Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Intricacy Of 3D Printing

3D printing is a pretty interesting form of manufacturing technology in my opinion. It gives designers, artists, engineers, computer graphic artists, or whatever - a chance to design and create products. These "products" can do pretty much whatever you need them to in a sense. 3D printing is a form of manufacturing that involves the use of over 100 materials, thus giving designers a chance to produce a product out of almost any material. Think about that: with 3D printing, a designer can create a product out of almost any material necessary. Let me go into further details.
Imagine you're working for NASA or Red-bull and you are trying to work on a highly classified and custom engine to a certain jet. Well, you can't simply go to Home-Depot to pick up the part you are looking for in many cases, you have to build it yourself! These facilities often use CNC machining methods to produce parts, but 3D printing can take an edge in some situations. 3D printing allows for the creation of practically anything out of a very wide variety of materials. This technology, also referred to as additive manufacturing, can do some very interesting stuff that other forms of manufacturing simply cannot. Let me elaborate.
3D printing works with a layer by layer process which uses a CAM system, or a computer aided manufacturing system. Only one layer of material is made at a time, allowing for the creation of some seriously intricate things. What does this mean? Imagine a very intricate city, in the form of a 3D model. There are lots of sky scrapers, buildings, water parks, landmarks, statues, etc. Remember, this city is captured in a 3D model, which we want to manufacture. Imagine placing this intricate city inside of a ball. Keep in mind, the ball must be able to fit in the palm of your hand, so the resolution and detail tolerance must be high. If you try to take the 3D model of a city within a ball to a machine shop, you will be let down - it simply cannot be done! However, with 3D printing, this is very possible. Let's go back to the layer by layer process I mentioned earlier.
Through 3D printing, a machine will lay down very small layers of material down in accordance to the design. Sometimes the detail level is a fraction of a millimeter. Think about this city being constructed from 3D printing. Small buildings, stop signs, cars, and various landmarks are being made.25 millimeters at a time, all while laying down material for the ball which encompasses the city. The end product will result in a ball with a miniature city inside of it. This is very possible through 3D printing, other forms of manufacturing simply cannot do this.
This manufacturing technology is very good for creating very intricate models like the one I mentioned earlier, among other things. There are so many possibilities with this technology that I can't even count them! 3D printing is, and will continue to change the world.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Water Modeling Systems - Groundwater Modeling

The simplest water modeling systems treat water molecules as rigid and depend only on non-bonded interactions. Climate changes and altering human pressures on our environment call for us to have foresights about the future sustainability of water resources and thus necessitating the use of water modeling.
Groundwater models are used by hydrogeologists and can be defined as computer models of groundwater flow systems. Groundwater models are utilized to simulate and foretell aquifer conditions. Groundwater modeling research focuses on the development and application of groundwater models to enhance the understanding of hydrological and groundwater processes. Groundwater modeling research also allows future predictions to be made.
Groundwater simulation research is undertaken in collaboration with those research institutes and other universities, industries, environmental regulators, government and non-government organizations who address a broad range of environmental issues including:
- Effects of climate change on groundwater resources 
- Impact of CO2 injection and underground storage on water resources 
- Changes in groundwater flood and drought occurrence 
- Effect of agricultural pollution on water quality 
- Quantification of national water resources 
- Impacts of groundwater abstraction on rivers 
- Development of new public groundwater supplies 
- Effectiveness of flood alleviation schemes 
- Effectiveness of ground source heating and cooling schemes 
- Movement of contaminants through groundwater systems

In addition to several research activities, the geological survey institutes undertake water modeling projects for several commercial clients. Groundwater modeling specialists need to be skilled in both applying existing modeling tools as well as in developing personalized software in order to provide healthy answers to the clients' questions.
Geological survey institutes develop different kinds of groundwater modeling software tools to simulate groundwater systems at a range of scales. To answer various questions related to environmental change, today's research is becoming more interdisciplinary. This entails the integration of models of various compartments of the water cycle. To facilitate this, different software tools are implemented to enable different models to interact with each other. New technologies are being used to link various separate models to those of other environmental software developers. This has been used in the past to simulate the processes that have taken place in Oxford during the fluvial-driven groundwater floods during July 2007.
Various other surveys using groundwater models are also used to predict the effects of various hydrological changes such as irrigation developments on the behavior of the aquifer or groundwater abstraction and are often termed as groundwater simulation models. Nowadays, various groundwater models are also used in different water management plans for urban areas.
A ground-water model's applicability to a real situation depends on the accurateness of the input data and the parameters. As different parameters are reasonably variable in space, expert judgment is required to arrive at representative values. Groundwater models are known to be found in various dimensions - one-dimensional, two-dimensional, three-dimensional and also semi-three-dimensional.
A water simulation's computational cost increases with the number of interaction sites in a water model. When rigid water modeling systems are used in molecular dynamics, an additional cost crops up - related to keeping the structure constrained by using constraint algorithms.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Reducing Costs Through Managed Network Services

Cost reduction is always a major area of concern for small to medium-sized businesses. The growing uncertainty in the economy is forcing business owners to be even more creative to sustain growth and maintain profit margins.
One area of focus is the IT department or use of technology as part of daily business operations. Networks, servers, PCs, laptops, software and related equipment must all be maintained and enhanced to not only ensure business continuity but also enable customer interaction to occur at the highest level.
However, most small to mid-sized firms lack the resources to fully staff an IT department. Often they wait for an emergency to occur before addressing a technology need or incur large project fees for equipment changes and upgrades. They may also be unaware of newer cost-saving programs and hardware, and/or lack the knowledge base of how to implement them.
To deal with these issues many professional technology firms now offer an affordable alternative for smaller businesses. It is a program called Managed Network Services. This service is provided on an outsourced basis. It provides a smaller company with top-of-the-line professional IT services without the costs of employment and related benefits.
For a relatively small monthly fee a business owner is able to receive full professional support including strategic IT planning, 24 x 7 network/server monitoring, help desk, automatic upgrades, backup, consulting, problem solving, and on-site repair as necessary. The infrastructure is constantly monitored to remedy potential problems before they occur.
The firm's engineers can create a plan that addresses a business' technology needs for both now and in the future. They can make recommendations for implementing new software and/or hardware which can help streamline business operations. They can discuss integration of wireless networks and voice, data and video integration on the same shared infrastructure. The team can address mobile devices and how to deal with security issues across multiple wireless platforms.
Cloud services are generating much publicity and businesses are studying their impact. The technology team can determine if adding some of these services is advisable with a company's current IT infrastructure. Utilizing virtualization may not be an alternative for most businesses and many would still need the expertise of professional engineers to ensure their implementation and optimal performance.
Contracting with an IT firm helps companies cope with the desire to purchase the "latest and greatest" hardware or software. It puts a strategic plan in place and eliminates the urge to buy certain programs and waste funds on unnecessary expenditures.
As the need to maintain and increase profit levels becomes more challenging, implementing a Managed Network Services program provides a sound alternative to beefing up staff and fixed expenses. It enables business owners to utilize highly skilled technology professionals in a way that is efficient and extremely cost-effective.