Design optimisation for additive manufacturing

LimitState has launched its LimitState:FORM software package, which it says will ease the transition to advanced manufacturing for many design engineers needing to reduce the weight and material consumption of components. LimitState:FORM is said to enable design engineers to generate high fidelity optimised forms directly, while accelerating optimisation workflow.

Components designed with LimitState:FORM are often much lighter and more efficient than traditional forms. Rather than generating a ‘mesh’ as traditional tools do, the software creates an optimised parametric geometry form that can be inspected and edited directly. The optimisation technology used means that LimitState:FORM tends to get closer to the mathematical optimum than other methods. It also reports how close a solution is to the likely mathematical optimum, taking guesswork out of the optimisation process.

“LimitState:FORM is the only tool to include both layout optimisation and geometry optimisation, generating a model that can be worked on immediately with standard CAD tools,” said LimitState managing director Matthew Gilbert. “Optimisation is a crucial technique in next generation engineering design, targeting production methods such as additive manufacturing. Making optimisation tools which are both more effective and easier to use represents a milestone for the industry.”

The software is already in use at advanced manufacturing research centre The Mercury Centre, where it has produced more efficient component forms than was possible using other tools. LimitState has worked closely with a number of industry partners to develop the software, optimising parts used in aero engines, automotive components and satellite construction.

“Optimisation is crucial to advanced manufacturing and LimitState:FORM generates consistent, repeatable results, with no fudged parameters - and it’s easy to assess the lattice structures produced”, said Iain Todd, director, Mercury Centre, Sheffield. “It’s a genuinely ground-breaking tool.”