After Two Decades of Working With TK Solver
User Still Says, ‘It’s Such a Handy Tool’

It was the early 1980’s, and Jim Helmick had just begun the second decade of his mechanical engineering career, working for a maker of earth station satellite antennas and radio telescopes. He saw an ad for TK Solver in a trade magazine.
Jim Helmick  
Home: Houston, Texas
TK User Since: Early 1980s
Uses TK For: Analysis of wastewater treatment plant components
“I ordered a demo, which had a maximum of, I think, 25 variables but actually was very useful,” Helmick says. “It was the DOS version; my first copy was on 5 ¼-inch floppies. I used it a lot, and convinced the company to buy the Windows version. We used it for all types of analysis—bolted connections, programming AISC (American Institute of Steel Construction) calculations, structures—just about anything. It’s such a handy tool.”

Today Helmick is senior mechanical engineer, based in Houston, for Ashbrook Simon-Hartley Operations, a world leader in the manufacture of wastewater treatment equipment—belt filter presses, fluid control gates, complete packaged plants and other components for treating municipal and industrial sludges.

TK Solver is still there for Jim Helmick, and for much the same uses, he says—“AISC calculations, structural design and analysis, some heat transfer, piping losses, things like that.”

Helmick’s TK models are straight-ahead engineering, he says: “Inputs and outputs can be anything that appears in an equation in an engineering text.” The extreme of complexity is represented by a model based on the David Taylor Model Basin formulas for external pressure on submerged tanks—with 25 rules and 30 variables.

Whether the problem is simple or complex, the solution for Helmick is very simple: “You just put those equations straight into TK; it strips out the variables, you put in your comments and units, solve, and there it is.”

”TK is better for repetitive calculations because you do the work one time,” Helmick says. ”It doesn’t care if the variable is on the right side or the left side of the equal sign. You don’t have to explicitly write the equations, like you do in Mathcad. And the Report Writer makes it easy to save and distribute the information.”

Among other new features of TK 5.0, Helmick says he really likes MathLook View. “It makes it easy to troubleshoot equations, make certain you got all the parentheses right,” he says. Helmick hasn’t used the Solution Optimizer, but sees its usefulness—in designing a compression spring, for example: “It has to fit in a certain space, have a certain spring rate and collapsed height,” he says. “You change one variable, and they all change.”
He praises UTS tech support: “Tech support has been great. I didn’t have to wait, and I got the answer I needed. No problems whatsoever.”
“I’ve really just scratched the surface of what TK is capable of,” Jim Helmick, working engineer, says after two decades with TK Solver, “and it’s extremely useful, even at this point. I enthusiastically recommend TK Solver to anyone who deals in mathematical calculations and wants to simplify their job!”