Bad Knees? Good News!

By Tim

Tim's sister Sarah

In June of this year, my 57-year-old sister, Sarah, had double knee implants. She has the scars to prove it as you would not believe that she has dual knee implants just by looking at her!

In a previous post, I mentioned that my 82-year-old dad has also had both of his knees replaced (twice). So, you can bet that I am trying to take extra care of my knees (think: whirpool, massage, extra vitamins). However, due to genetics and sports injuries there is no guarantee that I won’t need a knee implant at some point in my life.

It’s no wonder that our knees wear out—they bear five times our body weight with each step we take. Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA), which replaces damaged or diseased joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components, is performed about 580,000 times a year in the U.S. alone. It is currently the solution that provides the most relief to patients. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons calls knee replacement, “one of the most important surgical advancements of the 20th Century.”

Thankfully, researchers, like those at Smith & Nephew, are dedicated to improving the design of knee implants. Their goals are to make the artificial knees easier to implant while working better and lasting longer. In 2007 Smith & Nephew (the U.K.’s largest medical technology company) established the European Centre for Knee Research in Leuven, Belgium to drive TKA research and innovation. They have developed new knee replacements that have been designed to last 30 years, double the time of previous designs. You can view their commericial for their newest products on You Tube here.

Dr. Innocenti, Smith & Nephew

Recently, our communications team had a chance to interview the Centre’s project manager for Numerical Kinematics, Bernardo Innocenti, M.E., Ph.D. It’s pretty cool that they are using Abaqus FEA from SIMULIA to explore and improve their knee implant designs.

Dr. Innocenti kindly explained some of the details of their design and simulation process  to us. “When you replace a knee, you are trying to replicate the behavior of biological materials, like bones, cartilage and ligaments, with non-biological ones such as titanium, stainless steel and polyethylene. Abaqus FEA is fundamental in this game because it enables us to estimate rapidly and precisely the effects of different parameters in the design or performance…whether it is bone or metal or something more complicated like the viscoelasticity of soft tissues or polyethylene.”

This focused research and use of realistic simulation is certainly good news for people like my sister, my dad…and maybe even me! The report from my sister today (four months after surgery) is that she can walk through the mall to do her holiday shopping without the disabling knee pain, that is good news!

Check out the complete Smith & Nephew case study and many other customer stories on Realistic Human Simulation in the latest issue of SIMULIA INSIGHTS magazine.

Please join me  in raising a toast to better knee implants and pain free holiday shopping!


From a Kid’s Bike to Arc Welding

By Therese

Like many 8-year-old boys, my son spends a lot of his outdoor time riding his bike. He also likes to build things, tear them down, and repaint them. So it really comes as no surprise that his latest hobby is taking old bikes and refurbishing them.

Recently he put his new Schwinn bicycle in the garage and replaced it for what I saw as a rusty three-wheeled green machine bike, fairly new, but severely neglected.  He saw a fast, low-rider that could one day be the coolest bike in the neighborhood. Hmmm . . .was I not looking close enough at his vision? 

My husband took a closer look and pointed out some positives about the hunk of metal before us. Being an expert in the field, so to speak, my husband restores hot-rods and knows the good and bad about machinery. He saw how solid the bike was, with its steel construction and strong perfect welds that join it together.

Grabbing the moment to teach our son new skills, we started talking about bikes and how welds are important to a bike or any steel construction. We talked about how robots are used to make bikes and other complex machines, like heavy machinery, automobiles, and ships.  

My husband explained about welding and how it takes a lot of practice to master it. He started to explain to our son that many metal objects in our lives are welded and that robots are very good for welding. Arc welding things like this by hand could be a very slow and tedious process.

My son didn’t fully understand how a robot could do this (his robot only walks), so we dove into details about what a robot is and how it is programmed to weld. Eureka! He got it.

Speaking the language of computers comes so naturally to kids. Just as quickly as he asked the question, my son turned around to continue working on his bike. He is only 8, after all.

I looked again at the bike and thought about its welds and all the benefits of programming robot arc welds offline, so the real welding robots can keep on with production. I told my husband that robot arc welding can be easily simulated with Dassault Systèmes DELMIA Robotics, validating and optimizing robot programs.

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It can be used to position all workcell components (robot, workpiece, etc.) to ensure that the robot can efficiently and optimally reach all the necessary welds. Strong welds. The kind of welds I want holding my son’s bike together when he zips down the street at “record speeds.”

Learn more about arc welding with The Robot Whisperers.  Or if you’d like information about DELMIA’s solution, please click here.



Lifelike Experience for Companies + Consumers

By Kate

This 3 minute video explains what lifelike experience means. Note it’s not science fiction; this is happening already!

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What do you think?



P.S. You can read and watch examples of how companies are using this technology in our interactive online Contact Mag “Lifelike Experience” edition.

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