Motorcycle riders are inherently exposed to the elements, and this can create issues in several different areas. Rain and sun can cause extreme discomfort, making travel unpleasant. More importantly, sleet, snow and rain can create dangerous road conditions, both by reducing visibility and decreasing traction. If an automobile crashes, there are major defenses protecting the driver and passengers. Motorcycle riders are far more vulnerable.
For these reasons, Roof For Two has used SolidWorks software to develop an affordable solution to minimize the effects of weather on motorcycle riders.
Roof For Two was founded by several Tufts University graduates last year with the goal of creating a method for reducing the risks of inclement weather on motorcycle riders in South Asia, where this is a particularly popular mode of transportation. By using SolidWorks simulation software, the company was able to design a collapsible, detachable roof that can offer protection to motorcycle riders.
"We've essentially created a sleek portable 'tent' that easily attaches to a motorcycle," said co-founder and head of product development David Chen. "When taking on a project like this, it's important to weigh all factors, including air flow. This consideration made SolidWorks Simulation a critical tool for us, as we determined how the product would stand up to wind, rain, and other drivers; it is the key to design integrity and safety."
The product is currently being tested and will likely hit the market next year.
SolidWorks and transportation
Roof For Two is not the first organization to utilize SolidWorks to improve transportation design. Orange County Choppers, a company that designs and builds customized motorcycles, has used the software ever since the success of the television show "American Chopper" led to a surge of orders.
"SolidWorks has become the backbone of our development effort because everything revolves around the SolidWorks model," said senior designer Jason Pohl.
Computer-aided design (CAD) technology has long been used to pursue advancements in the medical industry. For example, Design that Matters uses SolidWorks CAD software to create products for various social and medical needs around the world, including infant incubators made from car parts and other creative, affordable solutions.
But the utility of CAD for medicine does not solely lie in its practical applications. Researchers also use the technology in computational biology in an effort to discover truths and insight into people and animals on a very basic level.
Recently, scientists announced they had made a significant advancement in this field.
Mapping an organism
For the first time ever, scientists claim to have used computer-aided design to develop a computer model of an organism. If true, this would represent a major breakthrough in the field of computational biology, and potentially lead to a large number of applications.
Led by assistant professor of bioengineering Markus Covert, a team of Stanford researchers used data from more than 900 scientific papers and 1,900 experimentally observed parameters to model the smallest free-living bacterium on Earth, Mycoplasma genitalium.
"This achievement demonstrates a transforming approach to answering questions about fundamental biological processes," said James Anderson, director of the National Institutes of Health Division of Program Coordination, Planning and Strategic Initiatives. "Comprehensive computer models of entire cells have the potential to advance our understanding of cellular function and, ultimately, to inform new approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of disease."
A press release announcing the achievement noted that bio-CAD, an emerging field, has the potential to allow the creation of beneficial bacteria or yeast that can be used for pharmaceutical purposes. Additionally, the technology may someday be able to enable a greater degree of personalized medicine.
The EDA Consortium Market Statistics Service recently released the industry figures for the first quarter of 2012.
The report found that both the electronics design automation (EDA) and printed circuit boards (PCB) industries experienced notable growth in this period across the board.
According to the EDA Consortium report, total revenue for the EDA industry reached $1.53 billion in the first quarter of 2012. This represents a 6.3 percent rise from the first quarter of 2011, when market revenue stood at $1.44 billion.
While revenue for the EDA industry in the fourth quarter of 2011 was 9.6 percent higher than the first quarter of 2012, the industry's revenue rose 13.4 percent year-over-year. Of the various products within the umbrella of EDA, computer-aided engineering (CAE) was the most prosperous, experiencing revenue of $564.8 million, a 6.5 percent increase over the first quarter of 2011.
The total number of professionals working for EDA companies was 27,848 in the first quarter of this year, up 5.3 percent from the same period in 2011.
The EDA Consortium Market Statistics Service report also found growth among the printed circuit board and multi-chip module industry in the first quarter of 2012. The industry enjoyed revenue of $147.5 million, a 5.1 percent increase from 2011's first quarter. The last 12 months saw a moving average increase of 3.9 percent.
According to the recent ICP report on PCB sales and shipments in May 2012, revenue is likely to continue to grow, Electronics Manufacture & Test WorldWide reported. The book-to-bill ratio was 1.02 for rigid PCBs and 1.17 for flexible circuits. It was the sixth month in a row in which these ratios were above 1.00, indicating increasing demand in the industry.
Marketers and retailers spend millions of dollars and excessive amounts of time trying to develop ways of increasing consumers' likelihood of purchasing goods and services while inside their stores. In many subtle ways, the layout and design of a store's interior exerts a significant effect on an individual's' purchasing decisions. Grocery stores, for example, make many careful decisions concerning the placement of sale items, arrangement of rows and even the material used for floors.
Determining the optimal design of a store can be difficult and costly, as the organization must commit to a particular arrangement and then monitor the results to determine whether it was a success or failure. However, as industry expert Rose Grabowski recently highlighted for Consumer Goods Technology, 3D technology can help to reduce these costs and improve efficiency.
Designing a better shelf
Grabowski argued that companies can now use sophisticated 3D imaging to create interactive virtual stores. This means that organizations can create models that feature a high degree of detail, including lighting, promotional panels, virtual customers and more. As a result, marketers and retailers can gain a great deal of insight into how a potential layout scheme will actually appear without investing time and money implementing it first.
Additionally, Grabowski noted that organizations can use these tools to test their store designs on actual consumers. By using focus groups, retailers can experiment with different 3D designs and determine which will likely yield the best results.
CAD in the store
3D design software has a history of improving in-store design. Artitalia Group, for example, uses SolidWorks CAD software to develop custom-built fixtures that are used by major retailers, including Target and JCPenney, to display their wares.
When using standard finite element technology, the designer usually must perform mesh generation to convert the computer-aided design (CAD) model into a simulation model. According to R&D, this process can be extremely time-intensive and presents many opportunities for errors.
Recently, however, a researcher developed a method which allows designers to circumvent this process, significantly speeding up and improving the simulation process.
An award-winning model
The news source reported that Dominik Schillinger recently developed a novel simulation concept that allows direct integration of CAD geometry into finite element analysis. The method was tested with CAD models for a ship propeller and a car wheel and was proven successful.
Schillinger, who was until recently a scholar at the Munich Centre of Advanced Computing, was honored at the World Congress on Computational Mechanics in Sao Paulo for his efforts.
According to R&D, this mesh generation-free method may cut down the overall analysis time by 80 percent or more. The news source reported that the method will likely have an impact on design practices in a variety of sectors, including aerospace, civil engineering and automotive.
Wide scale improvements
CAD plays an integral role in all of these fields and many others, helping to both improve and speed up the design process. For example, AMTRAK previously used conventional 2D design tools for the maintenance of current vehicles and development of new ones. However, the company eventually determined that only a 3D CAD system would allow it to create vehicles suitable for the record numbers of passengers it had to support.
By using SolidWorks CAD software, AMTRAK was able to radically update its existing railcars.
"SolidWorks has allowed us to take a railcar that is decades old and make it look like it was made within the last two years," said industrial designer John Campell.
Space exploration is an incredibly demanding field. The potential dangers are great: not only are space vehicles extremely costly to produce, but their failure can result in the death of the astronauts involved. Making matters more difficult, conditions in space are unlike anything found on Earth. This makes it difficult for space agencies to design and test their craft.
As Aerospace Manufacturing and Design recently highlighted, at least one agency is using advanced computer-aided engineering (CAE) to improve its performance in these areas.
According to the news source, Thales Alenia Space Italia (TAS-I), a European space system solution developer, relies heavily on Dassault Systemes' Isight in its design and testing processes.
Isight allows TAS-I engineers to create flexible simulation workflows and can automate design exploration. As a result, they are better able to test out various scenarios that the spacecraft may encounter.
As the news source noted, prototyping can offer only a limited array of potential trials for spacecraft. Vacuum chambers and wind tunnels, while useful, differ significantly from outer space's actual conditions. Isight and other CAE and computer-aided design (CAD) products are now sophisticated enough to recreate such scenarios in the virtual realm.
"Our analysis is more robust now because we can process huge amounts of data," said Cosimo Chiarelli, head of the aeromechanics and propulsion unit at TAS-I. "Using the Isight environment, we have been able to reduce the use of conservative assumptions for our designs."
CAD in space
While TAS-I and Isight are pushing the boundaries and capabilities of the technology, CAE and CAD have long been used by aeronautics firms to predict and account for conditions in space. NTE-SENER, for example, used SolidWorks CAD software to develop a system to help astronauts exercise while onboard the International Space Station. This process was only made possible with advanced 3D tools.
The automotive industry is constantly evolving. Companies are continually in the process of developing and releasing new technologies make cars safer, more efficient and more luxurious.
One of those companies is Dassault Systemes. As Electropages recently highlighted, the 3D design and product lifecycle management (PLM) company has announced the launch of a new industry solution to for the automotive sector.
A number of factors
The new solution, called "Smart, Safe & Connected Car," features a number of different applications in a modular approach, according to the news source. The product is intended to help car developers accelerate the process of designing embedded systems.
In particular, "Smart, Safe & Connected Car" will help automakers ensure that their systems remain in compliance with ISO26262 safety standards and Automotive Open System Architecture (AUTOSAR) regulations. These standards were developed via collaboration between a number of automakers as a means of ensuring that new cars are held to a certain level when it comes to security and functionality.
As the news source noted, more than 80 percent of all vehicle innovation concerns electronics and software, and much of this is geared specifically toward developing active or passive safety improvements, performance upgrades and new entertainment options.
A modular approach
As these standards and statistics demonstrate, car development is a complex process. Dassault's new product will improve carmakers' abilities to abide by these standards while meeting consumer demand. To this end, the new solution uses a modular approach to manage the complexity of the industry, with a variety of tools incorporated into a single design platform.
Dassault Systemes has a deep history working with the automotive industry. Last year, for example, the company reached a strategic partnership agreement with Jaguar Land Rover to use its advanced 3D simulation software to improve the car company's product development.
Increasingly, computer-aided design (CAD) skills are playing a role in a variety of industries. Recently, Wanted Analytics, a hiring practices tracking firm, found that there were nearly 7,000 online job listings in March that listed CAD proficiency as a requirement for the position. This represents a 28 percent increase from March 2011.
These figures suggest that the value of learning about CAD at a young age is rising.
A number of institutions and individuals are responding to this demand, including jdh Architects.
Exposing teens to CAD
Tim Ball, an architect with jhd, recently visited the Maidstone campus of MidKent College to give a presentation regarding his use of CAD technology in his job as part of the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) Love Architecture Festival.
The class receiving the lecture was comprised of students ranging from 16 to 19 years old, with varying degrees of experience with CAD and architecture.
Ball's presentation featured a range of applications for the technology. He used RIBA slides to demonstrate how CAD was used to develop initial concepts for the London 2012 Olympic Aquatic Center, as well as for smaller scale, private pools and buildings.
"The talk gave me a real insight into the world of engineering using CAD and BIM from both the contractor's and architect’s perspective, making it useful for my future career," said Charlotte Wood, one of the students in attendance.
CAD and class
In addition to inviting CAD experts into the classroom, a number of schools have incorporated CAD programs into their curricula. The University of Manchester, for example, uses Altium design software to prepare its undergraduates for careers as engineers, according to New Electronics.