Optimizing Designs with LimitState:FORM

New tool simplifies design optimization for AM.

A daily struggle for engineers is how to remove weight while maintaining or adding strength to their designs. For years, engineers were limited to what could be easily manufactured.

Now that additive manufacturing (AM) is changing the landscape of what can be manufactured, design software companies are developing software that can calculate a lightweight optimized design while maintaining the strength of the component.

LimitState has just released LimitState:FORM, a conceptual design tool that offers a unique approach to this calculation.

The vast majority of the software that performs the weight reduction and optimization calculations relies on an irregular mesh. The mesh is a guide for where weight can be removed. On the other hand, LimitState:FORM can identify a high-fidelity optimized lattice design in a matter of minutes.

LimitState:FORM also allows users to directly interact with the solution. If adjustments need to be made to the model, users can adjust their models by accessing some built-in tools, powered by ANSYS SpaceClaim. As the model is adjusted, the calculations are updated to show the impact of the change.

LimitState:FORM is also unique in that it optimizes layout and geometry at the same time. According to the company, the software’s calculations will result in a model that is closest to the mathematically optimal design. The LimitState:FORM interface also reports just how close a solution is to the mathematical optimum. 

An airbrake hinge designed by today’s manufacturing standards for the Bloodhound supersonic car using traditional CAD tools. (Image courtesy of LimitState.)

The same airbrake component designed utilizing LimitState:FORM. (Image courtesy of LimitState.)

LimitState:FORM has already gotten the attention of Innovate UK’s ANVIL project. The purpose of the ANVIL project is to accelerate the adoption of AM in the United Kingdom. The ANVIL project has been applying LimitState:FORM to a wide variety of real-world component design problems. These include issues in aerospace, automotive and space sectors.

A video that shows this product in action can be found here.

The ability to reduce the weight of a model, while maintaining strength, will continue to push the evolution of what can be manufactured and how components are manufactured. As these technologies develop, consumers will see more and more products using these components. It will be interesting to see how these technologies change the landscape of manufacturing and consumer products.