Engineers at the University of Southampton have designed and flown the world’s first ‘printed’ aircraft, which could revolutionise the economics of aircraft design.

The SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft) plane is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) whose entire structure has been printed, including wings, integral control surfaces and access hatches. It was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer.

No fasteners were used and all equipment was attached using ‘snap fit’ techniques so that the entire aircraft can be put together without tools in minutes.

The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-metres wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent. The aircraft is also equipped with a miniature autopilot developed by Dr Matt Bennett, one of the members of the team.

Laser sintering allows the designer to create shapes and structures that would normally involve costly traditional manufacturing techniques. This technology allows a highly-tailored aircraft to be developed from concept to first flight in days. Using conventional materials and manufacturing techniques, such as composites, this would normally take months. Furthermore, because no tooling is required for manufacture, radical changes to the shape and scale of the aircraft can be made with no extra cost.

This project has been led by Professors Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan from the University’s Computational Engineering and Design Research group.

Professor Scanlon says: “The flexibility of the laser sintering process allows the design team to re-visit historical techniques and ideas that would have been prohibitively expensive using conventional manufacturing. One of these ideas involves the use of a Geodetic structure. This type of structure was initially developed by Barnes Wallis and famously used on the Vickers Wellington bomber which first flew in 1936. This form of structure is very stiff and lightweight, but very complex. If it was manufactured conventionally it would require a large number of individually tailored parts that would have to be bonded or fastened at great expense.”

Professor Keane adds: “Another design benefit that laser sintering provides is the use of an elliptical wing planform. Aerodynamicists have, for decades, known that elliptical wings offer drag benefits. The Spitfire wing was recognised as an extremely efficient design but it was notoriously difficult and expensive to manufacture. Again laser sintering removes the manufacturing constraint associated with shape complexity and in the SULSA aircraft there is no cost penalty in using an elliptical shape.”

SULSA is part of the EPSRC-funded DECODE project, which is employing the use of leading edge manufacturing techniques, such as laser sintering, to demonstrate their use in the design of UAVs.

The University of Southampton has been at the forefront of UAV development since the early 1990s, when work began on the Autosub programme at its waterfront campus at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. A battery powered submarine travelled under sea ice in more than 300 voyages to map the North Sea, and assess herring stocks.

Now, the University is launching a groundbreaking course which enables students to take a Master's Degree in unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) design.

This is the first scheme of its kind and from September 2011, postgraduates can take part in a one-year programme covering the design, manufacture and operation of robotic vehicles. The degree will cover marine, land based and pilotless aircraft, typically used in environments that are deemed unsafe or uneconomic, such as exploration under sea ice, or monitoring gas emissions from volcanic eruptions. NASA expects UAVs to become 'standard tools' in fields such as agriculture, earth observation and climate monitoring.

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    The entire structure of the plane was printed, including wings, integral control surfaces and access hatches. It was printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine.

Ford and TechShop have announced that Allen Park, Mich., is the home of TechShop Detroit, the communal fabrication studio where everyday inventors, from backyard tinkerers to tech-savvy engineers, can come and create their very-own homegrown innovations.

Set to open in Allen Park, Mich., TechShop Detroit is the culmination of a year's worth of collaboration between Ford and TechShop, the world's first and largest membership-based do-it-yourself (DIY) workshop enterprise that also has locations in California and North Carolina.

Ford is the first automaker to work with TechShop to open one of its centers, which offer creative minds of all kinds affordable access to tools, machinery and even "dream coaches" so they can design and develop prototypes of their latest inventions, both automotive and otherwise.

"We are excited to see what started as a simple idea and conversation between Ford and TechShop take physical form so quickly," said Bill Coughlin, president and CEO of Ford Global Technologies, the domestic auto industry's only internal intellectual property management and licensing group. "We want this space to inspire all inventive individuals and communities in and around Detroit to innovate and create."

Ford and TechShop first met up in spring 2010 at the largest DIY showcase, Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., where Ford was invited to display an open innovation app creation project that company researchers developed with University of Michigan students. That gathering helped ignite the duo's idea for TechShop Detroit, which was announced only a year ago at the first Maker Faire Detroit.  

Mark Hatch, TechShop CEO, is thrilled to see TechShop Detroit become a reality so quickly and envisions limitless possibilities for the location, especially considering its proximity to the Ford engineering campus, nearby universities and the downtown area. According to recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of under-35 college-educated creatives taking up residence in downtown Detroit is on the rise, bucking the city's overall population decline over the past 10 years.

"Detroit is a market area full of talented communities of makers, hobbyists, backyard mechanics and general tinkerers that continues to grow," said Hatch, who already has more than 1,500 TechShop members registered at his California and North Carolina workshops. "We are excited to open TechShop Detroit and continue our collaboration with Ford to offer an affordable place to go that has the necessary equipment and resources to make inventive ideas a reality."

With more than $1 million invested in high-tech equipment alone, TechShop Detroit will feature everything from top-quality prototyping tools and industrial-grade sewing and textile equipment to laser cutting, welding and machine shop-type gear.

TechShop Detroit will be located in the Fairlane Business Park at 800 Republic Drive in a Ford Land-owned property.

Hub of ideas

The official arrival of TechShop to Detroit is also fueling another vision that Ford Global Technologies hopes to bring to life just as quickly and at the same address — a first-of-its-kind intellectual property exchange and technology showroom where everyday inventors, industry insiders, universities and research labs can display and even license their automotive innovations and other ideas.  

"This showroom idea can be considered TechShop 'Plus,'" said Coughlin. "It will be an open meeting place that will enable inventors to showcase what they create in TechShop and then negotiate, network and even sell their idea to players in the automotive industry, from manufacturers and suppliers to research institutions and startups."

The Innovation Exchange concept is a brick-and-mortar extension of the Detroit-based AutoHarvest Foundation, a new non-profit organization set up by several respected automotive executives to help connect the auto industry with metro Detroit's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ford Global Technologies, along with other automakers, suppliers, universities and research centers actively support AutoHarvest.

What's unique about the AutoHarvest connection, said Coughlin who serves as chairman of the group's Innovation Advisory Council, is that it gives the technology exchange showroom concept and those that use it an established collaborative and secure online platform where intellectual property is shared but also properly protected.

"Selling your technology can be difficult and daunting," he said. "The Innovation Exchange is all about helping spread the word about the innovation occurring inside Tech Shop, giving the creator the foundational resources they need to understand how to sell and commercialize their idea and connect with the right players while protecting their intellectual property."  

Managed by AutoHarvest, the Innovation Exchange would be open to the entire automotive community as well as individual makers in other industries, empowering the crowd to help create and bring to market the next must-have technologies.

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    TechShop Detroit will feature everything from top-quality prototyping tools and industrial-grade sewing and textile equipment to laser cutting, welding and machine shop-type gear.

Published in Ford Motor Company

Tiny aerial vehicles are being developed with innovative flapping wings based on those of real-life insects.

Incorporating micro-cameras, these revolutionary insect-size vehicles will be suitable for many different purposes ranging from helping in emergency situations considered too dangerous for people to enter, to covert military surveillance missions.

Supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, world-leading research at the University of Oxford is playing a key role in the vehicles' development.

Dr Richard Bomphrey, from the Department of Zoology, is leading this research, which is generating new insight into how insect wings have evolved over the last 350 million years. "Nature has solved the problem of how to design miniature flying machines," he says. "By learning those lessons, our findings will make it possible to aerodynamically engineer a new breed of surveillance vehicles that, because they're as small as insects and also fly like them, completely blend into their surroundings."

Currently the smallest of state-of-the-art fixed-wing unmanned surveillance vehicles are around a foot wide. The incorporation of flapping wings is the secret to making the new designs so small. To achieve flight, any object requires a combination of thrust and lift. In manmade aircraft, two separate devices are needed to generate these (i.e. engines provide thrust and wings provide lift), this limits the scope for miniaturising flying machines.

But an insect's flapping wings combine both thrust and lift. If manmade vehicles could emulate this more efficient approach, it would be possible to scale down flying machines to much smaller dimensions than is currently possible.

"This will require a much more detailed understanding than we currently have of how insect wings have evolved, and specifically of how different types of insect wing have evolved for different purposes," Dr Bomphrey says. "For instance, bees are load-lifters, a predator such as a dragonfly is fast and manoeuvrable, and creatures like locusts have to range over vast distances. Investigating the differences between insect wing designs is a key focus of our work. These ecological differences have led to a variety of wing designs depending on the task needing to be performed. It means that new vehicles could be customised to suit particular uses ranging from exploring hostile terrain, collapsed buildings or chemical spills to providing enhanced TV coverage of sports and other events".

Dr Bomphrey and his team lead the world in their use of both cutting-edge computer modelling capabilities and the latest high-speed, high-resolution camera technology to investigate insect wing design and performance.

Key to the work is the calculation of air flow velocities around insect wings. This is achieved by placing insects in a wind tunnel, seeding the air with a light fog and illuminating the particles with pulsing laser light - using a technique called Particle Image Velocimetry.

The team's groundbreaking work has attracted the attention of NATO, the US Air Force and the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development. The research is expected to produce findings that can be utilised by the defence industry within 3-5 years, leading to the development and widespread deployment of insect-sized flying machines within 20 years.

"This is just one more example of how we can learn important lessons from nature," says Dr Bomphrey. "Tiny flying machines could provide the perfect way of exploring all kinds of dark, dangerous and dirty places."

Dr Bomphrey is using his EPSRC-funded Fellowship to pursue this research. The fundamental aim of the work is to explore how natural selection has impacted on the design of insect wings and how these designs have been affected by the laws of aerodynamics and other physical constraints. "Evolution hasn't settled on a single type of insect wing design," says Dr Bomphrey. "We aim to understand how natural selection led to this situation. But we also want to explore how manmade vehicles could transcend the constraints imposed by nature."

EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences, investing more than £850 million a year in a broad range of subjects - from mathematics to materials science, and from information technology to structural engineering.

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    Incorporating micro-cameras, these revolutionary insect-size vehicles will help in emergency situations considered too dangerous for people to enter, to covert military surveillance missions.

Published in EPSRC

Delcam reseller Trimech Manufacturing is to hold two webinars on feature-based machining during August.  The first webinar, to be held on 3rd August, will cover the stand-alone FeatureCAM programming software, while the second, on 10th August, will feature Delcam for SolidWorks, the integrated CAM system for SolidWorks.  By watching both webinars, companies will be able to compare the stand-alone and integrated approaches to CAM programming.

FeatureCAM was the world’s first feature-based programming system when it was launched in 1995.  Constant improvement since then has ensured that the program has retained its leadership in programming speed and ease of use.  The rate of development has accelerated since FeatureCAM was added to the Delcam range in 2005, in particular through the incorporation of strategies for high-speed and five-axis machining from Delcam’s flagship PowerMILL CAM system.

The FeatureCAM family now offers a comprehensive range of programs for milling, turning, wire EDM and mill-turn, all with the same easy-to-use interface style to minimise training times.  The software incorporates a unique combination of feature-based and knowledge-based functionality that makes programming faster and easier than any other CAM system.

Delcam for SolidWorks combines the benefits associated with PowerMILL and FeatureCAM.  The software offers PowerMILL’s exceptional speed of toolpath calculation, plus the advanced strategies for high-speed and five-axis machining, to ensure increased productivity, maximum tool life and immaculate surface finish.  At the same time, Delcam for SolidWorks has the same strong focus on ease of use as FeatureCAM, including all of the knowledge-based automation that makes that system so consistent and reliable.

Delcam for SolidWorks is fully integrated into the SolidWorks environment so that the program looks and behaves like SolidWorks.  It offers full associativity so that any changes in the CAD model are reflected automatically in the toolpaths.  However, this associativity is more intelligent than that offered in many other integrated CAM systems.  Delcam for SolidWorks does not simply modify the existing toolpaths but also reviews the choice of cutting tools and machining strategies, and changes them if necessary.

Both FeatureCAM and Delcam for SolidWorks incorporate Delcam’s industry-leading machining algorithms.  These are continuously developed by Delcam’s development team, the largest in the CAM industry, and are used by around 40,000 organisations worldwide.

TriMech was created twelve years ago to provide complete mechanical engineering software solutions for the Mid-Atlantic region.  Covering a territory that spans the East Coast from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, the company has provided solutions for over 1300 customers and in excess of 4000 users to date.

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    The first webinar, to be held on 3rd August, will cover the stand-alone FeatureCAM programming software, while the second, on 10th August, will feature Delcam for SolidWorks.

Published in Delcam

With more than three months to go before North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event opens its doors, FABTECH 2011 is already expected to be the  largest ever.  Returning to Chicago’s McCormick Place, Nov. 14-17, 2011, the event will offer four full days of activities and provide its projected 32,000 attendees with unlimited opportunities to network, learn and see the latest metal fabrication products and technologies.

According to John Catalano, FABTECH show manager, all signs point to this being a great event.

“Registration is up and we are on track to fill nearly a half million net square feet of exhibit space with more than 1,200 exhibitors,” says Catalano.  “The interest in this year’s event is a positive sign that our industry is alive and thriving.”

Visitors will see thousands of pieces of equipment in action on the show floor and more than 500 new product debuts.  In addition to the exhibits, FABTECH 2011 will also present more than 100 educational sessions on the latest trends in cutting, finishing, forming and fabricating, stamping, tube and pipe, and welding, as well as courses for managers.  The complete lineup can be viewed at

Other featured events include a keynote on Growing Your Business Through Innovation, a State of the Industry panel discussion and highly anticipated sessions on reshoring and how to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and create jobs.  A new Buyer Appreciation Day has also been added this year and will allow attendees to take advantage of exhibitor show specials and win prizes.

FABTECH is co-sponsored by five industry-leading associations: the American Welding Society (AWS), the Fabricator’s & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI).

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    The event will offer four full days of activities and provide its projected 32,000 attendees with opportunities to network, learn and see the latest metal fabrication products and technologies.

Published in FABTECH

ROMER Inc., a brand of Hexagon Metrology Inc, announced today the launch of CMS108, a high-precision, non-contact laser scanner available for their portable coordinate measuring machines. The newest option in ROMER’s laser scanning portfolio, the CMS108 is the most adaptable and adept at scanning a wide range of materials with enhanced sensitivity to color and surface finishes. Its improved accuracy makes it attractive for inspection and reverse engineering applications where laser scanners have been unable to meet tight tolerances. The CMS108 mounts with a kinematic joint to the seven-axis ROMER portable CMMs, which include the Absolute Arm SE and the Infinite 2.0 SC Arm.  

The CMS108 is the most precise laser scanner offered by ROMER with an accuracy of 20 microns, which is a 16% gain in accuracy over previous scanning solutions.  In addition, the device was engineered for applications with a wide variety of color and surface finishes.  Flying dot technology allows the laser scanner to rapidly detect changes in color and surfaces via their reflectivity.  An operator can scan traditionally difficult finishes, including shiny and mirrored surfaces, without making manual exposure adjustments.  The laser scanner can transition from matte to shiny features without additional calibration.  With 3 different line widths and differing point densities, the CMS108 is able to perform inspection routines on small intricate parts and large surfaces.

“The CMS108 is the perfect addition to our portable scanning portfolio,” states Eric Hollenbeck, Hexagon Metrology’s Product Manager for portable products, ”With versatility and an exceptional data collection rate, we now offer an incredibly accurate scanner capable of inspecting different consecutive surfaces on the fly with no adjustments.  The CMS108 system integrates our industry leading Scanning System Specification which specifies and calibrates the arm and scanner as a single unit.  Although any organization with portable metrology requirements could potentially benefit from this technology, typical users include those in the automotive, aerospace, medical, rail, and energy production industries.  The addition of the CMS108 to our lineup demonstrates Hexagon Metrology’s commitment to offering the customer unrivaled choice in portable metrology.”

The CMS108 is currently available for the seven-axis Absolute Arm SE with measuring ranges of 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, and 4.5 meters. The sensor can also be added as an upgrade to the seven-axis Infinite 2.0 SC Arm. Both products are produced in the new, state-of-the-art facility in Oceanside, California.

Hexagon Metrology serves the high precision measurement and inspection needs of worldwide manufacturers with its extensive line of metrology hardware, software, accessories and customer services. The company's name-brand portfolio of quality assurance products include Brown & Sharpe, Cognitens, Leica Geosystems, ROMER, Sheffield, PC-DMIS, DEA, Leitz and TESA. Hexagon Metrology has an unrivaled installed base of more than 1.5 million handheld, stationary and portable measurement devices, and over 35,000 seats of PC-DMIS metrology software.

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    The CMS108 is the most precise laser scanner offered by ROMER with an accuracy of 20 microns, which is a 16% gain in accuracy over previous scanning solutions.

Published in Hexagon Metrology

NewTek, a worldwide leader of 3D animation and video products, announced LightWave™ 10.1, the latest version of its Emmy® Award-winning 3D modeling, animation, visual effects and rendering software, is now available. With powerful advanced modeling and animation tools designed to integrate into any production pipeline, LightWave 10.1 offers a new off-axis stereoscopic camera rig option, improved Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR), advanced import and export capabilities, including MDD and integrated Autodesk® Geometry Cache support, a new Skin Shader node, and more. Artists count on the features of LightWave to deliver stunning results.

"We're using LightWave 10.1 for everything-from lighting and shading, to working on material from other pieces of software, as well as just producing everything in it-from start to finish," explains John F. K. Parenteau, managing producer at Pixomondo Los Angeles in Santa Monica, California. Pixomondo is currently using LightWave in the creation of Steven Spielberg's new TV series "Terra Nova," slated to premiere this fall. "LightWave provides a very fast turnaround for us. It has become a great tool, particularly with its new capabilities," explains Parenteau.

New Features Provide Impressive Results
LightWave 10.1 enhances creativity with new stereoscopic features that provide access to all major stereo camera rigs, and the ability to dynamically correct for toe-in distortion in the animation pipeline. Additional stereo enhancements include interactive OpenGL off-axis adjustment of the right and left camera planes, click-and-drag convergence point adjustment in the viewport, and the ability to disable the anaglyph representation of the stereo camera in OpenGL. Also in LightWave 10.1, interocular and convergence points can be dynamically animated over time to track stereo changes within a shot.

The LightWave VPR allows artists to directly interact and easily adjust lights, textures, volumetrics and more, within the viewport. Artists can also use the VPR to view updates, quickly deliver realistic, environmental walkthroughs, and perform virtual location scouts. LightWave 10.1 extends the functionality of the VPR with the support of clip maps in the VPR render, the addition of object and distance dissolve, and improved nodal shaders like the new Skin material node that works with the VPR. The Skin Shader node uses a proprietary model for subsurface scattering for an easier method of replicating realistic skin textures.

LightWave 10.1, with integrated Autodesk Geometry Cache Support gives artists the ability to include or exclude models, morphs, animations, cameras and lights, upon export. Other workflow features in LightWave 10.1 offer the ability to import joints as LightWave bones for greater compatibility with other programs; multi-threaded mesh evaluation optimization and sub-d mesh freezing acceleration; linear color space workflow improvements, including new support for .ICC/.ICM monitor profiles, and more. Additional LightWave 10.1 features include:

* Virtual Studio Tools-supports InterSense Virtual Camera Tracking System (VCam™) and 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator™ 3D mouse, allowing interaction with models and scenes in real time
* FiberFX™-hair and fur shader now supports VPR and includes improved speed, stability and displacement handling
* Linear Color Space Workflow-supports custom Look Up Tables (LUTs) for more realistic lighting and compositing flexibility, color space correction for HyperVoxels™,  XYZ, Lab, RGB and CMYK data, and more
* Updated User Interface (UI)-interactive channel sliders, added control for custom colors, and numerous workflow enhancements deliver a more dynamic user experience

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    LightWave™ is a 3D modeling, animation, visual effects and rendering software program.  There is a free 30 day trial available.

Published in NewTek

TiE Ohio, the Ohio chapter of The International Entrepreneur, is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 TiE International Entrepreneur Awards. The awards were created to recognize the achievements of international entrepreneurs helping to reshape and rebuild Ohio's business landscape and to highlight how international entrepreneurs contribute to the local economy. The 2011 TiE International Entrepreneur Awards provide awards in 4 categories:

* Immigrant Entrepreneur Award <$5M. This award recognizes an entrepreneur who was born outside the U.S., started his or her company in Ohio, and the business currently generates annual revenues under $5M). Finalists are Laura Bennett (Embrace Pet Insurance), Dr. Charu Ramanathan (CardioInsight), and Bahman Taheri (Alphamicron).

* Immigrant Entrepreneur Award >$5M. This award recognizes an entrepreneur who was born outside the U.S., started his or her company in Ohio, and the business currently generates annual revenues above $5M). Finalists are Saji Daniel (Tradex), Stella Moga-Kennedy (Le Chaperon Rouge), and Alex Sonis (AVADirect).

* Global Entrepreneur Award. This award recognizes an entrepreneur, either foreign-born or local-born, who started his or her company in Ohio and has a global presence today). Finalists are Yuval Brisker (TOA Technologies), Dr. Mehran Mehregany (Nine Sigma), and Rini Das (Pakra).

* International Student Innovator Award. A new award this year, this award recognizes an international student currently enrolled at a higher education institution in Ohio (or graduated within the past year) who has shown leadership and entrepreneurial spirit. Finalists are Lingxiao Xue from CWRU (Chinese Student Housing Program), Kshitij C. Jha from the University of Akron (BienaTech), Mdrakibul Islam from the College of Wooster (Global Prospects) , and Abdullah Alkhaddah from Kent State University (H.O.M.E. Markets).

Award criteria considered in selecting the finalists include business success (revenue generated, capital raised, jobs created, progress with international vendors, entering new markets), impact and leadership in the Ohio community, and the innovation and creativity demonstrated in the and structuring the business. The Finalists will be profiled in the September issue of Inside Business Magazine.

Winners of the awards will be announced at the award ceremony on September 20, 2011 at Windows on the River starting at 5pm. Successful international entrepreneur Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, President & CEO of Quality Electrodynamics, will deliver the keynote speech at the ceremony.

Jeanette Grasselli Brown and Dr. Anthony Yen will be honored by receiving the Community Catalyst Award at the ceremony to recognize their efforts in creating global connections for the region.

The International Entrepreneurs (TiE) is an organization of entrepreneurs who connect, network, and mentor globally to create the next generation of successful entrepreneurs. Founded in Silicon Valley by immigrant tech entrepreneurs, TiE has 57 chapters around the globe. TiE is now the world's largest organization for fostering entrepreneurship; its members include some of the world's most well-known entrepreneurs such as Gururaj "Desh" Deshpande and Vinod Khosla. TiE Ohio, a statewide chapter, is the 50th chapter of the global TiE network. It fulfills a critical niche in Ohio's business development landscape by focusing specifically on immigrant and minority entrepreneurs within the region, and by encouraging other such entrepreneurs to consider Ohio as a place to launch their new businesses. TiE Ohio provides focused support to entrepreneurs through mentoring, business education programming, and a business venture competition (TiEQuest).

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    The International Entrepreneurs (TiE) is an organization of entrepreneurs who connect, network, and mentor globally to create the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.

Published in NineSigma

FISHER/UNITECH, a provider of product lifecycle management solutions and leading SolidWorks reseller, today announced the grand opening of its new office space in Cincinnati, Ohio, in support of the company’s growing customer base.

“We are thrilled with our new space in Cincinnati, Ohio, that more than doubles what we had in Dayton,” said Tom Miller, Director of Sales at FISHER/UNITECH. “This move positions our team to deliver better service to our customers in Southwest Ohio and Kentucky.”

FISHER/UNITECH’s new office boasts 2,500 square feet and is located at 11260 Chester Road, on the sixth floor of the Spectrum Office Tower at the junction of I-75 and I-275. The state-of-the-art training room can accommodate up to ten students for SolidWorks 3D CAD classes.

A Grand Opening event is planned for Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, and will run from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. Prospects and customers alike are invited to meet local FISHER/UNITECH and SolidWorks staff, test drive SolidWorks 3D CAD, SolidWorks Simulation, SolidWorks Enterprise PDM or 3DVIA Composer software and grab a bite to eat. Product presentations will be available as well as the opportunity to mix and mingle with current customers to learn more about local successes working with SolidWorks products and FISHER/UNITECH. Details and online registration for the Grand Opening event can be found on FISHER/UNITECH’s website.

FISHER/UNITECH, established in 1993, provides Product Lifecycle Management solutions to discrete manufacturing companies. The company's focus is on process improvement for product development. Process improvement is obtained through the integration of advanced software solutions to replace legacy systems. The applications are focused on design, engineering and manufacturing. Professional services are offered for design automation and data management which provides customers with a full service, one-stop source for complex PLM systems. The company offers advanced web-based delivery of education programs with its interactive, instructor-led 3DU.

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    A Grand Opening event is planned for Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011, and will run from 10:00am - 2:00pm.


Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), has named Pankl Aerospace Systems as the July 2011 Autodesk Inventor of the Month, in recognition of the company’s use of Autodesk software to more effectively manufacture helicopter rotary systems, increasing the performance and reliability of critical components and improving pilot and passenger safety.

Pankl creates 3D renderings of rotary system parts using Autodesk Inventor LT 3D mechanical CAD software, and then virtually runs the digital components through their multistep manufacturing processes — from boring a hole into a drive shaft to applying heat treatments to an engine shaft. This digital process helps verify that the parts adhere to precise performance standards at every stage of manufacturing, thereby confirming the integrity of the finished part.

“With Autodesk Inventor LT, we’re documenting and visualizing every step of the manufacturing process with more confidence and efficiency than ever before,” said Jonathan Charbonnet, manufacturing engineer at Pankl. “Autodesk Inventor LT enables us to review designs for our customers and proactively identify all the things that may cause problems during manufacturing.”

The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) working with Pankl typically provide 3D models of the required parts. Pankl then imports the design model into Inventor LT — regardless of the CAD package used to create it — renders the part in 3D, and then digitally tests the manufacturing processes prior to progressing to the manufacturing phase. Inventor LT also enables Pankl to document processes by creating accurate 2D drawings, which can be applied to work instructions to better communicate design intent to the shop floor.

Embracing 3D With Seamless Access to 2D

Autodesk Gold Partner KETIV Technologies was instrumental in helping Pankl embrace Digital Prototyping and stay current with an industry moving increasingly toward model-based definitions. By switching to 3D modeling software like Inventor LT, Pankl can meet the needs of OEMs much more efficiently and better serve its customer base.

While Pankl uses Inventor LT for all new projects, it is still able to access years of DWG drawings, helping the company to respond more quickly, for example, to requests from OEMs for replacement parts on older model helicopters. The company captures 2D geometry from the past drawings with AutoCAD LT 2D drafting and detailing software, imports it into Inventor LT, where it can then reuse the data to quickly and easily clean up any errors — reducing rework and streamlining turnaround time for delivering replacement parts.

“Pankl is using Inventor LT to save time and reduce its manufacturing costs, all while increasing quality for its customers,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “With Digital Prototyping in place, manufacturers like Pankl can operate at the highest level of performance.”

Headquartered in Cerritos, California, with operations in the United States and Europe, Pankl Aerospace is serving the global aerospace market as a Tier One supplier for transmission components, engine shafts, refueling tubes and landing gear parts for fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

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    Pankl Aerospace Systems as the July 2011 Autodesk Inventor of the Month, in recognition of the company’s use of Autodesk software to more effectively manufacture helicopter rotary systems.

Published in Autodesk

VISTAGY, Inc., a leading provider of industry-specific engineering software and services, announced the results of its composites engineering benchmarking survey entitled, “How Does your Composite Design Process Compare to Industry Best Practices?” The study revealed only 56 percent of the composite design companies surveyed considered themselves knowledgeable in composites manufacturing practices and applied that knowledge during design. That implies that 44 percent of companies need to enhance their knowledge of the manufacturing process if they want to improve their competitiveness.

VISTAGY invites all composite design and manufacturing companies to participate in our extended survey and receive a complimentary copy of the report by going to:

The survey report is comprised of 140 responses across multiple industries, most prominently aerospace, automotive, and wind energy. Other relevant demographics of the respondents include region (65 percent US, 25 percent European, 10 percent Asian), and annual revenue of their companies (24 percent over $1B and 37 percent under $50M).

Goals for companies designing with composites varied, with 81 percent looking to reduce weight, 69 percent seeking to improve strength-to-weight ratios, 51 percent attempting to combine multiple parts, 25 percent seeking to extend product life, and 31 percent striving to lower maintenance costs.

The primary goal achievement metrics provided perhaps the most important results of the survey because they speak to the reasons that engineers adopt composites. The report states that, “Achieving these goals provides insight into the maturity of the company processes, domain expertise, and overall tool implementation and use. Any company that scored high here should be considered a high performing practitioner of composites engineering.”

In this context, best-in-class companies:

* Average combining six or more parts into one (10 percent actually combine 10 or more parts, while 34 percent of companies lag others by treating composites as black metal and only replacing parts at a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio)
* Reduce maintenance costs (and likewise improve quality and extend product lifecycles) by 30 percent or more by taking advantage of inherent material properties
* Reduce weight by 30 percent or more with a full 34 percent beating their weight reduction goals.  

“We conducted this study to enable our customers and others in the composites industry to understand where they stand compared to their peers and how they could improve their performance,” said Bruce Boes, vice president of product management and marketing for VISTAGY. “One thing that really stood out was that companies with best-in-class performance had a high correlation to the maturity of their processes. These companies also made the decision to invest in design resources and were more interested in achieving part cost targets than actually lowering their part costs, a major breakthrough in designing to take full advantage of all of the benefits of composites technology.”

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    The survey report is comprised of 140 responses across multiple industries, most prominently aerospace, automotive, and wind energy.

Published in Vistagy

Continuing its partnership and increasing student opportunities with the Savannah College of Art and Design Industrial Design department, Kids II recently completed its third annual product design program and contest with the university. With guidance from the Kids II design team and SCAD professor and associate chair of Industrial Design Jesus Rojas, students had the opportunity to collaborate with one of the world’s fastest growing infant and toddler product companies in one of two 10-week interactive courses to develop new concepts for the company’s toy and gear product lines.

Twelve SCAD industrial design students—six from the toy class and six from the gear class—earned top honors with their innovative projects and were selected to travel to the company’s offices and facilities in Hong Kong and China.

Additionally, one student from the gear design class, Qing Xu, accepted a unique summer internship with Kids II in Guangdong, China where he will work directly with the Kids II International Product Development team. Furthermore, one student from the toy design class, Aaron Flores, will join Kids II as the newest full-time member of the toy design team in the U.S. corporate headquarters.

According to Jake Sclare, director of Platform Design at Kids II and who oversees the gear program, these top winners brought immense value to the program, fellow students and the company and are leaving a legacy with Kids II.

The leaders of the toy program share Sclare’s feelings on the students’ impact on the company, especially with the launch of its first toddler toy line. “The toy class was and will continue to be a key catalyst for ideas and growth as we develop and enhance the new toddler toy category,” says Brad Reese, who is the design manager for toy and supervisor of the toy program along with Charlie Mitchell, principal designer.

“Kids II received creative, fresh suggestions from these students while providing them with the opportunity to develop real-world concepts and designs that may one day appear in retail stores around the world,” adds Sclare. “We are looking forward to further developing and potentially adding these designs to the Kids II family of products.”

This design program and contest is the brainchild of design innovators and leaders at Kids II. They determine the criteria, objectives, safety requirements and collectively drive the process from start to finish.

“We are an innovative design-driven company always looking for the next generation of product ideas and talent,” says Ryan Gunnigle, president and CEO of Kids II. “SCAD has one of the strongest design programs and has some of the world’s next best design leaders. It only makes sense for us to leverage this talent in our backyard for their knowledge and for potential employment opportunities.”

During this program students receive unprecedented experience at Kids II, according to Rojas. “The Kids II design team dedicates their time and resources to truly educate and guide the students through the intensive design and engineering processes, adding unparalleled value to their education and experiences.”

In its third year, the program continues to be successful. Students have finished with robust portfolios and real-world experiences. In turn, Kids II has recruited well-trained employees and identified freelancers. Currently, the company employs six SCAD graduates in full-time positions and two interns.

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    “Kids II received creative, fresh suggestions from these students while providing them with the opportunity to develop real-world concepts and designs that may one day appear in retail stores”

Published in Kids II

AdamWorks, LLC, a global provider of advanced engineering and manufacturing solutions, is pleased to announce it has achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification, which demonstrates the organization's commitment to the design and manufacture of composite solutions to our customer's high quality standards. The ISO 9001 certification, which is the most widely recognized industry standard for quality management systems, assures customers of AdamWorks' adherence to documented processes and procedures that ensure continued and ongoing improvements in deliveries to its customers.

"Achieving ISO 9001:2008 certification is an important milestone for both AdamWorks and our customers," said Scot Allen, Chief Operating Officer of AdamWorks. "The certification process required a lot of hard work and demonstrates AdamWorks' continued commitment to our customers, the quality of our products, and our culture of continuous improvement."

ISO 9001:2008 applies to industries involved in the design and development, manufacturing, installation, and servicing of products. The ISO certification process ensures on-going compliance to standards of performance because, once certified, companies are externally audited annually for continuous execution of the standards.

Headquartered in Centennial, CO, AdamWorks is a global leader in innovative engineering and manufacturing solutions for multiple industries. Established in 2007 to provide composite design and prototyping solutions, AdamWorks now designs and manufactures complete composite and systems solutions for aerospace and defense, commercial transportation, and renewable energy customers on a worldwide basis.

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    ISO 9001:2008 applies to industries involved in the design and development, manufacturing, installation, and servicing of products.

Published in AdamWorks

Solidscape®, Inc., the leading manufacturer of high- precision 3D printers for lost wax casting and mold making applications, announces the hiring of CAD Cast Company, Ltd., as its representative in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. The company will be marketing the high-precision 3D wax printers to jewelry manufacturers and custom designers to support Solidscape's growth in Southeast Asia.

CAD Cast Co. brings many years of experience servicing the jewelry industry and its equipment needs in Southeast Asia. Its associates speak English, Thai and German providing the professional service CAD CAM equipment users find invaluable.

“This was an obvious choice for us.” Fabio Esposito, VP Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Solidscape remarks. “Their sales and service teams have the jewelry-making experience as well as the in-depth Solidscape product knowledge, making a tremendous difference for us in these very diverse countries.”

The Solidscape T76®plus and R66®plus printers for producing fully castable, high-resolution wax models use an additive technology called drop-on-demand (DoD) and employ the SCP© (Smooth Curvature Printing) technology that provides high-precision and accuracy. Both printers use the fully castable, proprietary plusCast™ and Indura®Fill materials that leave no residual ash, resulting in no shrinkage during the burnout process.

Solidscape®, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Stratasys, Inc. (NASDAQ: SSYS), is the leader in high-precision 3D printing systems for lost wax investment casting and mold making applications. Over the years, Solidscape has set the bar for the highest standards in surface finish, accuracy and material castability. Solidscape printers are marketed though a global network of distribution partners, and are used for casting fine jewelry, dental restorations, turbine blades, medical, orthopedics, consumer goods, electronics and many other high-preciison products.

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    The company will be marketing the high-precision 3D wax printers to jewelry manufacturers and custom designers to support Solidscape's growth in Southeast Asia.

Published in Solidscape

Renishaw has added a new probe option to its revolutionary REVO® five-axis measurement system, which for the first time, allows surface finish inspection to be fully integrated within CMM measurement routines.

With a measurement capability of 6.3 to 0.05 Ra, the SFP1 surface finish probe provides a unique ‘single platform' that will eliminate the need for hand-held sensors, or the necessity to move parts to costly dedicated surface finish measuring machines, reducing labour costs and inspection lead times. CMM users will now be able to automatically switch between part scanning and surface finish measurement, with analysis all contained in a single measurement report.

High quality surface finish data
As a fully integrated option for the REVO 5-axis measurement system, users of the SFP1 surface finish probe will benefit from a range of powerful features that will boost inspection speed and flexibility.

The probe incorporates a C axis, which combined with the infinite positioning capability of the REVO measuring head and a choice of styli, allows the probe tip to be automatically orientated to any angle to suit the part, ensuring that the highest quality surface data is acquired. The SFP1 is supplied with two dedicated styli, the SFS-1 straight stylus and SFS-2 cranked stylus, which are selected under full measurement program control using the REVO system's modular rack system (MRS). This enables flexible access to component features combined with the consistency of a fully-automated CNC methodology.

A skidded probe type with a 2 µm (0.000079 in) tip radius diamond stylus, the SFP1 surface finish probe outputs Ra, RMS and raw data formats to the metrology application client software via Renishaw's UCCServer software using the I++ DME protocol. The raw data can subsequently be presented to specialist surface analysis software packages for further detailed reporting.

Automated surface finish probe calibration
Calibration of the sensor is also automated and carried out within a CMM software programme. A new surface finish calibration artefact (SFA) is mounted on the MRS rack and is measured using the SFP1 probe. Software then adjusts parameters within the probe in accordance with the artefact's calibrated value.

Find out more about Renishaw's CMM probe systems and software, including a new CMM retrofit service.

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    The new probe allows surface finish inspection to be fully integrated within CMM measurement routines.

Published in Renishaw
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