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.


Our FEMAP customer, Sierra Nevada Corporation, delivered its first Dream Chaser spacecraft on January 25th. The spacecraft will undergo several months of testing at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in California.

The test campaign will help SNC validate the aerodynamic properties, flight software and control system performance of the Dream Chaser. All of this is in preparation for regularly delivering contracted cargo for NASA beginning in 2019.

As can be seen in photos, the Dream Chaser is remarkably smaller and more compact that the retired Space Shuttle. It can be towed behind a regular freight truck on a flatbed, and is approximately 30 feet in length in comparison to the Space Shuttle's 122 feet.

The data that SNC gathers from this test campaign will guide the final design of the Dream Chaser, which is scheduled to fly around six cargo delivery missions to and from the International Space Station by 2024. The spacecraft will be able to land glider-style on Earth, like the shuttle, and bring back science experiments and other items from the station. However its reaction control system thrusters are slated to burn ethanol-based fuel, which is not an explosively volatile material, nor toxic like hydrazine, allowing the Dream Chaser to be handled immediately after landing, unlike the Space Shuttle.

"Few would have imagined back in 2010 when President Barack Obama pledged that NASA would work 'with a growing array of private companies competing to make getting to space easier and more affordable,' that less than six years later we'd be able to say commercial carriers have transported 35,000 pounds of space cargo (and counting!) to the International Space Station," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, "or that we'd be so firmly on track to return launches of American astronauts to the ISS from American soil on American commercial carriers. But that is exactly what is happening."

As fellow simulation engineers and users of FEMAP, our engineers at Applied CAx wish SNC all the best in their testing phase because as our principal engineer always says, "validation is gold."

Learn about the latest industrial trends, and their implications on your business.

Do you have a data management platform where your team and suppliers can collaborate, allowing you agile design changes while maintaining your release deadlines? It's never been easier than right now to find, re-use and share accurate CAD data. Make smarter decisions and build better products while eliminating delays in your design processes.

Find out how to leverage product data management in your product lifecycle management environment and how it can eliminate costly errors and delays. In a half hour we’ll cover essential PDM capabilities that streamline your design release process and become your competitive advantage. We’ll cover these key benefits and more,

Managing Complexity with Solid Edge Design Management

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Pushing the cutting edge of nuclear power once again, congrats is due to our affiliated customer NuScale Power. The company has been the first to file design plans for a small modular reactor (SMR) with nuclear regulators.

In a major advancement of nuclear technology, NuScale asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Dec. 31st to approve the company’s SMR commercial power plant design. This is the first-ever SMR to be submitted to the NRC and marks a significant milestone for both NuScale and the power generation industry.

The application consisted of 12,000 pages of technical information. The initial review period will be two months, and the full review from the NRC is expected to take 40 months. NuScale expects the first SMR to be built in America and become operational in the early 2020s.

NuScale utilizes NX and Teamcenter for managing and tracking their data. After supplying initial seats of NX CAD, Applied CAx and Sherpa Design helped upgrade their Teamcenter instances and built new data workflows. NuScale's previous CAD software couldn’t handle assemblies and crashed too frequently, and those were the key drivers to use NX.

"We reached this tremendous milestone through the efforts of more than 800 people over eight years," said NuScale COO and CNO Dale Atkinson. "We have documented, in extensive detail, the design conceived by Dr. Jose Reyes more than a decade ago. We are confident that we have submitted a comprehensive and quality application, and we look forward to working with the NRC during its review."

NuScale's vision is for a new kind of nuclear plant: safer, smaller, scalable version of pressurized water reactor technology - a technology initially developed and tested at Oregon State University. NuScale's design offers the benefits of carbon-free nuclear power and reduces the financial commitments associated with giga-watt size nuclear facilities. NuScale's technology is also ideally suited to supply energy for district heating, desalination, and process heat applications.

NuScale is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and has offices in Corvallis, OR; Rockville, MD; Charlotte, NC; Richland, WA; and London, UK.