Congrats is due our FEMAP support customer, the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization. GMTO is on a bit of a hiring spree as their planned 2025 activation date comes closer.

We introduced some of their team into the world of FEMAP with access to our customized resources, including our popular Starting Fresh webinar which covers model organization; our Best Practices seminar that gives an excellent overview on key touchpoints within FEMAP; and our Principals of Vibration seminar covering various vibration-based analysis techniques.

The GMTO is part of a slew of telescopes slated to come online in the 2020s. Other telescopes underway include the succinctly-named Thirty Meter Telescope, the not-so-creatively-named European Extremely Large Telescope, and the okay-this-name-thing-is-getting-out-of-hand Overwhelmingly Large Telescope, which has since been cancelled and folded into the EELT project.

GMTO recently did a lengthy interview with, where they discuss the project, the team, the mirror casting process and their testing process. The GMT will be made of seven primary mirror segments, each 8.4 m (27.6 ft.) in diameter. According to Patrick McCarthy, Operations VP, that size is the magic size gleaned from hard-won lessons a few decades ago:

“What we leaned in the 1980s and ‘90s is that there’s a maximum size you can make any individual mirror; in practice, it appears to be about 8 or 9 meters in diameter. Some of that is set by the physics of glass and how uniformly you can allow it to cool without building up internal strains, and some of it is practical issues, such as how can you pick up a piece of glass that big and take it to a mountaintop without it breaking just by the fact of you lifting it and it sagging under its own gravity.”

The mirrors are made in small batches in Japan out of borosilicate glass, with very low thermal expansion and very uniform thermal expansion from piece to piece.

For the full article please visit

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.

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.

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 Simcenter 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 Simcenter 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.