How do you design for least cost and lightest weight? We all need to improve our products by removing material to save costs and the environment – but how do you do that without compromising structural integrity and performance? Furthermore, if your products are driven on the roads or sail the oceans or fly in the air or are transported around the world, how do you reduce their weight to save on fuel?
The answer is usually to rely on experience or structural knowledge or to copy a better design from a competitor, but even then, it is likely that you will need to try multiple ideas and run many simulations and probably build many prototypes before the most efficient design is discovered costing you money and time.
There must be a more intelligent way! And there is. It is a method called ‘Topology Optimisation’ which really means mathematically determining the ideal shape whilst taking into account the structural performance needs. Fortunately there is now an affordable partner product to SOLIDWORKS called TRUFORM that will give you the best design without the costs and delays that come with the usual ‘trial and error’ process.
There is a simple workflow for this is as follows …
1. Create a ‘design space’ as a body in SOLIDWORKS.
2. Run a SOLIDWORKS Static Simulation study to determine the stresses.
3. Run a TRUFORM study and specify the stress study and your target mass.
4. Use the output from TRUFORM (either an stl or a solid body) to design a manufacturable part based on the TRUFORM results.
You can also apply this method to existing designs to either remove material (if the weight or mass is too high) or add material in the best place (if the part is failing).
More details and a demonstration are found in this webcast:
… and a video sequence to illustrate the material savings you can make is below.
If you are using SOLIDWORKS 2015 or 2016 and you wish to give Truform a go then why not try a FREE 30 day trial.