Did you hear that? (follow-up from HT/Semicon Bounce pt1)

By Rick

Just following up with everyone on my last post “Listening for the Bounce in the High-Tech/Semiconductor Market“. The first of the two upcoming industry events, SEMICON WEST, is over. While the Design Automation Conference that is coming up at the end of the month focuses purely on the design tools, SEMICON covers pretty much everything else (manufactuing, test, industrial equipment, solar, you name it).

As you may have seen in my Twitter (@rkstant) posts, EE Times has a couple of “before” and “after” views for the event. The before views are pretty optimistic. Everyone has been talking about how the worst is over and things are looking up. The federal stimulus package in the US has some high tech components, including “smart grid” and “broadband” projects. That funding is just hitting the streets in June and July, respectively. The industry analysts seemed optimistic and touted some new memory orders placed by companies like Samsung, Hynix and UMC for 2H09. And they looked at some continued spending in the Taiwan semiconductor market.

However, the “after” feedback from the industry execs was more cautious. It seems as though must of the industry leads weren’t quite willing to make such definitive, optimistic statements. Terms like “this will be a telling quarter” and “we are still in unknown territory” still prevail. Most still seem to be pointing to 2010 as the target for recovery, with the memory market taking a bit longer (2011).

The nice part about those statements is that they weren’t pessimistic. I’d like to think that many of these leaders see daylight, but don’t want to be caught in the crossfire if things take a little more time. After all, we are now a people that expect things to move fast. 2010 is rapidly approaching. Success in 2010 is reaped on the seeds sown this year. Let’s see if DAC show more good signs.



Do I really look scary in a dust mask?

By Tim

As I raked leaves and mowed my lawn this spring, I could quickly tell that I was breathing in dust, pollen, and some nasty mold spores. It’s no wonder that I ended up with a scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and watery eyes. I took an antihistamine and felt better, but I decided to be more careful the next time I was doing yard work.

Coincidentally, my team at SIMULIA was writing a customer case study detailing the process that Kimberly-Clark is using to evaluate the realistic performance of their dust masks. The article made me consider the idea of wearing a dust mask while working in the yard. But dust masks are uncomfortable – and to be honest – I feel goofy and think I look a little scary wearing one.

But I was intrigued when I read the story about how Chris Pieper and his engineering team at Kimberly-Clark are creating 3D models of human facial movements using the same Hollywood technology used to make The Incredible Hulk movie. On top of that, they have figured out how to combine those models with Abaqus FEA to analyze realistic ontact pressure of their masks with the human face – that’s innovation!

Their story motivated me enough to go out and buy a dust mask to wear while doing yard work. While, I may still feel goofy and look scary, I’m breathing a lot easier.

Do you wear dust masks when working in dusty environments? What do you think about leveraging Hollywood technology with FEA? Do you think I look scary in a dust mask? If you feel motivated, leave a comment.



F1 Star Jenson Button Launches Cambridge University’s Solar Race Car

By Tom

I’ve been fortunate enough to follow the Cambridge University Eco Racing team over the past year (you can follow them too: http://twitter.com/cuerendeavour) and see the car being designed from scratch. Last Weekend they launched their solar race car, named Endeavour, at the legendary Goodwood Festival of Speed in Chichester, England. Adding excitement to the launch was the appearance of Jenson Button, Formula 1 championship leader and the star driver of Brawn GP’s racing team. Jenson helped launch the racer by autographing the vehicle in front of the world’s press and media. Check team photos and the video of Jenson signing the car here.

Jenson commented:

There’s some very impressive technology in this racing car. It may be a world away from an F1 car in terms of power, but to get a car to drive at 60mph using 2 horsepower takes cutting-edge engineering.

The main attraction of the Festival of Speed is the hill climb competition. The tricky course should be a breeze for the CUER team compared to the upcoming challenge their solar race car was made for – the 2009 World Solar Challenge. This daunting challenge will require the team’s car to race across the Australian outback from Darwin in the Northern Territory to Adelaide in South Australia. The 3000km race will take the teams competing a whole week to complete the journey, travelling the length of the infamous Stuart Highway.

The Cambridge team used SolidWorks for the overall car design. The car is a three wheeled tricycle configuration to reduce mass and simplify drive-train. The aluminium space-frame on top of which the carbon fibre composite shell sits has been designed to be as light weight as possible; weight is one , if not the main, consideration in the design of the car. With weight being such a crucial factor, Abaqus FEA was used to trim down the size of the Aluminium space frame chassis, and then virtually test the structural integrity of the frame. Earlier this year the team issued a joint press release with Dassault Systèmes that provides more information.

As the team races to the starting line in Australia later this year, they can rest assured knowing that with the help of Dassault Systèmes technology the car was designed to be as light, efficient, and nimble as possible!

Good luck team CUER!


P.S. I wish I could be in Australia to watch the race!

Tom Bianchi works as SIMULIA’s UK & Ireland marketing manager.

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