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How’s your stomach? If you’re a test engineer there might be some rumble in the jungle watching SNC’s Dream Chaser being drop tested. The prototype spacecraft was airlifted to an altitude over 12,000 feet by a Chinook helicopter contracted from Columbia Helicopters.

From there you can see it drops like a rock and the craft plummets toward the ground. There must've been some serious high-fiving in the control room after the landing went perfectly. Perhaps that’s why one of the flight directors says, “Let’s go ahead and monitor your systems guys, monitor your systems.”

For us at Applied CAx this is a double customer success story. Columbia Helicopters, global provider of heavy-lift helicopters and MRO operations, has been our FEMAP support and training customer for 10 years. From bringing new engineers up to speed at our FEMAP & NX Nastran training class to assisting their analysts getting their full-aircraft dynamic analysis up-and-running, Applied and Columbia have a rich history. The company owns and maintains a fleet of Columbia Model 234 Chinook helicopters, Columbia Vertol 107-II helicopters, and Boeing CH-47D helicopters. These aircraft are operated around the world, supporting construction, logging, firefighting, petroleum exploration and military operations. And in this case, spacecraft drop testing.

More electromagnetic design capabilities will be coming to Simcenter. An acquisition and a partnership have boosted the ability to design, analyze and model nearly any electromagnetic component.

First off, the acquisition. Siemens PLM Software acquired Infolytica Corporation and their suite of products in October 2017.

Infolytica was one of the original pioneers in the field of simulating low-frequency EM. Engineers can design and simulate motors, generators, transformers, sensors, induction heating, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and shielding with these tools from Infolytica:

The Infolytica business will be incorporated into the mechanical analysis division of Mentor Graphics, another recent-ish Siemens acquisition, which is gradually being rebranded to Mentor.

And now onto the partnership. Siemens has partnered with Ingegneria Dei Sistemi (IDS), an Italian company specializing in innovation & products in air traffic management, airports, electromagnetic engineering, unmanned systems, avionics and protection fields.

The partnership adds the ability to Simcenter to engineer the electromagnetic performance of systems with regard to antenna design and installation, EM Compatibility (EMC), EM Interference (EMI), EM hazards and more.

For more please visit this article on their push into electromagnetic simulations, this press release on the acquisition or this info on the Siemens PLM-IDS partnership.

Leave it to the US Congress to come up with a goofy name for a tax plan, but that’s what they did.

Congress passed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act on Dec. 18, 2015. It was a tax extension package covering depreciation-related rules.

The end of 2017 is the final time to claim 50% depreciation on purchases up to $500,000. The bonus depreciation percentage is 50 percent for items placed into service during 2015 through 2017, but then phases down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.

Sherpa Design, our affiliate company, is pleased to announce the addition of a cutting-edge Carbon M2 3D printer to its roster of fabrication equipment.

With this investment Sherpa Design joins a select group of Carbon M2 owners, becoming one of the first companies in the beautiful Pacific NW to offer Carbon parts.

With the recent acquisition of Netherlands-based TASS International, Siemens is keeping its eye squarely on the automotive industry and ongoing trends toward autonomous driver systems.

The plan is to integrate TASS’s simulation software with Siemens’ Simcenter portfolio. TASS’s electronic design automation (EDA) solutions will be combined with another recent EDA acquisition, Mentor Graphics. Siemens bought Mentor Graphics for $4.5 billion earlier this year in its biggest industrial software acquisition to date.

Siemens hopes the combination frontloads the verification and validation of assisted and autonomous driving systems, providing customers with the world’s most complete product development offering for autonomous vehicles.

The company’s tools focus on several key areas:

As part of its ongoing push into hyperloop systems, SpaceX held its 2nd annual Pod design competition for student teams. The winner this year was WARR, hailing from the Technical University of Munich, whose pod clocked in at an impressive speed of over 201 mph.


A post shared by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

As you can see from the post, that’s a relatively short track at one mile. Nonetheless Elon Musk raved about the result, and then, being Elon Musk, immediately said that with some work the pod should be able to hit 300+ mph.

The WARR pod keeps the pounds off with its carbon fiber build, and in the depressurized tube, the light weight brings its ability for high speeds.

One of the other teams in the competition was the Badgerloop from the University Wisconsin-Madison. Siemens PLM Software has a great interview with them and uncovered many great nuggets including their dedicated analysis methods, their design-to-development process and their decision to build a Musk-sized pod.

We recently requested a review of our FEMAP support from one of our customers. In response, Srivatsa at LTK Engineering gave us a thorough look at their journey, first with using Ansys and eventually with switching to FEMAP. We hope others find this useful and along the way, learn that Applied CAx has some of the best FEMAP support available:

LTK has had a long history with using ANSYS, as the most experienced and prominent FEA experts have been using ANSYS for a while. One of our senior engineers used FEMAP once and really liked it, so we decided to pursue it as it was very compatible with various input files. The enhancement of the geometry engine was a huge plus.

As the use of commercial FEA software was somewhat new to LTK, the first reseller got the opportunity for selling 5 seats and also the maintenance account for all 5 seats. When I started working at LTK in 2013, my CAD and FEA skills from the auto industry helped us pursue more work and I also started using FEMAP extensively for FE modeling and analysis. From then our business has grown well and we have been using FEMAP for various forensic studies.

Our previous reseller was contacted for tech support on many occasions and it would take a lot of time for them to get back to us and sometimes tech support was provided by emails. This seemed very primitive to me. Matter of fact, before the tech support got back to me, I was able to troubleshoot using the FEMAP help system but as well, most of the time with Applied CAx’s YouTube channel. I really liked the way all the information was presented, so I subscribed to the channel.

I got to know that Applied CAx had webinars and hence registered for one, and from then on I have not missed any. I contacted Adrian Jensen to inquire about the maintenance account and I got a very good response from him which made me feel very confident of their services and I was able to take responsibility for a change of account with LTK management. I put together a presentation and showed the management the benefits of transferring the account and I was not confronted with any questions and eventually when the time came, I worked with Applied CAx’s sales person and transferred the maintenance account.

One more important aspect I liked was the availability of LS-DYNA and George Laird being an expert I thought would be big plus for us. I foresee the use of LS-DYNA a lot in our business in the future so I personally wanted LTK to have a one stop shop for all capabilities. I personally am trying to get registered for LS-DYNA training so that we get ready for our future.

As far as tech support is concerned, I have had fast and top quality responses. The awesome thing is, I get a lot of information during the support communication, also get the full concept and learn a lot. Even if the issue is very simple, I get quick response. If someone asked me about buying Siemens products and LS-DYNA, I will surely recommend Applied CAx for it.

Srivatsa Pradeep, MSME
Staff Consultant
LTK Engineering Services