Turbomachinery Makes the World Go ‘Round

By Tim

Ancient Water Wheel, Modern Turbine

Ok, ‘turbomachines’ don’t actually make the world ‘go round, but they have been the catalyst of human advancements for thousands of years—from the early Roman water wheels of the first century B.C. to the modern power turbines, and aircraft engines of today.

I am amazed by the massive size and complexity of steam, gas, and hydro turbines found in power plants all over the world.  Here’s an interesting link to simple explanations about different types of turbines and how they work.

Like all manufacturers, Turbomachinery companies are facing increasing environmental and economic pressures causing them to seek greater efficiency, both in their product development processes and in the performance of their products. Power plants and the steam turbines that drive them must be able to ramp up and ramp down to meet changing energy demands on a regular basis.

Engineers at Alstom

Engineers at Alstom

During peak power demand cycles, steam turbines need to be able to start-up rapidly, handle load and temperature changes predictably, and withstand the stress of dynamic operating conditions reliably.

To meet these market demands, Alstom Power in Switzerland is using Abaqus FEA from SIMULIA to cut design cycle time, reduce development costs, and improve the reliability of their turbomachines. Check out their case study “Fast-Starts Help Squeeze Watts”.

Turbomachinery designers and engineers also have to take into account a range of design variables of complex, multidisciplinary systems—from the turbine, the compressor, the combustor, the casing, the rotors and bearings—all must work in tandem in extreme conditions of temperature, pressure, and high forces on the rotating components.

Robust Design Process

Robust Design Process

How is it possible to account for all of the design variables and optimize these complex machines? Check out this view point article “Assessing Variability to Achieve Robust Design” by Alexander Karl, from Rolls-Royce (on page 4 of INSIGHTS magazine).

If you want to learn more about how Abaqus and Isight are being used to analyze and optimize Turbomachinery performance, do a quick Google search; “Turobmachinery + analysis + Abaqus” or, “Turbomachinery + optimization + Isight”. You’ll quickly find an incredible wealth of information.

Plus, you’ll discover—like I have—that Turbomachinery does make our world go ’round.

Without turbomachinery, we would be in the dark and grounded. Instead, we enjoy electricity convinently at the flip of a switch and global air travel comfortably at 30,000 feet.

Bon Voyage,


Mydeco Eyedeco Buydeco

By Kate

You heard it here first folks! 

Remember my sneak prevue post?  iPhone + Photos + 3D Objects = Yum! 

Ok, look again (or for the first time) and notice the lead photo. 

Nah, not the 3D object superimposed on the 2D photo.  Look at the person sitting in the chair. 

Yeah, yeah, Brent Hoberman from mydeco.com.  Who cares? 

Ahhh, well read this from Retail Technology news!  mydeco.com launches the ‘Furnish Your Photo’ app

I’d seen some buzz about this recently on Twitter, but then Fred sent me the link to the Retail Technology article and I thought twas time to share with you 3DP people. 

According to the article:

The interior design retail website said although the app already includes more interior design themed 3D models than any other iPhone app, it plans to expand the range to include approx 75,000 3D models from the catalogue of over 5 million furniture items already available on mydeco.com.

So what are you waiting for, iPhone users?  Grab the mydeco app and start making your interior design fantasies reality!  Just take your photos then you mydeco, eyedeco and if you like what you see, buydeco. 



P.S. It’s not only the little white rabbit that’s running out of time.  Time’s running out on mydeco’s Alice in Wonderland 3D room contest as well.  Closing date is THIS Friday!

The Ergonomics of Clumsiness

By Therese

433px-Schweizerhaus18 wikiA funny thing happened last weekend when my husband and I were out, sans kids, enjoying a nice dinner. A very obnoxious patron was seated nearby, demanding faster service by the already efficient waiter. I watched as the waiter skillfully weaved in and out of tables, taking fast turns around corners, all-the-while balancing a huge try full of plates and water glasses, in order to meet the patron at the table quickly. I’m by nature a clumsy person so his ability to move fluidly without dropping anything off the tray amazed me.

Then it happened.

An unexpected obstacle appeared: another customer, unaware, stretched his legs right in the way of the approaching waiter. I gasped when I realized he was milliseconds away from imminent disaster. I obviously didn’t give the waiter enough credit because he must have caught sight of the foot, stepped over it and appeared at the obnoxious patron’s table with everything intact. “Incredible,” I remarked to my husband, adding that it wouldn’t have been horrible if food landed on that annoying guy.

Then we got talking about how good the waiter was. His structured movement, ability to weave around tables and avoid collisions, keeping all obstacles and people away from any accidents was truly impressive! It got me thinking about how similar a waiter is to a production worker in manufacturing.

Seriously, there are commonalities. Think about it.

In both instances people (industry workers and waiters) move objects, both often use the same muscles (arms) through repetitive use, work directly with physical objects (machinery or dinner plates), need to time their movements (with equipment versus a waiter bringing food to the table).

We then chatted about simulating the waiter’s movements ahead of time. Okay maybe that part is a little out there, but there is no doubt that accidents can be avoided if you simulate a pattern and movements ahead of time.

Our waiter got lucky, but worker safety is indeed an important topic in manufacturing. That thought brings me back to a statistic I heard on a conference call recently where more than 1 million accidents occur each year in the Energy sector alone. How much safer can manufacturing environments be if human movements and machine interactions are simulated ahead of time? 

Worker safety and Virtual Ergonomic in general will be one of the topics my friend and colleague Julie Charland will discuss at an upcoming conference– the AEC (Applied Ergonomics Conference) the week of March 22.

I can’t wait to find out how it goes and will be sure to blog about. Now, if only I could bring Virtual Ergonomics into my own life. Maybe that would make me less clumsy!

Meanwhile, check out this Virtual Ergo showing worker movements.

YouTube Preview Image

What do you think about this?



Therese SnowTherese Snow works for Dassault Systèmes’ DELMIA brand.

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