Efficient Engineering Through Topology Optimisation
Machined parts have often been made thicker than they need to be in order to ensure they have the necessary strength and durability. The tendency has been to err on the side of caution, resulting in heavier than necessary components being produced.
Topology optimisation changes all that by producing more efficient designs that are devoid of excess weight. This provides all sorts of benefits to the buyers of the component parts that result.
What Topology Optimisation Is?
Topology design is usually associated with Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and is part of the overall design process. It’s also often used with additive design processes, otherwise known as 3D printing, where a product is built up in layers.
The overall aim is to reduce the weight of a component while not detracting from its strength or efficiency. Performance and efficiency are of great importance and material reduction is achieved without adversely affecting them. The process is regularly used in aerospace and other industries where weight is a major consideration.
One of the most common challenges for engineering services in Australia has been how to reduce the weight of a component and the material used in it while still retaining the strength needed. Topology design optimisation answers this challenge mathematically by identifying where material can be removed from a design.
The process uses finite element analysis to determine the areas of a manufactured part that are not structurally important. It does this by simulating the stress distribution that the part undergoes when subjected to external forces resulting from specified loads on identified supports.
Those sections not subjected to internal stress can be removed and the stress distribution is constantly re-evaluated as this occurs within set boundaries and constraints. Multiple loads can be specified and combined, and results can be easily verified
The outcome is an object that is lighter and uses less material but still performs as well, if not better. The process, however, takes no account of how the finished component will look and may produce designs that are difficult to manufacture. Consequently, there is sometimes a need for human intervention to fine-tune the result to achieve something more practical.
The Benefits Of Topology Design Optimisation
Since the overall aim of the process is to remove unnecessary material from a part, several benefits result:
- Manufacturing costs are less due to lower material use and shorter production cycles.
- Lighter components will cause lower operating and maintenance costs due to reduced friction on moving parts. This causes less wear on the parts and lower energy use as a result.
- Transport costs are less due to lighter weight.
- Production is more sustainable due to fewer resources being used.
- Automation of the process means that design, product development and manufacture should be achieved in considerably less time.
The human element in the process should not be forgotten or underestimated. We have many years of experience in designing and manufacturing parts for all sorts of industries. Consequently, we can ensure everything we produce is as reliable and efficient as it can be and that you’ll obtain maximum benefit from topology optimisation.