Additive Manufacturing is the encompassing definition for all applications of the technology. It has been defined as the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer by layer, which is why it is popularly known in many cases as 3D printing.
Over the past 5 years there has been a significant advancement in Additive Manufacturing technologies. Supporting this development there has been a drive by software developers, such as GRM, to investigate and develop new ways to determine the optimum structural designs, taking advantage of these new manufacturing methods.
Whilst methods will continue to be refined and improved, the discussion should perhaps be how to better make the connection between engineers designing additively manufactured parts and these well suited optimisation tools.
For a decade GRM have been developing, and delivering Topology Optimisation software solutions, which will enable designers from any industry to be able to create designs which lend themselves to additive manufacturing. These tools include the enterprise solution VR&D Genesis, and integrated products for ANSYS, Abaqus and SolidWorks. All these tools utilise Topology Optimisation to create lighter designs, sometimes using lattice structures.
As an example, the process of Topology and free-shape optimisation available in the long established tool VR&D Genesis, has been applied to the internal lattice of a turbine blade. The optimisation very efficiently determines which lattices should be used through Topology. Additionally, the inclusion of free-shape optimisation to the lattice intersection points allows Genesis to freely optimise the orientation of the lattices to optimally support the structural loading.
On our website you can view examples of where GRM have used well-established optimisation tools in the ever growing and exciting field of additive manufacturing. We look forward to how technology will continue to grow this field, and the more complex designs being able to be produced on a daily basis.