Submitted by Richard Smith on March 21, 2011 - 09:28
What do get if you cross an electric vehicle with a wind turbine and a kite? The eco-friendly car Wind Explorer. Dirk Gion and Stefan Simmerer, the brains behind Wind Explorer, recently caught the attention of Popular Science and others when they successfully drove 5,000 km across Australia in their one-of-a-kind car.
Submitted by Richard Smith on March 16, 2011 - 15:44
Long time readers might remember when I covered jetpacks way back in August 2007. Also you might remember from that post that the jetpack, or rocket belt as it was originally known, hasn't really progressed much since it first flew (more like a 30 second hop) in 1961. It turns out that designing a flying machine compact enough and light enough to be worn as a backpack is a non-trivial - nay, near intractable - problem. Clearly lateral thinking is required, and that is exactly what the designers of the Jetlev Flyer employed to produce a water-powered jetpack.
Submitted by Richard Smith on March 7, 2011 - 10:06
Performing a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation on a detailed CAD model is no fun and, more importantly, it is often near useless. Why? Because given that an engineer has committed considerable time and effort to produce a detailed model ready for manufacture, I doubt they will be happy making additional model changes and the extensive rework that it will entail in response to the CFD results. Design for Manufacture (DFM) has been a successful and widely adopted strategy to reduce product manufacturing costs (bottom line improvement). However, such a focus on manufacturability in isolation from functional analysis and optimization (e.g., we can make a cheap airplane, but will it fly?) is missing a huge opportunity to provide enhanced functional capabilities for which customers are willing to pay a premium (top line improvement).
Rather than the Design for Manufacture mantra, I suggest a better approach is to adopt Design for Simulation, then Manufacture, where simulation could be any combination of stress analysis, CFD, etc.
Submitted by Richard Smith on March 1, 2011 - 09:42
Kenneth Wong's Virtual Desktop over at Desktop Engineering ran an interview in May 2010 with Blake Courter and Jeff Waters from SpaceClaim. Blake and Jeff suggested that adding a customized 3D model to an engineering contract bid significantly improved the bid's chance of winning a contract. They coined the term Bid Modeling to describe this process. I think this same idea can be extended to Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) consultancy contract bidding - let's call it CFD Bid Modeling.
For a new year, a new website design. If you are a regular visitor to our website you may have noticed some changes, at least I hope you have! Just in case you need some hints, how about a summary of the changes?
Submitted by Richard Smith on January 3, 2011 - 09:57
As well as dreaming up innovative ideas, small engineering companies and consultancies need access to cost-effective tools that let them explore, optimize, and validate their widgets. There are plenty of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) tools available, but CAD is not enough.
Submitted by Richard Smith on December 20, 2010 - 09:57
Larger companies often have great difficulty innovating at the product and service level. Often innovation in large companies is solely concerned with business process innovation, i.e., freeing up their rigid hierarchies to better manage their existing business processes. When it comes to new exciting products and services small companies are the engines of innovation in most industries.