Press Release updated: Sep 27, 2017 17:27 BST

Design optimisation has now become a necessary process for generating new designs, eliminating design issues, and minimising component mass. For a long time this has been done manually, and by many design engineers it still is, but generative design programs can provide better results in a significantly reduced timescale. One company, GRM Consulting, is delivering state-of-the-art lightweighting technologies through the intelligent use of design optimisation software. Either integrated into existing design systems or used as standalone tools, they can help make parts smaller, lighter and stronger, as well as cutting down on development time that would usually have been needed for manually optimising the part.

Genesis, one of GRM’s flagship pieces of software, provides the most advanced optimisation capabilities of any FE solver on the market. Its high-performance capabilities have now been integrated into the engineering analysis packages ABAQUS and ANSYS, bringing its capabilities to some of the most popular design and analysis applications on the market.

Generative design is a design process that imitates the way that evolution in the natural world creates optimal structures. With the aim of either improving part performance or reducing part mass, the design is passed through the program along with some loading conditions, and some optimisation objectives and constraints. The program then identifies where the part needs more material, and where it can be cut down. This refined part is then handed back to the design engineers and manufacturers, who use it to create a production-ready design.

First, the design space for the optimisation is defined, seen in fig.1. This sets out the maximum space that the part can occupy while still performing its function. Then Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is set up for the key load cases. This defines the loads which the part can be expected to endure in use.

The second part of the process is the actual optimisation itself. Using the design space, the applied load cases and the optimisation objectives and constraints, the software then progresses through a generative design process, where it iterates through a number of design cycles, in order to remove any unnecessary material, leaving you with the optimal design of your part. Once this is done you have the theoretically ideal design – which can be seen in fig. 2.

However, the technically ideal design is not necessarily one that lends itself easily to manufacturing. As a result engineers and manufacturers will work together to take the optimal part design and adapt it into something that is suitable for production, whether that’s through traditional fabrication methods such as casting or machining, or newer advanced production methods such as additive manufacturing. To avoid any unintended faults this design is then passed through FEA again, ensuring it can withstand the forces it will operate under in use. The final product can be seen in fig. 3.

The Benefits of Design Optimisation Software

Guides new designs – By applying the technology at the concept design phase, engineers will be led towards the most structurally efficient use of material and therefore the lightest design.

Identifies and resolves design issues – Using the Finite Element (FE) method, GENESIS can quickly identify areas where designs need to improve and then use any number of structural optimisation techniques (topology, sizing, shape, topometry, topography) to improve the design in the most efficient way possible.

Reduces mass and material cost of existing designs – Based on the applied loads and the required performance criteria, GENESIS can quickly identify which part of an existing design is surplus to requirements and remove it, leaving only the key structural load paths necessary for your part.

Reduces development time – By guiding engineers towards the most structurally efficient use of material, GENESIS can help reduce the time spent designing and therefore minimise the time to market.

You can read more about GRM Consulting and their work in design optimisation on their website. They can also be contacted by phone at +44 1926 889300.

Media Contact:
David Smith
+44 845 8128000
[email protected]

Source: GRM Consulting

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