Femap Case Study- Medical Devices

Biotec

With Solid Edge and Femap, dental implant manufacturer opens up new markets.

The Smile System

Biotec Srl was established in 1998 as a subcontractor for the production of medical devices. Based in Povolaro di Dueville, near Vicenza, Italy, the company decided to invest in the development of an advanced dental implant program under its own brand.

“From a strategic standpoint, we realized that subcontracting was not a long-term vision, so we gathered the entire production under the Biotec brand and, in 2009, we undertook a new project to re-launch our business, involving all areas from technology to marketing,” says Dr. Andrea Peloso, managing director of Biotec. “That’s how the ‘btk’ brand was born, propelling Biotec into the business of cosmetic surgery and dental implants. With its three letters, the new brand maintains an association with the company’s name and, at the same time, sums up its core values: biocompatibility, technology and know-how.”

Fittingly, the company’s tagline is “the smile system™.” Biotec employs about 40 people, and has doubled its headcount in the last three years. Sixty percent of the business comes from Italy and the rest is generated from Southern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. New markets are opening at regular intervals from Libya to Russia, often requiring long certification procedures before products can be marketed. In some cases, the waiting period can be up to two years.

“Powerful, intuitive and fast”

A dental implant is not a simple product: It has small dimensions, needs to perform multiple functions and is used by demanding doctors.

“In recent years, doctors have shown increasing interest in design,” says Peloso. “They know about technology and ask to be involved. It’s great to have their help developing high-tech and innovative products provided that we have tools that enable us to design concurrently with physicians, showing them the conceptual prototype of an implant as well as the final product.” To meet these new requirements, Biotec management decided to adopt product lifecycle management (PLM) technology in 2010, and chose Solid Edge® software from Siemens PLM Software. Solid Edge provides advanced computer-aided design (CAD) technology for accelerated product development, faster revisions and better data re-use.

“We selected Solid Edge because it is powerful, intuitive and fast,” says Igor Piccoli, research and development (R&D) manager at Biotec. “Many design tools require long preparation and setup, whereas we often design entire product families, so we need a very dynamic and flexible approach. We must have all the features of parametric CAD in intuitive and easy-to-use software. Solid Edge fits that description.”

Deploying the right tools

To develop products, the Biotec team collaborates with a number of medical and industry professionals, who represent valuable sources of experience, information and documentation. The company also partners with universities, especially their bio-engineering and the medical/surgery departments.

“We collect needs and requirements from all the partners, and they are recorded in one or more specification sheets and then transferred to our product development team,” says Piccoli. “These specifications enable us to analyze technical feasibility and provide the foundation for initial sketching and drafting on the PC (personal computer). “Until a few years ago, we used 2D software, which was inadequate for developing assemblies; it didn’t allow is to take into account proper matching and interference among parts. The final output was a two-dimension drawing, which had little practical use.”

In 2010, things changed with the adoption of 3D CAD, which sped up initial sketching and enabled Biotec to analyze the feasibility of a solution in detail. “The values of technology and know-how are hot-stamped in our btk brand, and we can support such values only by selecting the best tools and partners,” says Peloso. “On one hand, we expand our knowledge through official partnerships with universities and key industry players; and on the other hand, we deploy tools that help our engineering and manufacturing staff develop and design specific products.

“It is essential for us to have a common tool in order to interact with all applications and processes – design, production and surgery.” That’s where Solid Edge comes in.

Marking a turning point

With Solid Edge, Biotec engineers can utilize a unified language inside and outside the company from early in the development process. The technical drawings, which require specific knowledge and expertise, have been replaced by the mathematics of 3D models. From such models, the 2D drawing is generated. The 3D model is the starting-point for all operations downstream.

“In the past, the 2D draft was handed out to the machine operator and converted into a machining program, with consequent issues in terms of cycle time and interpretation,” says Piccoli. “Now, with a unified and advanced technology source, we have eliminated all transitions, conversions or translations that caused an inevitable waste of time and input errors.”

The adoption to Solid Edge was a turning point for the company’s renovation and expansion project under the new btk brand. Before 3D was deployed, using solids-based design versus surface modeling, Biotec manufactured mechanical pieces rather than anatomic parts.

“Without an accurate digital model, we couldn’t achieve specific shapes and curves on machine tools,” says Piccoli. “Using Solid Edge, we can translate model geometry into machining programs through our CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) tools. With this approach, we have achieved part compliance, virtually eliminating idle time on the machine tools. As we machine one work piece, we prepare another program offline, which enables virtually uninterrupted production.”

Biotec found that with Solid Edge, the company is able to effectively collaborate with surgical teams, who now receive the implant geometry directly from the manufacturer to program and guide operations in the dentist’s office. This is possible because Solid Edge can handle a wide range of data formats, including Parasolid® software, IGES, STEP, DXF and DWG.

“The clinic provides the patient’s 3D model, which we integrate with our dental implant to simulate and plan the surgical operation,” notes Piccoli. “The 3D geometry is also used to prepare documentation, deliverables and the physical prototypes of our implants.” In this scenario, the synchronous technology of Solid Edge helps Biotec engineers suppress or simplify complex features or geometries very quickly, without having to re-build the history of the model. With synchronous technology, users no longer have to choose between constraint-driven or history-free modeling, no longer have to be a programmer to re-use a model, and no longer need to worry about using data from multiple CAD systems.

“The benefits of Solid Edge with synchronous technology are amazing,” says Piccoli. “We also manufacture some mechanical equipment internally, and the use of synchronous technology delivers huge benefits when we design sheet metal for the support of parts to be submitted for heat treatment. We have created shapes that would be hard to imagine utilizing a traditional environment.”

Download The PDF Here

Download The PDF Here

Femap serves as the starting point

To implement a full-featured design system, Biotec uses Solid Edge with Femap™ software, finite element analysis (FEA) technology from Siemens PLM Software.

When designing very small parts like the pins of dental implants, an accurate analysis of stress and load distribution on the mechanical components and on the jaw bones is needed.

“Performing an analysis is mandatory, unless you are willing to spend a long time on mechanical tests, which would be difficult due to the tiny dimensions of our products,” notes Piccoli.

Today, Femap is frequently the starting point for the design cycle at Biotec, not only for mechanical engineering, but also for the identification of the geometric shapes that guarantee the best fit for the patient’s anatomy.

“We try to collect as much information as possible to bring our simulation as close to the real thing as we can,” says Peloso. “Recently, we faced the challenge of having to make an ultra-short implant.

Femap played an essential role as short implants don’t seem to offer adequate load distribution at first sight.

The simulation with Femap was confirmed by physical tests and indicated that with accurate design and suitable geometries, even better load distribution can be achieved with few spirals.”

Part of the team

Biotec’s designers are supported by the Siemens PLM Software partner CCSteam, the value-added reseller (VAR) that worked with them throughout the implementation process.

“I have been in touch with CCSTeam for eight years, including the period when I worked in a different company,” says Piccoli. “When we selected the design and development technology, we also considered service and support.

CCSTeam has always been very supportive; whenever we have a problem, they respond to our needs and take action in real time.

“For instance, during the latest training course, we found some critical concerns that were resolved immediately, because we had established a very efficient input and feedback process that delivers quick and practical solutions.

We think of the CCSTeam staff as part of the team, rather than suppliers.”

Learn more about EDGE plm software:

EDGE plm software is a privately owned Australian provider of software solutions aimed at the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors. EDGE has been providing engineering design centric solutions since 2004 with over 500 customers across Australia and New Zealand. Typical solutions from EDGE would include the provision of software, maintenance, support, consulting and training services.

The EDGE software portfolio includes CAD, CAM, FEA & PDM solutions and EDGE fully supports and offers training and mentoring services on its entire portfolio. EDGE has been a business partner of UGS/Siemens since 2004. EDGE also configures and sells Dell hardware to assist our customers maximise their software investments. Read more about us…

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The End of the Powertrain Bias

Internal Combustion Engine vs. Electric Machine, this seems a famous game these days. Media, politicians, OEMs, car owners - all of them have their arguments and for one or the other reasons, they have their vision of where they place themselves in this fight. There is a lot of emotion and mistrust, misinformation and the claim of misinformation, aggression, and response. Diesel bashing here, pointing to insufficient range, burning batteries and recharging of plugin battery-electric vehicles with mobile ICE devices there.

 

The worrying thing to me is that even in our engineering world you get the impression that you have to choose and you have to choose apriori. It seems that even the world of powertrain engineers has become bipolar, you can either be pro-ICE or pro-E, you can either hug your internal combustion engine or tell the people ICE is dead, you can either tell people there is not enough Lithium on earth or oil, you say a V8 is music or it’s noise, you say too much NOx, Soot or CO2 stems from traffic or from power plants, there’s nothing in between. ICE engineers seem to fear someone takes away their beloved baby, E-guy seem to claim the work of thousands of engineers should go to the trash bin right away.

 

I call this the powertrain bias!

 

Now, honestly, like with many topics I have faced in my life I don’t know who is right and I would claim it’s not easy to tell that for anyone. We live in an increasingly complex world and there are many forces at work, legislation, customer expectation, politics, financial interests and finally human emotions. So, as an engineer, you try to rely on something that should give you the answer: pure science. Then you realize: even numbers can be bend, misinterpreted, miscommunicated. It’s clear that oil won’t last forever and that Lithium doesn’t. It’s clear that some may love the sound of an engine and others love the sound of silence. It’s like with anything – even in science - any party will come up with their study of proving they are right.

 

I truly believe it is this powertrain bias that is the most dangerous thing an engineer can jump onto in a world of incredibly fast-paced change.

 

That said, as powertrain engineers, we should share only one common goal and that is, make the move of a person from A to B as efficient, comfortable and – not to forget - enjoyable as possible thereby minimizing the negative impact on other people. I understand there are multiple trade-offs in this performance function and the weighting of the individual performance factors is a highly individual thing. Yet, we all should agree on one minimum consensus: As engineers, it is our job to push the limits of efficient, healthy, enjoyable and comfortable movement as far forward as we can without limiting ourselves in the design space by a-priori (bias) decisions.

 

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Therefore here’s my call to all of you: Don’t get caught in that romantic vs. progressive powertrain trap! ICE guys, get over it and hug an electric machine, it won’t hurt. E-guys, step back and look at the amazing piece of engineering an IC engine effectively is. Let’s stay engineers in first place, push the Pareto front forward and make the best we can within the range of our expertise. Stay cool and fair when doing so. Get in touch with the other side and understand their reasoning. This is not a call for becoming emotionless, but it’s a call to reconsider what we should be emotional about: And that is creating great engineering value with our powertrain solutions. Here is my scientific study on the topic: In all times, 100% of all cars will have a powertrain!

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So let’s all get together at the Simcenter Conference in Prague to celebrate the end of the powertrain bias. With two days of powertrain presentations from ICE to E, from system- through CFD simulation to test the table is all set. Siemens PLM is there to help you, with simulation- and test solutions on the ICE AND the E, there is no either-or in our portfolio, and hey, for those that are already in the middle of it, we have a solution for all you hybrids!

Together, we can make Prague the Woodstock of Powertrain Engineering. Looking forward to seeing you there.

 

With that, I leave it with a

 

“Peace!”,

the first powertrain-hippie on earth

 

 

 

[1] https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/

[2] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/automobiles/wheels/internal-combustion-engine.html

[3] study by the first powertrain hippie on earth

 

 

Towards a unified Simcenter solution for electric machine design


Electric motor.jpgHaving a scalable model enables you to use your favorite system simulation tool for various simulation purposes, all along different design stages.

 

If I look in particular at electric machines, the possibilities are numerous:

  • Simple quasi-static machine models are well suited for power budget or energy management assessment.
  • Simple dynamic models are typically used for machine controls development.
  • Non-linear dynamic equivalent circuit models can give more insight into the motor behavior with high current or under fault conditions.
  • You can also include the machine spatial dependency to take into account the effects of the slots or the magnets shape. This will give you access to torsional vibration analysis and winding current distortions. It could help you validate a controller with a very realistic motor model at early development stages.
  • Co-simulation is an interesting solution in case you need to assess imbalance conditions or high frequency dynamics.Various levels of model complexity in Simcenter Amesim.pngVarious levels of model complexity in Simcenter Amesim

On the downside, setting up all those different models require much information which is not so easy to get. Datasheets provide partial data on the main machine behavior. To go further and to fully take benefit of the Simcenter Amesim Electric Motors and Drive solution, this is largely insufficient. To address this challenge, you can use Simcenter Amesim in combination with a finite element tool to obtain a reduced model. This is a major enhancement we focus on to reinforce this Simcenter Amesim solution.

 

Thus, Simcenter Amesim offers co-simulation capabilities with Altair Flux and JMAG-RT. Moreover,  recently released Simcenter Amesim 17 supports the import of reduced Simcenter SPEED models, as you can see in the following video:

 

 

 

What is the value for the Simcenter Amesim Electric Motors and Drive solution users? 

They can now smoothly pass from a finite element model to a system simulation model without spending hours trying to understand the different software conventions, developing or maintaining complex scripts.

   

The link with other Simcenter solutions such as Simcenter SPEED, Simcenter Motorsolve and Simcenter MAGNET will be continuously strengthened in the upcoming Simcenter Amesim versions. 

Neural networks & digital twins change the O&M in the wind industry

Today wind power represents 4.4% of the total generated power. By 2030, this is to increase up to 20%. The challenges for wind turbine manufacturers are wide-ranging: the aerodynamic performance of the blades, reduce weight, keep noise and vibration levels under control, ensure a durable design and improve its overall system performance.

 

The gearbox is the most critical part of the wind turbine. Either you send a technician up the turbine and do a manual check, or you attach sensors to the gearbox and monitor the results remotely on a computer. Both approaches work to anticipate failures and allow turbine owners to schedule for repairs. Obviously, this comes at a price. A high price. Can’t this be done more cost-effective?

 

Predicting the remaining useful lifetime of each wind turbine gearbox

 

Winergy, a global key provider for wind energy in Germany, teamed up with the Simcenter Engineering experts of Siemens PLM Software to estimate the remaining useful lifetime (RUL) of a complete wind park. Let’s be a bit more specific: 78 wind turbines – 35 SCADA channels – historical data stored over 4 years.

 

The Simcenter Engineering specialists tackled this issue by combining 2 approaches:

 

  1. Neural Networks
    The neural network was fed with information from different SCADA channels on the gearbox in combination with service data. Gearbox temperatures were defined as the most representative signals for a possible failure. Next, the neural network was trained on how a turbine reacts in healthy and faulty conditions. Winergy and Simcenter experts used the technique to accurately predict and detect failures early on.

  2. Digital Twin
    A digital twin makes the bridge between a virtual representation and the physical product. It helps to understand and predict product performance characteristics. Wind turbine modeling was combined with physical validation measurements in 1 turbine to validate the digital twin model. The digital twin model is fed with historic loads extracted from the SCADA in order to predict the remaining useful lifetime of the bearings and gear teeth in each gearbox.

 

This combined approach limits the need for physical prototypes, reduces development time, and improves the quality of the finalized product. 

 

Want to know more? Join us next week at the 11th Annual Offshore Wind Europe Conference & Exhibition in London, UK. Wim Hendricx, Simcenter Engineering expert for the Energy sector, will present this application case on November 28 at 9:20 AM.   

 

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Interesting links:

 

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Is this the electric vehicle that we’ve all been waiting for?

Uniti One is an EV that just makes more sense.

I have to confess: I have caught the Uniti fever. It all started last April when Werner Custers and I shot a little movie at the Uniti headquarters in Lund, Sweden, a hip university town about 30 minutes from Malmo. At this point, Uniti Sweden was still oozing that start-up vibe, but, unlike other stories I have followed over the years, the idea of the Uniti One, well, to paraphrase CEO Lewis Horne, it just made sense. Needless to say, I was hooked.

 

 

You probably noticed that Uniti One is a different kind of car. In a way, it is more of a driving experience than an automobile. Sure, it is a completely wired EV with four wheels, but it is designed for the new era of high-tech car ownership that includes things like car-sharing, subscription programs and possibly delivery-on-the-spot autonomous programs.

 

Uniti One Fleet _ Photo by Karl-Fredrik von Hausswolff.jpg

 

Definitely “not reinventing the wheel”

But the cool thing about Uniti is that the team didn’t stop with just reinventing the EV. Everything was up for disruption in the design and development chain. Need your NX model in VR? Just run it through a gaming engine and put on the VR goggles to see what happens. Forget the formal post-design feedback groups. Just put the car in a well-known electronics retailer for a while and ask to-be consumers what they really think. This disruption meant that the team moved fast – really fast.

 

A key secret to the speedy design process was the fact that Uniti adopted the digital twin idea from day one. The working digital twin, based on NX and Simcenter, was one of the main reasons that a very small team of young engineers could prototype three vehicles in four short months.

 

So what’s next?

After its start-up success, the team knew they had to change gears, roll up their sleeves and work on a production-ready version of Uniti One. They also knew they needed some serious automotive experience on the engineering side. This is why Sally Povolotsky recently joined Uniti.

 

As the Uniti Vehicle Development Director, she is working with her team of experienced automotive engineers at Uniti’s new R&D center in the High-Performance Technology and Motorsport (HPTM) cluster located around Silverstone, the iconic British F1 Grand Prix track. With some serious street cred in the EV and automotive industry, Sally knows what it takes to get a car on the roads of Europe and beyond. (See the attached pdf for the full story.)

 

Uniti One _ small _ Photo by Karl-Fredrik von Hausswolff.jpg

 

Save the planet

So with Uniti One shaping up nicely and an Industry 4.0 digital factory vision in place, Lewis Horne and the Uniti team seem to have their new automotive ecosystem literally on the right track towards a workable and sustainable future. From our side, we will definitely keep our eyes on events in the UK and Sweden for you. To be continued…

 

P.S. By the way, if you caught the Uniti fever as well: you can pre-order yours online for 149 euro at uniti.earth.

 

 

 

 

 

Testimonials

“Using Solid Edge with synchronous technology I can actually do many more iterations now that I wasn’t able to do before. And because of that, the cost of the product comes down. The weight of the product comes down. The performance goes up. The warranty is a lot longer. Quality loves it. We love it. The profit margin loves it.”
John Winter , Mechanical Engineering Manager, Bird Technologies
“Siemens’ synchronous solver overcomes the order dependencies that have plagued history-based CAD programs by solving for the explicit and inferred constraints at the same time. The synchronous solver doesn’t use a history tree, but rather holds user-defined constraints in groups associated with the surfaces to which they apply…Ultimately, though, I believe this to be a transformative technology – one that represents an important inflection point in the CAD industry. If you hear someone say ‘that’s nothing new,’ don’t believe them. Synchronous technology is a big deal.”
Evan Yares, CAD Industry Analyst
“Synchronous technology breaks through the architectural barrier inherent in a history-based modeling system,” “Depending on model complexity and how far back in the history that edit occurs, users will see dramatic performance gains. A 100 times speed improvement could be a conservative estimate.”
Dr. Ken Versprille, PLM Research Director, CPDA
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