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Articles from 2008 In February

Software/Hardware: Low-Cost HPC Platforms Enable More Widespread Simulation Studies

February 29, 2008
Dear Reader:

We are changing the name of this eNewsletter to Design Tools to better reflect our coverage of design software and hardware tools used in engineering. Look for our Design Tools eNewsletter in your inbox next month.

Thank you,
Beth Stackpole
Contributing Editor, Engineering Software/Hardware
Spotlight Story:
Low-Cost HPC Platforms Enable More Widespread Simulation Studies
Lower cost HPC solutions are providing a platform for mid-size companies to widely embrace the kinds of complex simulation studies that bring efficiencies to engineering. Full Story
Design Engineering Report: Develop Products Faster

Failures on rushed projects are often the catalyst for companies to investigate next-generation Computer-Aided-Engineering solutions. This report delves into the common mistakes those companies have made and offers recommendations to help your company unlock the power CAE. Click here to Download Report.
In the News:
Speedo Leverages CFD Simulation For Drag-Free Swimsuit Design
Computational fluid dynamics software helps Speedo achieve dramatic improvements in surface-friction and form drag for its high-tech swimsuit for the Beijing Olympics. Full Story
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 Doubles CAD Performance New high-end graphics board offers higher throughput for interactive visualization and improves the ability to handle large-size CAD models and complex shaders. Full Story
Blue Ridge Numerics Tunes CFD Tool for Wildfire 4.0
New version of the CFdesign thermal analysis environment supports PTC’s latest Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 4.0 upgrade and its CoCreate OneSpace 3D CAD tool. Full Story
Security System Calls Your Cell Using a small PIC microcontroller, an assembly program and a handful of other parts, Gadget Freak Bill Bowden has created a security system that calls you when an alarm is triggered. Full Story
Cool Software Tricks Wanted! Have you mastered your design tool to the point where you have some unbelievably clever workarounds or tricks that beg to be shared with other engineers? Use Design News as your vehicle to share those tricks and get some well-deserved recognition for your moment of genius. If you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve, we’d love to hear about them. E-mail us the details (600 words max), including documentation, artwork and supporting code.bstack@stackpolepartners.comEmail Your Trick

Videos from the Welland Canal - VIDEO The St. Lawrence Seaway's Welland Canal is a fluid-power masterpiece with modern hydraulics from Bosch Rexroth Canada. Watch this video footage taken from DN Editor-in-Chief John Dodge's day at the Welland Canal. Watch Now
Dive into Direct Digital Manufacturing - WEBCAST
In partnership with Stratasys
Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) or rapid manufacturing is taking place today. Knowing what DDM is and how to implement within your company is a competitive advantage in today’s manufacturing environment. Watch Now
Sponsored Technology Content
Tips and Tricks for Extending The Life of Your Cylinders In partnership with Bimba Manufacturing
Tom Kane of Mead Fluid Dynamics will offer best practices for environmental factors which evaluate the cylinders by operating environment which includes temperature, air quality and more, as well as choosing cylinder sizing depending on load, available air pressure and velocity. Watch Now

Tough Jobs: 50,000 Hours Life Specification In partnership with Groschopp
What affects the life of the motor? Long motor life to achieve tough specifications such as 50,000 hours of continuous operation requires a quality product and a detailed understanding of the application. Find out how Groschopp helped their client avoid expensive product recalls. Read More

Making Inertial Sensors Easy to Use - WEBCAST Part of Design News' new Sensor Solutions website!
Design News' Randy Frank tackles "Making Inertial Sensors Easy to Use" with his guest speakers Harvey Weinberg of Analog Devices and Per Slycke of Xsens Motion Technologies. Watch Now
The Latest Software/Hardware Resources Available:
Featured Vendor
Stratasys Pioneer, Innovator and Global Leader. Using it's patented FDMTM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology, Stratasys systems produce accurate 3D parts directly from 3D CAD files for use for design verification, through prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. Stratasys FDM systems use production-grade thermoplastics allowing you to match part properties with the material that fits your needs. View All Resources From Stratasys

Innovation in Manufacturing Microsoft | Web Event Ed Miller of CIMdata explains how other organizations are reaching better maturity levels through best practices in collaborative product development, along with the methodology behind CPD technologies that have skyrocketed collaborative teams into greater productivity and financial achievement. Attendees can access a one-year FREE trial of Microsoft Office Groove 2007!

Optimizing Automated Test Applications for Multicore National Instruments | White Paper LabVIEW provides a unique and easy-to-use graphical programming environment for automated test applications. However, it is its ability to dynamically assign code to various CPU cores that improves execution speeds on multicore processors. Learn how LabVIEW applications can be optimized to take advantage of parallel programming techniques.
View All Software/Hardware Resources

Low-Cost HPC Platforms Enable More Widespread Simulation Studies
Speedo Leverages CFD Simulation For Drag-Free Swimsuit Design
NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700 Doubles CAD Performance
Blue Ridge Numerics Tunes CFD Tool for Wildfire 4.0
Security System Calls Your Cell
DN's Latest Podcasts, Webcasts & Videos
Resource Center
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Beth Stackpole,
Contributing Editor

Thanks to the availability of lower cost, high performance computers and a flood of new CFD and simulation software, companies across all industries are riding the simulation wave. Case in point: Speedo is in on the act. What kinds of simulation studies is your company conducting? Drop me a line.

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Invention Machine In Sync With PTC Windchill

Invention Machine In Sync With PTC Windchill

Invention Machine, a provider of innovation software, has come out with a connector module to sync up with PTC’s Windchill PLM platform.

The new Connector to PTC Windchill module provides direct access to engineering content housed within Windchill for users working with Invention Machine’s Goldfire Innovator software. Goldfire which integrates a problem analysis workbench with a patented semantic knowledgebase, helps engineers and scientists put structure around the innovation process. The software can be employed to help with such steps as organizing ideas, researching prior patents, exploring potential new markets and competition as well as evaluating risk so the most lucrative ideas are capitalized on.

The addition of the Connector to PTC Windchill lets companies bring better ideas into the Windchill-based PLM processes, Invention Machine officials say, while also allowing Windchill users to leverage Goldfire Innovator to get the most out of an organization’s design content.

The bottom line of the partnership, according to officials in both companies: To help engineers deliver innovative products to market faster.

Boeing Completes 787 Barrel Testing

Boeing says it has successfully completed testing of the fuselage barrel, taking it to the 150 percent of load required for certification. Boeing also says it withstood more than 2.5G, which Boeing calls a “maneuver-condition maneuver,” and the resulting damage was less than expected.

TI Targets Handhelds with New Processor

Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI) said this week it will bring laptop-type performance to the handheld level as it rolls out a new series of OMAP processors based on the ARM Cortex-A8 core.

Known as the OMAP35x, the new processor family was announced at the TI Developers Conference in Dallas this week. It includes four devices and is said to be a big step forward for the giant semiconductor maker because it quadruples the performance of earlier devices. TI engineers said they expect the OMAP35x to appeal to makers of portable media players, in-car navigation systems, medical instruments and security systems as well as wireless handsets, which had been a prime application for earlier generations of the technology.

“We’re making this technology available to manufacturers in all sorts of industries, as opposed to just the wireless handset market,” said Gerard Andrews, OMAP marketing manager for TI.

Andrews said he expects the new devices to make their mark in applications transitioning from standard-definition video to HD and in displays making the switch from 2D to 3D graphics. He said it could also enable some products to upgrade from mobile-Internet browsing capability to full-Internet browsing.

Performance boosts are said to be key to OMAP35x’s new application set. The ARM Cortex-8A core developed by ARM Ltd. offers greater bandwidth and markedly improved instruction set processing over the old ARM9 cores. It accomplishes that through the use of a so-called “superscalar” core, which processes two instructions per clock cycle and with a larger data pipeline, which enables higher clock rates.

As a result, the OMAP35x devices offer a 600-MHz core, twice as fast as ARM9. They also achieve 1200 Dhrystone MIPS (millions of instructions per sec), which is four times the capability of earlier devices with ARM9 cores.

“With a faster clock and more functionality per clock cycle, you get a big boost in performance,” Andrews said. “That’s what gives you the fast, full Web-browsing experience and the ability to run laptop-type applications.”

Panasonic Process Allows Complete Electronics Recycling

A new recycling technology developed in Japan will allow recycling of 100 percent of all electronic appliance waste.

Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., widely known as Panasonic, has developed a recycling technology in which valuable metals can be safely recovered from plastic-coated wires and other electronics equipment waste. The process also uses technology from Kusatsu Electric Co. Organic compounds in plastics, notably carbon, are transformed into harmless gases using the catalytic properties of titanium oxide (TiO2).

The technology is in use now at the Matsushita Eco Technology Center (METEC) to recover copper from degassing coils covered with vinyl chloride tape found in CRT TVs. Mixed plastic waste previously incinerated is treated and changed into non-toxic gases at METEC. The method also helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions because little external energy source is required in the gasification process.

According to Panasonic, about 80 percent by weight of all collected home appliances in Japan is recycled into metallic and plastic materials. The remaining 20 percent is currently regarded as non-recyclable waste, e.g. rubber, mixed glass and mixed plastic waste.

A vintage mono cassette recorder

A vintage mono cassette recorder

Here’s a video of the Lloyd’s 8V84A Series 90 vintage cassette recorder dating from approximately 1968. Quite a treat for those who love ancient, low-fit audio electronics.

A sampling of consumer electronic gadgets

Here is a selection of recently released consumer gadgets. This video also includes examples of counterfeit products, showing how to detect the fakes.

Boeing delivers 1,400th 747

Boeing delivers 1,400th 747

Boeing this week announced shipment of its 1,400th 747. That’s hard to imagine. My first flight on the venerable jumbo jet was in 1972 from Chicago to Boston (United, I think). And the most recent one was last year from Boston to Frankfurt (row 55, the last where the seats don’t recline…very noisy behind the engines).

The 1,400th was a 747-400 Freighter delivered to GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) for lease to AirBridgeCargo Airlines, a subsidiary of the Volga-Dnepr Group, according to the press release.

Should suppliers lead the transition to pure tin?

Should suppliers lead the transition to pure tin?

Design Chain Associates, a company that helps manufacturers cope with environmental compliance has released an article from its partner DfR Solutions that looks at the state of pure tin in the electronics industry.

Here’s the opening to the article:

One of the greatest concerns during this transition to Pb-free electronics, and therefore Pb-free components, has been the supposed rapid and widespread adoption of pure tin plating as the solderability plating of choice. A number of questionable surveys have driven this belief, with some promoting that ‘pure’ tin has captured 75% or more of the market.

The response to this wave of tin-whisker susceptible components has been impressive. Numerous organizations have sprung up to either analyze (iNEMI, E4), inform (ELFNET, GEIA), or fight (NASA Tin Whisker Group) this potential reliability threat. Millions have been spent on testing, analysis, report writing, and, most importantly, material identification (have you bought stock in XRF companies?).

Why all this time, money, and effort? Because, supposedly, the electronics supply chain is backwards. Suppliers call the shots and the OEMs, especially those in Hi-Rel (telecom, industrial, military, avionics, medical, etc.), have no control over what goes in their product and out to the customer. Could we be more wrong? For more of the article, click here.

Resource Center: Free Materials/Fastening Information, Made Easy

February 28, 2008
Design News' Resource Center e-Alert provides design engineers fast and convenient access to the latest information - data sheets, design guides, CAD files, application notes, instruction manuals, reference designs and white papers - on technologies and products available on manufacturer sites.          
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Phillips Plastics Phillips Plastics has set the standard for injection molding services since 1964 with state-of-the-art technology, experienced staff, and collaborative partnerships resulting in unsurpassed quality and cost-savings. View All Resources from Phillips Plastics
Welding Aluminum: Aluminum extrusions help launch Ford GT Vendor:Hydro Aluminum | Type: Case Study | Category: Materials/Fastening The Ford GT is a car for the 21st century. Based on the legendary Ford GT of the 1960s, this new model is redesigned, re-engineered and re-launched for today's high-tech automotive market. Aluminum extrusions from Hydro Aluminum North America are key elements of this exciting new vehicle. Aluminum was chosen for its strength, light weight and cost effectiveness and it fit the cutting-edge image that Ford wanted.

When It Comes To Components, We Own Precision Vendor:Vlier | Type: product Brief | Category:Materials/Fastening Vlier components are high quality, low cost and in stock. Our High-Value Leveling Devices are Stud and Socket styles, Zinc/Gold Chromate and Stainless and Nickel options. Vlier-Lock Ball Lock Pins have T- and Button-handle configurations. For a complete catalog contact us at, or call 1-800-821-1090.
Featured Vendor
Solvay Advanced Polymers Solvay Advanced Polymers Technology. No matter what you're working on, you need a material that performs. After all, the material you specify this year will determine the success of your product next year and beyond. That's where Solvay Advanced Polymers can help. Whether you're looking to reduce weight or lower cost, improve durability or consolidate parts, you'll find Solvay to be an amazing resource of polymers and people with expertise. View All Resources from Solvay Advanced Polymers
Bolting Solutions Vendor:Superbolt | Type: Product Brief | Category:Materials/Fastening Superbolt Multi-Jackbolt Tensioners eliminate unsafe and time consuming bolting methods. Only hand tools are required for installation and removal of any size tensioner!
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