EPA to Use ANSYS FORTE to Prove CAFE Standards Are Achievable

Are the upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards realistic or achievable? It’s something EPA has to first find out for itself. To do that, the Agency is using ANSYS FORTÉ, a package for simulating combustion engine activities.

According to the announcement released by ANSYS today, EPA plans to use FORTÉ software “to model in-cylinder combustion to develop an advanced test engine that will demonstrate fuel-saving and emissions-reducing technologies.”

ANSYS FORTÉ used to be a product of Reaction Design, based on San Diego, California. The product became part of the ANSYS portfolio when Reaction Design was acquired by ANSYS this January. Continue reading

Time for Manufacturing to Shed Old Image to Attract New Blood?

Bill Boswell, Siemens PLM Software’s senior director of partner strategy, thinks manufacturing has an image problem — one that poses a hindrance in attracting new blood.

“Dark, dirty, dangerous — that’s what most people’s perception of manufacturing is,” observed Boswell. “To convince students to go into manufacturing, we have to change that perception. That’s not what manufacturing is today.”

Boswell points to Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany, designed by architect Gunter Henn. Complete with polished hardwood floor and curved glass surfaces, the building looks more like a modern art museum or a high-tech firm’s headquarter than an automotive plant. “Not every plant is going to look like this one,” Boswell acknowledged, “but that’s what the future of manufacturing is — certainly not dark, dirty, and dangerous.” Continue reading

Adding Cognition, Machine Learning, and Prediction to Products: a Far-Fetched Dream or Worthy Endeavor?

Every year, at Congress on the Future of Engineering Software (COFES), industry leaders gather to discuss — and sometimes speculate on — characteristics and attributes of the tools and technologies next-generation engineers and designers might need. This year (COFES 2014, April 2014), in the track titled “Cognition?,” Engineering News Record‘s editor Tom Sawyer asked, “With the formation of the IBM Watson Group, we are at the early stages of deployment of what can thought of as applied cognition … What are the implications and opportunities for design and engineering?” Later, a roundtable discussion continued the talk: “[IBM] Watson’s combination of natural-language capabilities and an ability to generate hypotheses should be able to address big problems in fields such as customer relations, finance, healthcare, and R&D … What will machine cognition mean to engineering and design?”

In a room just a few doors down from Sawyer’s discussion group, Microsoft’s PLM Solutions director Simon Floyd hosted a track to discuss “Microsoft’s role in machine learning, predictive analytics, advanced decision-making, and the impact on design & engineering.” Another roundtable posed the possibility of “Swarms, Autonomous Devices, and Self-Programming Machines.” The summary read, “Design theory and concepts are emerging for these autonomous systems — particularly for swarms of multiple-specialty systems, and for systems that design systems. What types of tools will we need to do this? What’s our role once they have been set in motion? How do we build in safety? What don’t we know?” Continue reading

PTC: Not Your Father’s CAD Company

To be fair, PTC has been moving away from its mechanical engineering roots for quite some time, expanding into Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) with the 2011 acquisition of MSK Integrity and branching out even further with the Servigistics deal, which launched it into the service lifecycle management space.

With last December’s $112 million of ThingWorx, PTC set its sights on the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape, and if this week’s PTC Live 2014 event is any indication, it is it where PTC is directing its future. Beyond the launch of Creo 3.0 (details to follow later), the event was chock full of keynotes, customer presentations, and announcements in the SLM, embedded software, and IoT space, with very little talk of traditional CAD and PLM mechanical engineering software. Continue reading

HP Wants to Add a Splash of Color to Monochrome-Dominated Repographics

As enterprise customers start thinking about contract renewals, hardware leases, and IT costs, HP wants them to keep something in mind — color. In a yet-to-be-named product series that HP plans to launch in the second half of 2015, the company will deliver wide-format Inkjet printers with PageWide technology, capable of both monochrome and color printing. The upcoming offering will “disrupt the $1.3 billion production printing market currently dominated by monochrome light-emitting diode (LED) printers,” according to HP.

Even though PageWide uses water-based pigment ink, the printed output is expected to be water-resistant. That, HP believes, will be an attractive feature for engineering and construction crews working onsite, in weather-exposed, leakage-prone environments. Since the nozzle operations and the print head movement mimic the scanning technology, integrated scanner will be an available option for customers who desire it. The software bundled with the system will offer accurate on-screen representation of print results based on materials chosen by users (such as types of paper) and more efficient PDF file management. Continue reading