Expanding upon their already sizable Portland presence, Daimler Trucks announced they're opening a new Automated Truck Research and Development Center. The center will be at their company HQ on Portland's Swan Island industrial park, just down the road from Applied CAx's offices.

The center will spearhead a global network of hundreds of engineers, the company says, devoted to the field of automated driving. As a large user of Siemens PLM's NX, we look forward to their ongoing R&D engineering efforts in conjunction with Daimler Trucks locations in Stuttgart, Germany and Bangalore, India.

Our CAE support team made the trek last week to join 25+ engineers to look at upcoming features in FEMAP v12. The team says they're excited with upcoming features, with many "quality of life" items included to improve functionality and ease of use. As our FEMAP support engineer Brian Kolb said, "There were items that I was thinking about  just last week."

Scheduled for a mid-summer release, we're hoping to get our hands on a beta version soon. In the meantime we're happy to share a few photos and the slide presentation our FEMAP guru gave at the event: "Linear and Nonlinear Analysis with FEMAP and LS-DYNA."

To make sure you have the latest PLM software versions and have customized support, we offer maintenance contracts with our seats & licenses. This service allows you to optimize your team's use of your investment along with updated software versions.

Benefits include:

• Siemens PLM software updates: bug fixes, new software enhancements, ongoing feature improvements
• Siemens PLM software upgrades: major feature improvements, new technologies & methods
• Technical support from Applied CAx’s application engineers
• Personalized phone support of your team from our team
• Scheduled customer care visits
• Applied CAx web training seminars
• Access to Applied CAx’s library of online tutorials for FEMAP, NX CAD, and NX CAM
• Access to Applied CAx’s API libraries
• Siemens GTAC technical support

Possible precautionary tale for cutting-edge manufacturers

photo credit: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Tesla’s been under pressure for some time now. In order to justify huge expenditures, such as their $1.3 billion Gigafactory 1 in Nevada, the company set seemingly manageable goals for production of the Model 3 sedan. The company reduced its target down to 2500 vehicles a week, but has been clocking in at 2000 vehicles. This under delivery has caused jitters for both the company and its investors.

Recently however, some financial analysts pointed at a surprising possible source of the problem: over-automation on the factory line. In particular they called out the attempt to automate final assembly.

As longtime users and promoters of FEMAP, we're pleased to say that 2018 will see the release of FEMAP v12. New features and adjustments are still being documented, however we've heard that the major features will be in support of NX Nastran and all its new nonlinear features in SOL401. As well there will be support for NX Nastran’s new Topology Optimization module. In addition to these items, the development team constantly receives input from customers and they've added a large number of features to streamline the FEA process.

Effective March 27, 2018, the Autodesk Nastran solver is being discontinued. New sales and multi-year renewals are phasing out this year, with annual renewals being discontinued next year. Existing subscribers will have access to the technology until the end of their current contract.

We recommend all customers begin finding a replacement solver well before the end of their current contract. Siemens PLM remains committed to offering both perpetual licenses for NX Nastran as well as flexible FEMAP & NX Nastran subscription options, giving analysts a number of methods depending on their contractual needs.

For those who don't recall, NEi Nastran was an engineering analysis and simulation software product of NEi Software (formerly known as Noran Engineering, Inc.) Based on NASA's Structural Analysis program NASTRAN, NEi Nastran was used with all major industry pre and post processors including FEMAP, NEi Fusion, and NEi Works for SolidWorks. It was acquired by Autodesk in May 2014.

Getting up to speed on FEA tools is hard work, so to that end, Siemens now offers a free student edition of FEMAP.

FEMAP Student Edition comes with the pre- and postprocessor FEMAP, along with the NX Nastran solver, both a part of Siemens PLM Software’s Simcenter portfolio. Generally the simulation process starts with a geometric model, and within FEMAP you’ll be able to:

  • Access CAD data from almost any source
  • Clean up and idealize the geometry prior to meshing
  • Mesh the geometry to create the finite element model
  • Apply boundary conditions (loads and constraints) and manage analysis setup
  • Submit the model for analysis by NX Nastran
  • Review the calculated results data and evaluate the model behavior

Did we mention the hard work? Check out our introduction to modeling and analysis with FEMAP video. Also keep in mind that the FEMAP Student Edition is intended for academic work. Files created in the student edition can't be opened in commercial versions of FEMAP and structural model sizes are limited to 32,000 nodes. So don't stay up late at home cranking out your work files on your student edition!

When you’re ready to turbo-boost your skills, join Applied CAx at one of our popular hands-on FEMAP training sessions. Over the years we've seen every type of engineer benefit from our course, from first-time FEA users to people with 8+ years of experience.