In its latest release, ANSYS SpaceClaim further integrates its ease of use and rapid geometry manipulation capabilities into common simulation workflows. From large changes to behind the scenes enhancements, you’ll notice efficiency improvements across the board. You’ll save time automating geometry tasks with the expanded recording and replay capabilities of SpaceClaim’s enhanced scripting environment.
Join PADT’s Application Engineer Tyler Smith for this webinar and learn about several improvements that are guaranteed to save time, enhance your designs and improve overall usability. We’ll cover:
Continued development of SpaceClaim’s scripting environment. With expanded recording capabilities and replayability of scripts on model versions, you’ll save time in the steps needed to automate geometry tasks.
Faceted data optimization and smoothing enhancements. You can greatly simplify and smooth topology optimized STL data for downstream printing, while preserving the integrity of localized regions.
Lattice Infilling for additive manufacturing. The Infilling functionality has greatly expanded to include several lattice infill types, all with custom options to ensure your 3-D printed component has an ideal strength-to-weight relationship.
Exploration of inner details of a model with the new fly-through capability. Without hiding components or using cross sections, this capability provides graphical feedback at your fingertips while making it even more enjoyable to work in a 3-D environment.
Nearly everything has an optimal operating temperature and thermal condition. Millions of dollars each year are spent generating and transporting thermal energy to achieve thermal goals. Thermal optimization not only improves the economy of transporting energy, maintaining building temperatures, manufacturing processes and products, it improves their efficiency as well. Engineers use simulation to reveal detailed pictures of thermal processes, providing a deep understanding of all aspects of thermal management.
Join our experts for this Webinar to learn how you can capture thermal processes in powerful simulations, seamlessly identify multiphysics interactions that impact performance, and quickly achieve thermal optimization using integrated design optimization tools.
This webinar is presented by Richard Mitchell and Xiao Hu
Richard Mitchell is the Lead Product Marketing Manager for Structures. He joined ANSYS in 2006 working in pre-sales and support roles. Before this Richard was an ANSYS user working for a high tech company in the UK. He worked as an analyst on space and vacuum tube technologies.
Xiao is a principal engineer at ANSYS Inc. Xiao has spent a combined 12 years of his career at ANSYS and Fluent corporation working with customers in the modeling and simulation of powertrain related applications. Xiao spent his earlier years with Fluent working on engine CFD applications.
Keep checking back to the Energy Innovation Homepage for more updates on upcoming segments, webinars, and other additional content.
Information regarding the next topic in the Breakthrough Energy Innovation Campaign has been released, covering Thermal Optimization and how ANSYS simulation software can be used to help solve a variety of issues related to this topic, as well as capture all thermal processes.
Additional content regarding thermal optimization can be viewed and downloaded here.
This is the next topic of a campaign that covers five main topics:
What is Topological Optimization? If you’re not familiar with the concept, in finite element terms it means performing a shape optimization utilizing mesh information to achieve a goal such as minimizing volume subject to certain loads and constraints. Unlike parameter optimization such as with ANSYS DesignXplorer, we are not varying geometry parameters. Rather, we’re letting the program decide on an optimal shape based on the removal of material, accomplished by deactivating mesh elements. If the mesh is fine enough, we are left with an ‘organic’ sculpted shape elements. Ideally we can then create CAD geometry from this organic looking mesh shape. ANSYS SpaceClaim has tools available to facilitate doing this.
Topological optimization has seen a return to prominence in the last couple of years due to advances in additive manufacturing. With additive manufacturing, it has become much easier to make parts with the organic shapes resulting from topological optimization. ANSYS has had topological optimization capability both in Mechanical APDL and Workbench in the past, but the capabilities as well as the applications at the time were limited, so those tools eventually died off. New to the fold are ANSYS ACT Extensions for Topological Optimization in ANSYS Mechanical for versions 17.0, 17.1, and 17.2. These are free to customers with current maintenance and are available on the ANSYS Customer Portal.
In deciding to write this piece, I decided an interesting example would be the brace that is part of all curved saxophones. This brace connects the bell to the rest of the saxophone body, and provides stiffness and strength to the instrument. Various designs of this brace have been used by different manufacturers over the years. Since saxophone manufacturers like those in other industries are often looking for product differentiation, the use of an optimized organic shape in this structural component could be a nice marketing advantage.
This article is not intended to be a technical discourse on the principles behind topological optimization, nor is it intended to show expertise in saxophone design. Rather, the intent is to show an example of the kind of work that can be done using topological optimization and will hopefully get the creative juices flowing for lots of ANSYS users who now have access to this capability.
That being said, here are some images of example bell to body braces in vintage and modern saxophones. Like anything collectible, saxophones have fans of various manufacturers over the years, and horns going back to production as early as the 1920’s are still being used by some players. The older designs tend to have a simple thin brace connecting two pads soldered to the bell and body on each end. Newer designs can include rings with pivot connections between the brace and soldered pads.
Hopefully those examples show there can be variation in the design of this brace, while not largely tampering with the musical performance of the saxophone in general. The intent was to pick a saxophone part that could undergo topological optimization which would not significantly alter the musical characteristics of the instrument.
The first step was to obtain a CAD model of a saxophone body. Since I was not able to easily find one freely available on the internet that looked accurate enough to be useful, I created my own in ANSYS SpaceClaim using some basic measurements of an example instrument. I then modeled a ‘blob’ of material at the brace location. The idea is that the topological optimization process will remove non-needed material from this blob, leaving an optimized shape after a certain level of volume reduction.
In ANSYS Mechanical, the applied boundary conditions consisted of frictionless support constraints at the thumb rest locations and a vertical displacement constraint at the attachment point for the neck strap. Acceleration due to gravity was applied as well. Other loads, such as sideways inertial acceleration, could have been considered as well but were ignored for the sake of simplicity for this article. The material property used was brass, with values taken from Shigley and Mitchell’s Mechanical Engineering Design text, 1983 edition.
This plot shows the resulting displacement distribution due to the gravity load:
Now that things are looking as I expect, the next step is performing the topological optimization.
Once the topological optimization ACT Extension has been downloaded from the ANSYS Customer Portal and installed, ANSYS Mechanical will automatically include a Topological Optimization menu:
I set the Design Region to be the blog of material that I want to end up as the optimized brace. I did a few trials with varying mesh refinement. Obviously, the finer the mesh, the smoother the surface of the optimized shape as elements that are determined to be unnecessary are removed from consideration. The optimization Objective was set to minimize compliance (maximize stiffness). The optimization Constraint was set to volume at 30%, meaning reduce the volume to 30% of the current value of the ‘blob’.
After running the solution and plotting Averaged Node Values, we can see the ANSYS-determined optimized shape:
What is apparent when looking at these shapes is that the ‘solder patch’ where the brace attaches to the bell on one end and the body on the other end was allowed to be reduced. For example, in the left image we can see that a hole has been ‘drilled’ through the patch that would connect the brace to the body. On the other end, the patch has been split through the middle, making it look something like an alligator clip.
Another optimization run was performed in which the solder pads were held as surfaces that were not to be changed by the optimization. The resulting optimized shape is shown here:
Noticing that my optimized shape seemed on the thick side when compared to production braces, I then changed the ‘blob’ in ANSYS SpaceClaim so that it was thinner to start with. With ANSYS it’s very easy to propagate geometry changes as all of the simulation and topological optimizations settings stay tied to the geometry as long as the topology of those items stays the same.
Here is the thinner chunk after making a simple change in ANSYS SpacClaim:
And here is the result of the topological optimization using the thinner blob as the starting point:
Using the ANSYS SpaceClaim Direct Modeler, the faceted STL file that results from the ANSYS topological optimization can be converted into a geometry file. This can be done in a variety of ways, including a ‘shrink wrap’ onto the faceted geometry as well as surfaces fit onto the facets. Another option is to fit geometry in a more general way in an around the faceted result. These methods can also be combined. SpaceClaim is really a great tool for this. Using SpaceClaim and the topological optimization (faceted) result, I came up with three different ‘looks’ of the optimized part.
Using ANSYS Workbench, it’s very easy to plug the new geometry component into the simulation model that I already had setup and run in ANSYS Mechanical using the ‘blob’ as the brace in the original model. I then checked the displacement and stress results to see how they compared.
First, we have an organic looking shape that is mostly faithful to the results from the topological optimization run. This image is from ANSYS SpaceClaim, after a few minutes of ‘digital filing and sanding’ work on the STL faceted geometry output from ANSYS Mechanical.
This shows the resulting deflection from this first, ‘organic’ candidate:
The next candidate is one where more traditional looking solid geometry was created in SpaceClaim, using the topological optimization result as a guide. This is what it looks like:
This is the same configuration, but showing it in place within the saxophone bell and body model in ANSYS SpaceClaim:
Next, here is the deformation result for our simple loading condition using this second geometry configuration:
The third and final design candidate uses the second set of geometry as a starting point, and then adds a bit of style while still maintaining the topological optimization shape as an overall guide. Here is this third candidate in ANSYS SpaceClaim:
Here are is the resulting displacement distribution using this design:
This shows the maximum principal stress distribution within the brace for this candidate:
Again, I want to emphasize that this was a simple example and there are other considerations that could have been included, such as loading conditions other than acceleration due to gravity. Also, while it’s simple to include modal analysis results, in the interest of brevity I have not included them here. The main point is that topological optimization is a tool available within ANSYS Mechanical using the ACT extension that’s available for download on the customer portal. This is yet another tool available to us within our ANSYS simulation suite. It is my hope that you will also explore what can be done with this tool.
Regarding this effort, clearly a next step would be to 3D print one or more of these designs and test it out for real. Time permitting, we’ll give that a try at some point in the future.
Joining Two of PADT’s Favorite Things: Simulation and 3D Printing
Recent advances in Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) have removed barriers to manufacturing certain geometry because of constraints in traditional manufacturing methods. Although you can make almost any shape, how do you figure out what shape to make. Using ANSYS products you can apply topological optimization to come up with a free-form shape that best meets your needs, and that can be made with Additive Manufacturing.
A few months ago we presented some background information on how to drive the design of this type of part using ANSYS tools to a few of our customers. It was a well received so we cleaned it up a bit (no guarantee there all the typos are gone) and recorded the presentation. Here it is on YouTube
Let us know what you think and if you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
When Desktop Engineering needed a subject matter expert on Topological Optimization and its use to drive product development, they called on PADT’s Manoj Mahendran. The article “Your Optimization Software Respectfully Suggests a Revision” gives a great overview of how designs can be driven by the use of Topological Optimization. They also mention a few of the more common tools, and with Manoj’s help, discuss the importance of 3D Printing to the process. An important take away is how these tools can be used to suggest design changes to the designer.
We are very pleased to announce that we have added another great partner to our product portfolio: Vanderplaats Research Development. VR&D is a leading provider of structural optimization tools for simulation, and a strong partner with ANSYS. We came across their Genesis and GTAM products when we were looking for a good topological optimization tool for one of our ANSYS customers. We quickly found it to be a great compliment, especially for the growing need to support optimization for parts made with 3D Printing.
Please find the official press release below or as a PDF file. You can also learn more about the products on our website here. We hope to schedule some webinars on this tool, and publish some blog articles, in the coming months.
As always, feel free to contact us for more information.
PADT is now a reseller of the GTAM and GENESIS optimization tools from Vanderplaats R&D, offering leading structural geometry and topological optimization tools to enable simulation for components made with 3D Printing
Tempe, AZ – March 24, 2015 – Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT, Inc.), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and 3D Printing services and products, is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc. (VR&D) for PADT to become a distributor of VR&D’s industry leading structural optimization tools in the Southwestern United States. These powerful tools will be offered alongside ANSYS Mechanical as a way for PADT’s customers to use topological optimization and shape optimization to determine the best geometry for their products.
The GENESIS program is a Finite Element solver written by leaders in the optimization space. It offers sizing, shape, topography, topometry, freeform, and topology optimization algorithms. No other tool delivers so many methods for users to determine the ideal configuration for their mechanical components. These methods can be used in conjunction with static, modal, random vibration, heat transfer, and buckling simulations. More information on GENESIS can be found at http://www.vrand.com/Genesis.html.
PADT recommends that ANSYS Mechanical users who require topological optimization access GENESIS through the GENESIS Topology for ANSYS Mechanical tool, or GTAM. This extension runs inside ANSYS Mechanical, allowing users the ability to use their ANSYS models and the ANSYS user interface while still accessing the power of GENESIS. The extension allows the user to setup the topology optimization problem, optimize, post-processing, export optimized geometry all within ANSYS Mechanical user interface.
“We had a customer ask us to find a topological optimization solution for optimizing the shape of a part they were manufacturing with 3D Printing. We tried GTAM and immediately found it to be the type of technically superior tool we like to represent” commented Ward Rand, a co-owner of PADT. “It didn’t take our engineers long to learn it and after receiving great support from VR&D, we knew this was a tool we should add to our portfolio.”
Besides reselling the tool, PADT is adopting both GENESIS and GTAM as their internal tools for shape optimization in support of their growing consulting in the area of design and simulation for Additive Manufacturing, popularly known as 3D Printing. PADT combines these with ANSYS SpaceClaim and Geomagic Studio to design and optimize components that will be created using 3D Printing.
“We are thrilled to partner with PADT because of their deep knowledge in simulation, additive manufacturing, and 3D printing and for their extraordinary ability to help their clients”, stated Juan Pablo Leiva, President and COO of VR&D, “We feel that their unique talents are crucial in supporting clients in today’s demanding and changing market.”
About Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies
Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering service company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping products and services. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and an experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.“ With over 75 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, its Littleton, Colorado office, Albuquerque, New Mexico office, and Murray, Utah office, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.
About Vanderplaats Research & Development
Since its founding in 1984, Vanderplaats Research & Development, Inc. (VR&D) has advocated for the advancement of numerical optimization in industry. The company is a premier software company, developing and marketing a number of design optimization tools, providing professional services and training, and engaging in ongoing advanced research. VR&D products include GENESIS, GTAM, VisualDOC, Design Studio, SMS, DOT, and BIGDOT. For more information on VR&D, please visit: www.vrand.com.