and heavily involved in improving design and production methods to benefit the environment and minimise ecological impact. Specifically they have researched the impact in design to cost analysis, tooling, plastics & polymers engineering and prototyping through their Research & Development group.

One such project was an eco-friendly car that not only produced zero emissions but equally as important, was also recyclable with minimal environmental impact. Working on a project commissioned by the Poitou Charente region, Domteknika worked in partnership with DiedreDesign and Induct to create the Softcar, an eco-friendly car both in terms of pollution, manufacturing and recycling. After much interest at the recent Mondial de l’automobile show, it is hoped the car will soon be in production.

The RSoftcar certainly fulfils the criteria of the eco-concept vehicle originally presented to us”, explains Jean-Luc Thuliez. “The concept of zero emission vehicles is an important topic and one that is high on the agenda for many automotive companies. However, for this project, the tailpipe pollution was not the only ecological constraint taken into account. The objective of the project was to produce a car where the benefit to the environment was split between the reduction in carbon emissions and the eventual recycling of the vehicle. Other fundamentals of the project included the classic research for manufacturers to reduce costs, and the increasing demands of emerging markets to launch very low-cost vehicles. However, the batteries for fuel-cell vehicles are still very expensive and will represent a significant part of the cost for some years to come.

While continuing to protect the planet, Domteknika also develops an “electric monster” with extraordinary acceleration and a top speed approaching 260 kph.

Reduction of material use

Domteknika placed major emphasis on dramatically reducing of the number of materials used in the construction of the vehicle, the largest of which could be found in the number of thermoplastic polymers used.

A simple examination of the dashboard from a typical vehicle highlights the number of different polymers used during production. The dismantling of individual pieces and the sorting of materials for recycling can be long and expensive process. It doesn’t make sense to produce a zero emission car if the manufacturing and recycling costs are too high, diluting the environmental benefits.

It is an original exercise,” explains Jean-Luc Thuliez. “No study has been pushed so far in a vehicle design based on such a criteria. However, to reach the goal, it was necessary for us to guarantee that the design of components and their production were also fully optimized. We not only had to analyse the geometry but also the simulation of the plastic injection process”.

The procedure of correctly predicting component or moulding failures is vital, especially for passenger safety. Head impact is a major issue for the automotive industry and an example of how model analysis can be so valuable would be in the area surrounding airbag deployment. Industry requirements ensure that no weld lines can be present on the plastic moulding within 50mm of airbag deployment because these indicate weak stress points that may fail under crash testing – the result would be plastic shards around the passenger space. If this single component fails a crash test, the result is new CAD models and a new suite of tooling.

Already equipped with 3D CAD technology, Domteknika made several bench mark tests on software solutions for plastic injection simulation. After extensive testing, and following advice from plastics technology expert, Yves Lozach, Domteknika purchased VISI Flow from Vero Software in December 2008.

VISI Flow speeding up investigation

Although relatively new to plastic injection simulation, the assessment of VISI Flow is already positive for Jean-Luc Thuliez: “The advice, training and support has been excellent from both the Vero team and Afcoplast. We have learnt not only how to use the software, but have also began to understand how moulding parameters and mould & part design influence the failure of injection moulded plastic parts. The software has proved itself to be fast, accurate, and most importantly, very complete. We currently use all VISI Flow options because it is essential for us to ensure that our design choices are compatible with the materials being used within the optimal moulding conditions. We often have to test different thermoplastic solutions, so the setup and calculation times of VISI Flow are a big advantage as they do not add major delays to our development time. After the results of the plastic simulation, we often have to make changes to the CAD models to compensate for moulding issues. VISI Flow allows us to predict potential manufacturing problems with devilish precision allowing the maximum possible time frame for a corrective solution.

Etienne Crozier, Development Engineer at Domteknika further explains the benefits of plastic injection simulation. “In plastics processing industry, we are often in the habit of trying to put ourselves into the material to better understand what takes place during moulding and how the material reacts under pressure. With the help of VISI Flow, we can now give a clear and ultra-precise analysis to the mould maker. We can even guarantee the results with the selected polymer.

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Random Post, Cornflakes and Inventor of the month

Published 12 August 2009

Posted by Al Dean

Article tagged with: autodesk, autodesk inventor, cereals, at ferrell, tasty morning treats, inventor of the month

I’m not a huge fan of breakfast, life is usually starting too quickly and too busily to even bother with it these days. But today I had the above. Hey, I’m not going to turn down free cereals am I?* Cornflakes. In a nice ceramic bowl. Why am I telling you this? The answer is that yesterday, much to my confusion/bafflement/eventual comedy, I received a package from Autodesk’s PR team at Edelman in Chicago.

I’m used to being sent odd things over the years. From a brass compass, about 9,000 memory sticks a month, a photograph of Dr. Heinz Wolff (which adored our old offices walls for many years) right through to possibily the oddest thing – A box of fish. Yes. Fish. In a box. In the post (No idea who sent it as the label fell off). Now. Why was I sent a bowl of cereal?

The answer is that this month’s Inventor of the Month, something which Autodesk has been running for the past few years, is A.T. Ferrell Company, who design and engineer its roller mills and other industrial food processing machines using Inventor. Those machines are used to, amongst many other things, to make the flakes in corn flakes, the toffee in chocolate bars and the oats in oatmeal.

A.T. Ferrell’s roller mills use high pressure rollers to flatten grains to the exact thickness required to create the perfect corn flake, for example, or to crack a piece of toffee without crushing it. According to the press release, “Using Inventor software enables A.T. Ferrell to take advantage of built-in features such as parametric modeling and finite element analysis so the company’s machines can successfully operate under high-pressure conditions while meeting all tolerance requirements.

Allen Gager, a design engineer and CAD manager at A.T. Ferrell explains further that “Using Inventor software to create a 3D digital prototype means we no longer have to cut metal to prove the feasibility of a design. We know exactly how a mill will perform before it’s been built. Additionally, Autodesk Vault Workgroup helps us keep track of our designs and improves our ability to reuse designs and components, which speeds the development of new products.

On a recent project, Inventor enabled A.T. Ferrell’s designers to identify a problem, test the existing design and develop a new design all in one day. This efficiency has allowed A.T. Ferrell to greatly simplify the design-to-manufacture process and develop innovative new equipment. And yes, equipment that brings us our daily breakfast, whether you’re a cornflakes or a oatmeal person.

Which leads to wonder, A.T. Ferrell are doing all the work, isn’t it about time we found exactly where in the process the Honey Monster comes into it. ****** is taking all the credit. And don’t get me started on Tony the Tiger. Grrrrrrrrr.

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