Thursday, June 23, 2016

An Interview With Dr. Monika Balk

We sat down with one of our Market Development Managers, Dr, Monika Balk to talk about her experience getting into the field of engineering. Monika holds a PhD from TU Darmstadt in Electrical Engineering and Computational Electromagnetics. 

Thank you so much for sitting down and talking with me. Let’s start with who you are and what you do here at CST.

My name is Monika Balk and I am a product planning manager and market development manager. That means I communicate with developers about what to develop for the next year and talk to our experts in certain fields and I provide key account support in the charged particle dynamics market- that means everything pertaining to charged particles, like electrons, within an electromagnetic field.

And what did you study at university?

I studied electrical engineering with a special focus in high-frequency engineering. I basically have become a physicist and if you asked my colleagues now, they may not realize I was originally an engineer.

Oh, so did you switch when you did your Masters?

I actually didn’t officially change, but the fields are so closely related and it just happens to be where I work the most these days.

So what first got you excited about sciences, math and engineering?

Ah yeah, so my dad basically tried to make me into a scientist quite early, but I put the LEGO bricks into my hair instead of building things. So, that wasn’t so fruitful. I actually wanted to do something with languages, maybe be a teacher, but it turned out I wasn’t very good at languages. Although I actually ended up having to always speak in a foreign language anyway. Then at a certain point, I had an excellent physics teacher and it was fun. I became quite interested and continued on that path. 

And how old were you?

I think I was 14, 15, maybe - so, old enough to have an idea that this was my direction. 
What about engineering and physics was fun for you?

So engineering is kind of like looking into problems and finding solutions. It’s like being a detective- I’m not finding murderers, but I’m finding solutions to problems and that’s very interesting.

What advice would you give to students looking to enter the field of engineering- girls in particular?

I think that it’s not necessary to be perfectly organized but you have to be curious and analytical - that’s perfect. Everything else can come later while you are learning.  I don’t think that being a woman was a disadvantage for me. I never felt I was looked at negatively. It was more the male students always showing off, they’d say some strange things. Just let them talk - you will probably already have your masters while they leave university without a degree. Just be relaxed and don’t let them scare you.

In the last three years, I have been working on magnetrons, because I find them quite exciting. They are quite complicated- they are the devices that provide the power for radar. They are also in every microwave oven and generate the fields that heat up the food. It’s a very fascinating, complicated thing but I quite like it. Last year I also worked on gyrotron simulation - that is a device that provides high power. It is interesting in terms of fusion reactor programs and that’s so important right now because we are looking to the future of providing power to people. We all need power, so that was quite interesting.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Impressions from CST European User Conference 2016

Every year, our European User Conference (EUC) gives our users from across the continent the chance to discuss their work with their peers and to meet CST engineers and developers. This year’s EUC was held on the 25th-27th April in Strasbourg. This was our first EUC in France, and it was great to see the change in makeup of participants.
Jen Krämer’s keynote talk, “Integration of Simulation into the Electronic Design Flow at FESTO” explained how FESTO AG implements CST STUDIO SUITE very early in its workflows and how it leverages simulation expertise in different projects and teams. Meanwhile, our other keynote speaker Lieven Decrock presented “From Mechanical to High-Speed Design – Twenty Years of Simulation Experience at TE Connectivity”. This was a very personal review of one of our longest-standing customers. He’s seen simulation technology grow and mature in the last two decades.
The schedule this year demonstrated the breadth of applications, in a wide range of industries, solved using CST STUDIO SUITE. Our sessions included aerospace, automotive EMC, medical devices and EDA, to name but a few. We also got the chance to show off key new features for CST STUDIO SUITE 2016 in application areas relevant to our customers. Altium presented their new Altium Designer which now includes the PDN Analyzer powered by CST®.
You will find a detailed agenda and many of these presentations on our website.

After Tuesday’s technical sessions, attendees could admire Strasbourg, a beautiful city, which is both historical and cosmopolitan. Despite the pouring rain, we enjoyed a cruise down the river Ill, from the modern European Parliament to the timber-framed medieval houses in the center. This was followed by a delicious meal of local delicacies, including tarte flambée and quiche Lorraine. 
Overall, we’re delighted with how EUC 2016 went. In fact, the conference was so full that it was barely possible to fit in all the presentations.

As a result, next year’s EUC will be a 3-day event with more time for talks and training workshops. It will take place in our hometown, Darmstadt, Germany, from 26th-28th April 2017. We will keep updating the information on our website, but for now:  Save the date!

Martin Timm
Director of Global Marketing, CST 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Rocketing to success

Congratulations to the EirSpace club at ENSEIRB-MATMECA, Bordeaux Institute of Technology,
The Project Artemis rocket lifts off

who won the Prix Espace et Industrie (Space and Industry Prize) awarded by the French government space agency CNES for their rocket, Artemis.
This is an experimental sounding rocket designed to show the team’s skill, and releases a CanSat payload. The team used CST STUDIO SUITE to design the dual-band antenna which transmits the all-important payload and telemetry data.
Antenna design for a rocket is tricky for a number of reasons. Not only does it have to be as lightweight and compact as possible, it also needs to have a wide coverage to maintain contact with the base station throughout the flight and be aerodynamic to reduce drag. The team chose to use a bicone antenna covered by the nose cone of the rocket. You can read more details about this on our website or in their article which has been published in IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters.

The antenna prototype under test
The team used an educational licence, a special low-cost licence for universities. For more information about our university program, see

Thursday, June 2, 2016

CST STUDIO SUITE 2016 Student Edition out now

Eddy currents in a copper disc in a fluctuating magnetic field.
One year ago, we launched the CST STUDIO SUITE® Student Edition, bringing state-of-the-art CST® EM simulation tools to students for free. The Student Edition was an instant success, and we’ve had thousands of downloads from students around the world. Driven by the popularity of the Student Edition, we wanted to make the software even more helpful for anyone studying electromagnetics.

For this reason, CST STUDIO SUITE 2016 Student Edition contains a new solver: the low-frequency frequency domain solver. This is a solver specially designed for the simulation of eddy currents, which come up in applications such as sensors, motors, and power engineering equipment.

The low-frequency frequency domain solver complements the solvers already available, including the static solvers and the high-frequency time domain and frequency domain solvers. Worked textbook examples are available on a range of topics, showing how the Student Edition can be used to study these applications.

For more information about CST STUDIO SUITE 2016 Student Edition or to download it, see our website.