CTOC & ANSYS: SoCal Innovation Conference

CTOC & ANSYS: SoCal Innovation Conference

The SoCal Innovation Conference took place on Wednesday morning at the Cove with a full house in attendance at the Beach. A collaboration between ANSYS and CleanTech OC (now known as Sustain OC), the conference provided various productivity enhancement tools and techniques that could be integrated into the workflow of an engineering department. ANSYS Applications Engineers and customers of their engineering simulation software discussed design challenges and how simulation-driven product development could help engineers rapidly innovate new products. Multiple sessions were provided for attendees to take a deep dive into various disciplines and applications relevant to the LA and OC area IoT (Internet of Things) and startup ecosystems. Topics included the following: antenna designs and implications for IoT, coupled physics effects for mechanical analysis, system level power and thermal awareness for ICs and packages, the design of experiments, and durability and rugged design concepts via simulation.

The conference began with opening remarks by Adam Trenkle, Sales Director of North America West at ANSYS, providing an overview of ANSYS' vision and strategy focused on simulation-driven product development. In recent years, simulation has moved to the front of the development lifecycle so companies have a competitive edge in time, functionality, and cost.  Next, Mike Zimmerman, Design Engineer at Flowserve gave an industry innovation keynote. Highlights of his presentation included an example of using ANSYS' simulation software to understand issues and optimize systems before creating large-scale prototypes weighing several thousand pounds. Additionally, Zimmerman shared that his team was able to go from a concept to a fully operational engine component for a formula-one race car in two and a half months--exemplifying the paradigm shift in engineering and testing enabled by simulation. 

Zimmerman's presentation was followed by a research innovation keynote by Richard Donovan, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Engineering and ICS for UCI, and G.P. Li, Ph.D., Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Li also serves as Division Director for Calit2 and Director of the Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility for the Henry Samueli School of Engineering. Their keynote provided an overview of their progress in the areas of smart manufacturing, looking at everything involved in a factory from supply chain to an individual pump. By using multiple data points enabled by innovations in IoT, solutions can be developed to reduce energy consumption, increase productivity, and minimize waste. Drivers of their current research include creating a smart workforce, empowered with knowledge from new technologies to move toward manufacturing sustainability. With the IoT market estimated to be worth $17 trillion by 2020, Donovan and Li shared that Industrial IoT was a significant opportunity to optimize production, improve efficiency and moved toward predictive maintenance. Industrial workers previously used for manual labor will instead become a smart worker using enhanced tools and new data points to make supervisory decisions in an increasingly automated environment. 

Following the research innovation keynote HyperXite, a UCI based team who won fifth place in SpaceX's Hyperloop Pod Design Challenge among all teams worldwide, presented their project.  Team members Jacob Gantz and Leslie Hsiao shared the journey of their Hyperloop design and gave special thanks to ANSYS for providing the team with over $10,000 in services, allowing them to prototype rapidly. According to Hsiao, ANSYS' simulation software allowed them to understand what changes needed to be made to their design to prevent premature wear before developing a prototype. 

The remainder of the conference included breakout sessions by ANSYS engineers covering how to use their simulation software across a spectrum of applications including multiphysics simulations for an energy efficient, IoT-based smart home, antenna development, and multiphysics analysis of a printed circuit board. Additional sessions included Keyvan Bahadori of SpaceX presenting on communication systems for fast moving vehicles and Tadeh Avetian of Hyperloop One sharing a multiphysics approach to the analysis of a propulsion structure. The conference concluded with a presentation by Rick Rabinovich from Ixia on investigating through skin effects with HFSS, a commercial finite element method solver for electromagnetic structures from ANSYS. 

Hai contributes to the Cove as a content writer for both the Currents newsletter and blog. As an alumnus of UCI with a degree in English and a co-founder of a local creative agency, Hai's focus is centered on spotlighting events, stories, and startups within the Orange County community. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has participated in fast-pitch competitions through the UCI Antrepreneur Center and has co-organized local business and startup groups such as 1 Million Cups and Orange County Young Entrepreneurs.