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87 acres of rough roads and engineering prowess are now open in Central Oregon. Daimler Trucks has developed a new testing ground in Madras after two years and nearly $19 million in investment.

The High Desert Proving Grounds will test the durability and fuel efficiency of Daimler Truck brands, including Freightliner. By locating the track near its Portland headquarters, it shows the truck maker's commitment to its Oregon engineering team.

Daimler is one of the largest users of NX, and for both simulation and mechanical engineers, the testing grounds should be an exciting proving center. As Applied CAx’s CAE expert always says, “validation is gold.” Seeing your designs and analyses get the shake-and-bake equivalent of 1.2 million road miles in just 6 months should help confirm usage of many engineering environments.

Evolving market opportunities for electronics companies.

In the coming years trends in automotive electronics, smart homes and the Internet of Things will transform the electronics industry. Engineers will be required to develop new products and solutions to meet evolving consumer needs.

Check out this infographic that highlights design opportunities and challenges for electronics companies. We end by providing PDFs detailing real world engineering teams improving efficiencies by up to 50%.

Modern jet engines are getting bigger and also lighter. For example, years ago it was common to use titanium or stainless steel as blade-out containment materials. These large diameter and thick rings can now be replaced by modern carbon fiber composites; however, manufacturing large diameter composites with tight tolerances is difficult.

One of the key challenges is maintaining tight tolerance during heating (curing) and cooling (mandrel removal) process. In a recent CFD project for a Tier 1 aerospace manufacturer, we used STAR CCM+ to simulate the thermal-flow process of cooling the composite mandrel down to room temperature. STAR was particularly suited for this project given its advanced polyhedral meshing technology coupled with a fast MPP thermal-flow solver (High Performance Computing (HPC)). Results in this CFD consulting project were verified against prior experience and hand calculations.

Available for our customers, we've created a new batch of FEMAP APIs. The new tools cover a range of uses from a variety of thermal load conversions, to a rigid body element independent node selector, to a measuring tool displaying distance graphically. We hope our customers find this useful. Not a customer yet? Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. via email or at (503) 962-0287.

And in exciting news for those who missed our API training course, we have created a new on-demand video course, "Learn the FEMAP API (Application Programming Interface) for Automation and Customization." Created by our FEMAP guru Adrian Jensen, the course is available for purchase on Amazon. Students receive access to 9 hours of video lessons, our spiral bound class notes, 13 workshops, and supplemental model files & resources.

Congratulations is due to our customer Consolidated Metco on their newest venture. The company has partnered with Protean Electric on an electric in-wheel drive system that provides hybrid-electric solutions for the medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets.

The ConMet/Protean in-wheel electric drive system will deliver a robust and efficient hybrid propulsion system designed for commercial trucks, tractors, and trailers. This will enable ConMet's OEM and fleet customers to address the continued tightening of safety and emissions regulations, increasing demands for improved fuel efficiency, weight and drivetrain packaging optimization. It also addresses trends with vehicle demands for long-haul and urban delivery. 

The jointly developed electric wheel end system is compatible with existing vehicles. Other goals for the product include vehicle packaging advantages, reduced complexity, and minimized drivetrain losses for truck, tractor, and trailer applications.

ConMet featured the new electrified hub in its booth at the MidAmerica Trucking Show March 23-25, 2017 in Louisville, KY.

 

As the CAM team looked at the project, they wondered, “What’s the best way to make that off-axis angled hole?”

The project was from cyclocross accessories maker, Gevenalle. Our machine team was making brackets for shifter conversion kits and had a production order of nearly 600 units.

The project had first gone to our mechanical engineering CAD team for modeling. It wasn’t a ground up design but a redesign from an existing model. Gevenalle came to us with high-quality scan data. From that data our design team created a whole family of parts, some for specific brake lever shapes and some for multiple types.

The design work was done in NX CAD to take advantage of NX’s surfacing and synchronous features. It’s reliable, it always works and it very rarely crashes. With synchronous features such as delete face and move face, you can reliably push and pull faces.

As things moved into the prototyping phase, the team created 2X prototypes. Creating these double-the-size units helped them get a feel for how surfaces were matching up, and allowed them to closely examine the fits.

Once we had fits we liked, the big CAM challenge was that off-angle hole in the shifters. That’s when the CAM team began to look at how to approach the production phase. The typical method would be to create an entirely new setup just for the one hole. But additional setups take a lot of time, and introduce a possibility for misalignment, which could turn into a lot of scrapped parts.

Optimizing the design using NX CAM, our machinists were the brains of the operation. Our programmer-machinist Pat Smith thought there might be a way to eliminate the extra setup. By rotating the part placement on the fixture and putting the fixture on our 4th axis, we could machine the part and drill the hole in the same setup. Using NX’s built-in simulation, he was able to prove this concept would work before making a single cut.

In the toolpath that was created, the cutter efficiently carves out sections at a time across the fixtures and in our NX CAM simulation video, you can see the drill makes its first angled cut around 00:40, avoiding the need for a new setup stage. In the end Pat was able to get the time per part reduced by around 30%.

The shifter brackets got their marching orders and shipped off. We look forward to working with Gevenalle on more of their products and projects. Founded in Portland, Oregon, Gevenalle utilizes the skills and enthusiasm of local racers who have design, mechanical and manufacturing backgrounds. They test and tune their products and ideas year-round, but focus mostly on the fall/winter weekends of cross season.

SLIDESHOW: Production process for Gevenalle cyclocross shifters

 

We've got a great group of upcoming events, webinars and trainings coming up.

 

Date Focus Type Name
04/20/17 NX CAM Webinar What's New in NX 11 for Manufacturing
04/24/17 FEMAP Training 4-to-5 day FEMAP training
04/27/17 Sherpa Design Trade Show Open house at Sherpa Design 4pm-7pm
05/04/17 FEMAP Webinar Weld Modeling and Analysis with FEMAP and NX Nastran
05/08/17 LS-DYNA Training 5-day LS-DYNA training

The STAR Global Conference is the annual celebration of STAR-CCM, where the software developer lays claim to being the leader in simulation engineering. Held March 6 - 8, 2017 in Berlin, leading industrial experts detailed how they use CFD and simulation engineering to shape the products of the future while solving some of the most difficult problems engineering has to offer.  

Attendees dove deep into the latest developments and applications of the software, and explored what’s needed to deliver "Better Designs. Faster." Attendees also got a look into the future of STAR-CCM+ within the new Siemens portfolio product, Simcenter.

CFD can be applied to almost any engineering problem, but its real value comes from the ability to improve a product or design through multiple design iterations.

George Laird 380pxWe spoke with our Principal Mechanical Engineer for Applied CAx, George Laird, PhD, PE,  about his observations on the conference. George utilizes STAR-CCM+ for a number of his CFD consulting projects.

"First off this was one of the best simulation conferences I’ve ever been to," said George.