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Technology symbiosis - ALM (3D Print) and simulation driven design at the 6. EATC in Turin

Press Contact:
Evelyn Gebhardt
Blue Gecko Marketing GmbH
Tel.: +49 6421 9684351

Company Contact:
Peter Roberts
Altair Engineering
Tel.: +44 (0)1926 468 600

ALM session at the European Altair Technology Conference in Turin received a very positive response, opinion leaders in additive manufacturing presented their developments and discussed the current and future challenges

Böblingen – May 14, 2013 – Altair, developer of the popular HyperWorks computer-aided engineering software and engineering service provider, organized a technical session and a round table discussion on the topic “Technology Symbiosis Topology Optimization and ALM (Additive Layer Manufacturing)”, also known as 3D printing, on April 23rd in Turin as part of the European Altair Technology Conference.

In the technical session a representative of the Airbus Endowed Professorship, engineers from EADS, a representative from EOS, researchers of the RWTH Aachen, and members of the ILT Fraunhofer and the TU Hamburg Harburg presented their work in the area of additive manufacturing. The session was moderated by Dr. Ming Zhou, Vice President FE Solvers and Optimization, Altair.

After the technical session, a round table discussion, moderated by Ming Zhou and James Dagg, Senior Vice President of Software Development, solidThinking, addressed how to leverage the full potential of resource-friendly component design by applying simulation driven design methods. In addition, the discussion also addressed the commercial aspects of ALM as well as further research and development needs in this area. All experts agreed on topology optimization offering the best way to unlock the light weight potential related to this manufacturing method.

The participants identified the key challenges of ALM and the related technologies, including:

  • The majority of designers and construction engineers are still thinking in classic manufacturing pattern since they are not used to ALM realization which requires a fundamental rethinking in the development process. Despite the enormous design freedom, ALM has its own manufacturing boundaries to be considered in the component design. One of them being that in 3D printing, overhanging structures or so called support structures are needed, which have to be removed in a later manufacturing step.
  • A better knowledge of material properties used within ALM is required to ensure an efficient design of the components.
  • Currently there are many different ALM technologies in the market – one type of 3D printing is not the same as another 3D printing method. For every process it is important to understand its details and to know the process parameters to simulate and predict the component’s behavior.
  • Currently there is no official process qualification in place, which means, that especially mission critical components require an enormous validation effort to prove component safety for a final certification.

However, the benefits of the symbiosis between topology optimization and ALM are obvious. Topology optimization offers the best way to create application and load specific structures and enables the industry to unlock the enormous lightweight design potential related to use of ALM structures. ALM constraints can be used as manufacturing boundary conditions in OptiStruct have been shown and discussed to reduce further manufacturing treatments and to minimize material usage. Besides design and structural definition, material validation and especially a certification of the processes and the components are challenges to overcome before the parts can be used for example in primary structures of aircrafts. In this context the detailed understanding of the manufacturing process and the ability to simulate it plays an important role.

Despite the barriers and challenges it is worthwhile to use topology optimization for ALM components since the weight saving potential is enormous. By combining the two methods, a weight saving of up to 60 % can be achieved, compared to traditionally manufactured parts and the ongoing development of both the simulation and the manufacturing method promises cost savings with this so far relatively cost intensive production method.

“The meeting with the developers of the manufacturing and software technology, product developers, and researchers was a fruitful exchange between experts, which improved the understanding of the upcoming challenges and tasks,” said Mirko Bromberger, Marketing Principal, Altair. “All participants of the subsequent round table agreed on both technologies representing a symbiotic link and identified that topology optimization should become the standard process in the design of ALM components.”

“Seeing all these results, it is clear that Topology Optimization is the best way to unlock the lightweight potential that is brought by these new manufacturing technologies,” said Wolfgang Machunze, EADS. “Although we have seen that the process from structure identification to structure realization still requires some further efforts, the symbiotic combination of these technologies is evident."

The presentations of the ALM session from technology developers, users, and research institutes will soon be available on the event’s website and will include the following papers:

For more than 20 years, Altair has developed OptiStruct, a tool with which completely new shapes can be discovered by leveraging topology optimization. This technology inspires lightweight design and significantly contributes to saving thousands of tons of material usage and as a result contributes to reduced CO2 emissions. The software solidThinking Inspire makes this technology available also for designers and design engineers, which means that optimization is not exclusively reserved for experts and can be leveraged already in the design phase of a component.

About Altair
Altair empowers client innovation and decision-making through technology that optimizes the analysis, management and visualization of business and engineering information. Privately held, with more than 1,800 employees, Altair has offices throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific. With a 27-year-plus track record for high-end software for engineering and computing, enterprise analytics solutions, and innovative product design and development, Altair consistently delivers a competitive advantage to customers in a broad range of industries. To learn more, please visit www.altair.com or www.simulatetoinnovate.com.

Further information:
For more information about the symbiotic combination of topology optimization and additive manufacturing, please visit: http://www.altairhyperworks.co.uk/technology/Files/Papers/EADS.pdf

Here is a current example:

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