December 01, 2006
Joining high performance computing applications with small- and medium-sized companies is one step closer to reality as the Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and the Edison Welding Institute (EWI) announced a partnership agreement today. As part of its innovative Blue Collar Computing initiative, OSC will provide remote portal access of HPC systems and software to EWI welding applications -- a tremendous cost-saving resource that will reach engineers at over 200 companies.
Welding involves the complex interactions of a high number of physical processes. Integrated numerical simulation tools are needed to improve the performance of welded structures. Through OSC's HPC application interface, engineers will easily be able to input product dimensions, welding process parameters and other specifications to conduct complete online simulations of welding procedures to determine the strength and viability of its prototypes.
"This is a real breakthrough for our clients that lack the fundamental data and computing horsepower needed to develop digital simulations," said Henry Cialone, president and CEO of EWI. "This new interface will help manufacturing engineers eliminate the endless trial and error of physical prototypes and allow them to test bolder design ideas in weld and joining models."
Over 200 member companies in the U.S. make EWI the leading engineering organization in North America dedicated to advancing and applying materials joining technology to improve manufacturing competitiveness. The OSC simulation tools will be available to all EWI member companies and other customers. Initial deployments will provide online, automated alternatives to simulation services provided by the EWI engineering staff to member companies.
Most manufacturing and design engineers do not have the necessary data and computing horsepower to develop tools that easily simulate the complex physical processes of metals and polymers. Integrating numerical simulation tools into the process helps to improve performance and reduce the cost of materials in the new welded structures. Blue Collar Computing solutions will increase manufacturing competitiveness by lowering the barriers to using HPC tools through web portals. For example, these tools will accelerate problem solving, product and process development by allowing the engineer to quickly do "what if" scenario calculations.
The OSC-EWI partnership is the latest success story of the Blue Collar Computing initiative -- a cooperative effort to help small- and medium-sized companies gain access to supercomputing technology at a more affordable cost. With improved software development, training, outreach and partnerships, supercomputing can become a reality on a smaller scale for industrial clients.
Large companies have long seen competitive advantages from such HPC simulations. General Motors is using parallel computing to simulate the crash testing of automobiles and claims that it can reduce the number of full-size crash vehicle tests by more than 85 percent, at a cost of $500,000 per test. Similarly, supercomputing simulations have reduced the amount of money that Goodyear has spent on physical tire prototypes from 40 percent to 15 percent.
"Just as the ATM has replaced the bank teller, desktop supercomputing simulations will soon replace physical testing labs," said Stan Ahalt, executive director of OSC. "Blue Collar Computing strives to help small- and medium-sized companies build better products, cut costs of production, quickly analyze and solve assembly line problems and streamline overall efficiency."
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