For the last 14 weeks I have been undertaking one of my most ambitious works to date. Not ambitious in terms of size (although it is a largish piece), but more of a personal record in terms of the substantial number of parts I was required to make to execute this idea. It is a design with well over a thousand individually machined parts. If you count spare parts (I always make extras), almost 1100.
While still a healthy size as far a machined metal sculptures go, it is by far the largest parts count I have ever attempted. I had to make hundreds upon hundreds of custom bolts, pins, and spacers in addition to the dozens of other more intricate parts that make up the assembly. The sculpture is 20.5" tall, 17" wide, and 11" deep and it weighs 88 pounds.
This work is also unique in that it has a rather complex interior space, something that I find difficult to work into many of my designs. The opening into the interior is approximately 5" at its smallest, so you can easily stick your whole arm through the center of this piece.
The engineering.com office is swarmed daily with new product news, gee-whiz technology, and each and every “paradigm shift.” In the midst of it all, I was surprised to get an invitation to the launch of AutoCAD 2018.
“AutoCAD—is that still around?” asked one of our editors.
It seems as though it never went away. Rumors of AutoCAD’s demise, helped by the rise of Inventor or Fusion 360 on the mechanical side and Revit on the BIM side, were ... well, just rumors.
“We still have millions of users,” assured Rob Maguire, director of Autodesk’s AutoCAD product line.
Maguire has gathered a handful of “influencers,” aka social media wonks, power users and select old media, to Autodesk’s San Francisco office to see that the patient is not only alive and well, but is being improved. (Read more about the product improvements in our previous report.)
The dozen or so of us gathered in Autodesk’s office. We wondered when we had last seen each other. It was definitely before we started being called “influencers.” We recount the days when an AutoCAD release was Autodesk’s biggest news—highly anticipated, occurring 18 months or 2 years, max. A major release was trumpeted months in advance by a PR staff, with a wave of information going out to the press and bloggers. The CAD world would wait with bated breath for our reports. That is what we liked to think. In the last couple of years, major releases of Autodesk software have not even warranted a press release. If we were lucky, we heard about it, someone at Autodesk wrote about it on a blog post.
For developing the Helix Dumper, an innovative wagon solution that is highly durable and far more efficient than other ore wagon offerings, Kiruna Wagon has been named a finalist for the Swedish Steel Prize 2017.
The Swedish Steel Prize is an international prize that honors the art of engineering and innovation in the steel industry. This year Kiruna Wagon from Sweden, is one of four finalists for this year’s prize, which will be awarded during a ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on May 11 a path that New Zealand's A-Ward Attachments trod on their journet to taking out the 2012 award with their flexible system for management and transportaion of metallic scrap using high-strength steel which compresses and packs the metallic scrap in containers.
“Our customer had found a small design that they wanted to make into a large dedicated wagon concept. There were many challenges to overcome, including how to achieve a carrying capacity of a 100-ton payload, while keeping the wagon light,” explains Fredrik Kangas, Managing Director at Kiruna Wagon.
The resulting Helix Dumper is a lightweight wagon structure with a high payload and an ingenious offloading solution that has an unloading speed of 25,000 tons per hour, which is twice that of other systems.
The design utilizes high-strength steel extensively in the structure of the wagon as well as for the stiffeners around the wagon body and for the top rail of the wagon. Wear-resistant steel is used in the two arches at the offloading site.
“The Helix Dumper is designed in a way that minimizes wear, which was one reason we believe that our choice of materials was optimized,” says Kangas.
When comparing with other systems, a complete unloading system for the Helix costs 1/7th of what a rotational wagon cost. Furthermore, the Helix uses parts of the potential energy of the ore to push the wagon forward as it unloads. This means no extra energy is required and there is much less dust with almost no noise.
The jury’s motivation for selecting Kiruna Wagon as a finalist for the Swedish Steel Prize 2017 is:
“Kiruna Wagon has developed an innovative dumper wagon system for long-haul rail transport and efficient unloading of minerals. Use of advanced high-strength structural and wear-resistant steels made it possible to design lightweight wagons combined with a stationary Helix terminal for on-the-fly rotary unloading. With its nearly doubled unloading rate, the Helix system is superior to all conventional solutions and solves many problems related to sticky aggregates. The terminal system is very cost effective, in terms of both investment and operation.”
For nearly 20 years, the Swedish Steel Prize has recognized and rewarded small and large companies as well as institutions and individuals who have developed a method or product that utilizes the full potential of high-strength steel. The winner will receive a statuette by the sculptor Jörg Jeschke and a cash prize of SEK 100,000 that SSAB encourages to be donated to a charity of the winner’s choice.
Experts from New Zealand and around the world will attend the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering’s annual technical conference in Wellington this week.
Conference convenor Dr David Whittaker says about 500 earthquake engineers and scientists will meet to exchange knowledge on a range of topics, including the impacts of the Kaikoura Earthquake and how to make building structures more resilient to large earthquakes.
Dr Whittaker says around 100 international delegates will present papers and updates from the United States, Japan, China, Taiwan and Turkey.
NZSEE President Peter Smith says the conference is a chance to share the latest thinking about seismic isolation and other technologies to protect buildings from earthquakes.
“Following the Kaikoura Earthquake, the community is asking important questions of earthquake engineers about seismic risk, adequacy of codes and seismic resilience.
“At the conference, engineers will be sharing what we have learned and listening to what overseas experience can teach us, as we work towards better seismic resilience in our buildings and infrastructure.
This conference is being held jointly with the Anti-Seismic Systems International Society’s (ASSISi) 15th World Conference on Seismic Isolation.
The conference runs from Thursday 27 April to Saturday 29 April.
Most people’s encounters with CNC machining happen either before factory installation—in advertisements or at tradeshows—or afterward, when the machine is already up and running.
Unless you take part in an installation personally, you don’t often get the opportunity to see all the intermediate steps: prepping the factory floor, unloading the machine, bringing it into the facility and getting it in place.
Fortunately, Norwegian drone manufacturer, GRIFF Aviation recently released a video documenting the company’s receipt and installation of a Mazak Integrex i-400 multi-tasking machine.
The Integrex i-400 combines the capabilities of a turning center and 5-axis machining center with the aim of enabling part production in a single setup. It weighs over 20 tons, which made the installation a challenge, to say the least.
According to GRIFF Aviation, using the Integrex i-400 will enable the company to produce a complete set of drone parts in 48 hours.
For more information, visit the websites for Mazak and GRIFF Aviation.
| An engineering.com release || April 12, 2017 |||
Renting turned out to be as dangerous for production engineers as for families.
The putting into financial play in the late 1980s of the nation’s castings, forgings and machining engineers had the effect of stripping out their ownership of their own sites and thus leaving them prey to the real estate sector and its exorbitant demands.
New Zealand’s short lease regime and even shorter rent review periods effectively threw the nation’s medium to heavy production engineers into the hands of the non-productive property sector.
This bitter harvest coincided with the disappearance from New Zealand of its merchant banking capability. There is no merchant finance capability now in the accepted risk participation-ownership sense.
The fact that the engineers had been stripped of their site ownership meant that they had to turn now to the Australian commercial banks with their reluctance to lend on anything that was not backed by clear land title.
This did not become immediately obvious, however, partly because the tariff protection abolition that accompanied this boom-bust era took time to dismantle.
There was some good news too from Europe.
The events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall meant that Eastern Europe was identified as an important new market. Backed by the government, notably in the form of assistance from the New Zealand embassy in Moscow several engineering bi lateral trade deals were exploited within the old iron curtain.
Immediately after this there began the intensive trade with China.
This now allowed production engineers to start abandoning their sites, which they now did not own anyway, and focus on their design and brand work in New Zealand while farming out their production to Asia.
It was now though as the end of import restrictions began to finally melt away under accelerating globalisation that the remaining production engineers on leases began to feel the chill winds of change.
For the long established production engineers, the ones that had gone through the 80s property and credit bubble, and in the process had lost title to their yards and premises what had once been asset now became a big liability
Heavy engineers were historically positioned near to rail and ports and thus their now leased sites became attractive to the premium residential and leisure sector.
Which is what the property rotators had gambled on in the first place.
Another problem was and is that the once-forecast inland container depots never materialised in sufficient bulk to take the pressure off port land, the land that the engineers now leased and which became increasingly prone to lease rent hikes.
The engineer now became the industrial version of a fashionable restaurant. If they did badly- then they did badly. Should they do well- then their landlord was in for their share of the bounty, knowing too that if the tenant quit that there would be plenty of service sector takers for the site.
The point being that the speculators apportioned no value to the gantries, rolling beds, and other such fixtures other than scrap value
It is in borrowing though that the leased land problem is most evident for engineers. They cannot borrow on improved value. Machine tools of any value will be leased anyway, probably from UDC which, incidentally this year was sold to Chinese interests.
The tenancy position is not so critical for assemblers and process engineers who sell finished goods into retail with its accelerated turnover and thus returns based on measurable cash flow from consumers.
But for the heavy project engineering sector with its ever-extending payment times and attendant payment uncertainties the failure to possess the title to their own premises increasingly proved fatal.
Some lease booby trap fuses were longer than others. But in the end the results were the same. The sites leased out on a service sector rent level could no longer sustain their original purpose of production.
A curious difference between the New World and the Old World is that leasing and renting has never been accepted as an economic proposition in the new world.
We can see now that this applies as much to the industrial sector as it does to the residential sector.
This systematic undercutting of the nation’s productive capacity was widely applauded at the time by management theoreticians whose slogan was that production engineers among others should “stick to their knitting.”
In the event, and as we can now see, the loss of title to their own works meant that the engineers now became involved instead in the complex world of leases.
Especially and willy-nilly they found themselves in the sphere of the property management company with its attendant contract that ensures that whichever side wins or loses the possessor of the contract always comes out the winner.
The latest release of Autodesk’s Advance Steel 2018 promises to both streamline the 3D modeling tool and improve interoperability with other Autodesk software, such as Revit, Navisworks and AutoCAD. This article will examine the software's new features, and explain how they impact the architects, structural engineers and construction workers who use it.
Figure 1 above – Advance Steel 2018 adds 130 parametric steel connections that may be transferred to the Revit model. Image courtesy of Autodesk.
Improved Level of Detail
The first big highlight is Advance Steel 2018's ability to offer “seamless consumption of LOD 350 Revit models.” LOD, short for “level of detail”, is defined by BIMForum as a measure of the amount of description attached to items in a Building Information Modeling (BIM) model - or example, at LOD 100, a light fixture might only have cost information, while at LOD 350, it would also include things like its geometric shape, in the form of a CAD model. The ability to read CAD models directly from Revit files should give engineers more accuracy in their designs, let them issue bills of material, and let them respond more quickly to architectural design changes.
Added Parametric Steel Connections
A second major update is the addition of over one hundred and thirty parametric steel connections. To sweeten the deal, these connections also transfer to the model in Revit to improve coordination between engineers and fabricators.
The new software also supports Revit families for custom sections, a feature long demanded by users, as well as the ability to transfer code checks for customized parameters.
Advance Steel 2018 has also been integrated with the latest AutoCAD drafting platform, meaning users will only no longer need to license and install it separately.
Migration of CustomizationFigure 2 -Advance Steel now has one interface to move settings from one version to another. Picture from Autodesk.
Another change concerns control of documentation and customized model information. You can now combine model views with cameras to simplify the making of general arrangement drawings, and blow up details of the model to add callouts in less steps.
Figure 3- Blow-up details and create callouts. Picture from Autodesk.
Better Overall Interoperability
Finally, this release of Advance Steel continues Autodesk’s integration of the product with their other AEC software. As construction and engineering continues to evolve toward automation, Autodesk has sought to create increasingly seamless BIM-to-fabrication workflows by integrating Advance Steel with their other engineering and construction tools, such as Revit and Navisworks Manage. However, Advance Steel is not actually an Autodesk original - it was created by French structural steel software vendor GRAITEC, which Autodesk acquired in 2013. As a result, Autodesk has had to spend years integrating it into their software family, rather than building it that way from the ground up.
The idea is to give project teams access to a transparent system that supports the entire lifecycle of steel projects, from design to detailing to fabrication.
Advance Steel is available as a quarterly, annual, or multi-year subscription through Autodesk. The Autodesk AEC Industry Collection is a software bundle that includes Revit, AutoCAD, Navisworks Manage, and more. Advance Steel 2018 becomes available on April 1, 2017, while Autodesk Steel Connections for Revit 2018 drop April 14.
| An Engineering.com release || April 10, 2017 |||
New Zealand contact for Autodesk 2018 CAD is Lewis Worthing from WorthyCAM
The 2017 Young Engineer of the Year is Rocket Lab’s Lachlan Matchett, it was announced at the IPENZ Fellows’ and Achievers’ Awards in Wellington last night.
Aged 26, Lachlan has led a large team of engineers to design and deliver Rocket Lab’s innovative Rutherford Engine.
The other two finalists for Young Engineer of the Year were Virginie Lacrosse of Tonkin + Taylor, who has been at the forefront of liquefaction work in Christchurch, and Oliver Whalley, who has been working on sustainable transport in the Pacific for the World Bank.
Other awards announced last night included the William Pickering Award for Engineering Leadership, which went to Keith Turner for his outstanding career in the electricity industry, spanning technical, management and governance excellence.
Sjoerd van Ballegooy of Tonkin +Taylor won the Freysinnet supreme technical award for building and construction, in recognition of his ground-breaking work on the effects of liquefaction after the Canterbury earthquakes.
The Angus supreme technical award for water, waste and amenities went to Rex Corlett of Opus for his work on effluent pond design and construction.
Engineer and University of Auckland educator Colin Nicholas won the Turner Award, which recognises extraordinary commitment to the engineering profession and to the community.
Jack Robinson became the first software engineering student to win the Ray Meyer undergraduate award, thanks to his work on a web-based traffic management system. Jack has completed his studies at Victoria University of Wellington and is now working as a graduate developer for Xero.
The IPENZ President’s awards were also announced on Friday night. The Fulton-Downer Gold Medal, which recognises engineers’ service to the profession and the public, was awarded to Ian Fraser for his leadership, governance contributions and support of young engineers. The Fulton-Downer Silver Medal went to Dipal Raniga for her dedication to promoting IPENZ among students and graduates. And the McLean Citation went to Tiina Hall-Turner for commitment and service to IPENZ, over a wide range of its boards and groups, throughout her professional career.
IPENZ named the following new Distinguished Fellows: Bryan Leyland, Murray Milner and Peter McCombs.
These engineers were named as new Fellows: Paul Campbell, Derek Chisholm, Glen Cornelius, Joe Edwards, Tim Fisher, Gordon Hughes, Steve Jay, Charlie Price, Bill Paterson, Richard Snow and Tania Williams.