Topology optimization

Designing industrial products that are high-performance yet resource-efficient is tough, to say the least. There are too many complexities involved in developing one winning product. From space optimization to material choice, a lot of factors have to be considered.

What’s more, is the traditional way of producing industrial designs is immensely constrained. The design production process is limited, and time is high.

Topology optimization is a form of generative design that disrupts this traditional model, bringing maximum performance in the shortest period. Harnessing the power of AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning), this methodology successfully eliminates limited designs and time constraints. Infact, you can achieve highly complex structures that were previously impossible to develop.

However, if you are still unsure of the benefits that topology optimization brings to industrial engineering, we have got you covered.

This post reveals all the top benefits that the technology can render to your business. Let’s dive in.

6 Benefits That Topology Optimization Can Bring to Your Products

Topology optimization at its core brings speed, efficiency, and precision to industrial product development. There is a host of benefits that you can enjoy at every level. While some of them are more obvious, others require a deduction.

However, here’s a word of caution.

To harness the full benefits, you would have to adopt the technology from the early product development cycle. Here is a topology optimization guide that can help you integrate this tool successfully. If done right, you can witness the following six immediate results in your end product and your business.

Cost optimization

The first benefit that topology optimization brings to your business is a sizeable reduction in development costs. Here’s how this method does so.

Using AI (artificial intelligence), topology optimization develops product designs that require the least amount of material, improving energy efficiency. Also, the integration of multiple parts into one reduces the overall manufacturing and maintenance costs. All these qualities of the topology optimization methodology can bring the competitive edge that your product needs to stay ahead of the competition in the market.

Time optimization

In business, time equals money. Topology optimization ensures you make the most of it. Removing unnecessary human involvement from the design process, this process shortens your product development cycles.

This is achieved by using an AI-powered topology optimization tool that generates every viable design version under the defined design constraints like specific methods and raw materials to be used. What follows is a faster market launch with maximum confidence in the product’s success.

Weight optimization

Optimizing weight is one of the most critical tasks of industrial product development. Topology optimization champions this goal.

It optimizes the distribution of the materials used and creates designs and shapes that require the least raw materials. Usually, this is achieved by simulating specific product parts while keeping the requirements of other parts intact.

The end result is a high-performance product that is scalable for mass production and efficient in function.

Improved designs

Achieving complex designs in industrial products that are viable solutions for the market is both challenging and time-consuming in traditional development.

Topology optimization simplifies this process, making it leaner where achieving viable designs is faster. It uses ML (machine learning) to generate every viable design in a fraction of time. What’s better? The performance of these machine-generated designs only gets better with time. With every iteration that the software undergoes, it learns from its past historical data. This helps to identify and optimize the vulnerable points of the designs.

Removing the obstructions of traditional design software like CAD, topology optimization tool develops complex structures that looked impossible to achieve. All you need is a 3D printer to bring them to reality.

Sustainability

Topology optimization pioneers the goal of energy savings. It prevents material wastage using algorithms designed to create sustainable building systems, being rooted in structural logic. It saves fuel through weight optimization.

With the steady rise in the demand for sustainable product development, more manufacturing industries recognize the value that topical optimization can bring to build an eco-friendly business landscape.

Maximum design options

Topology optimization brings maximum product innovation. Unlike traditional design systems, your product designs are not limited. With the power of AI and ML, you have every possible design for the product. The only constraints that your product design has are the manual constraints that you put in as a designer.

The best part is you’ll have access to improved designs at a fraction of seconds to choose from.

So now, when you know the powerful benefits of topology optimization, let’s look at the industries that can utilize it.

Is topology optimization changing the future of engineering?

Topology optimization is the bleeding-edge technology of the disruptive, generative design methodology. Harnessing the power of cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, this tool brings scalability, innovation, and performance at exponential levels. It combines three disciplines to reach an optimal solution —design, simulation, and optimization.

However, if you are still wondering how this technology can benefit your manufacturing process, here are a few examples of the industry verticals benefiting from this advanced technology.

  1. Aerospace: The aerospace industry has optimized its manufacturing costs and ROI (return on investment) by deploying topology optimization. Here’s how!
    Air commuting has been expensive forever. This motivated the aerospace manufacturing industry and suppliers like aerovac to develop materials, airbuses, and jets that are lightweight yet strong at the same time. This way, companies can create cost-effective air travel solutions.
    Topology optimization analyzes the different components of aircraft to create designs that can both save and create usable space. This directly translates to a more stable design, more passenger capacity, and extra cargo. Also, it helps to optimize fuel. Airbus is one such company to achieve all the above benefits of this technology.
  2. Medical: Topology optimization is a core part of bleeding-edge medical technology, especially in implants and prosthetics. Its algorithm simulates the bone density and stiffness of the human body to create efficient prosthetic parts. For bringing precision, it considers the anatomy of the specific person and the activity levels of the designed part and loads applied for maximum performance. The algorithm replaces the solid structure wherever possible with lattice that helps to create lightweight prosthetics.
  3. Automotive: The automobile industry is yet another vertical that is benefitting immensely from topology optimization. Some companies are using this technology to design both structural and machine components that reduce the overall mass of the skeleton. This sometimes results in improved strength of the product.

Now let’s look at the top software that you can use to reach your manufacturing goals.

Top 3 software for topology optimization in 2021

When the market is flooding with new design tools, it can become daunting to choose the one that can give you results. But, here’s the thing. Whenever you consider a tool, ensure that it has a simple user interface, delivers smooth workflow, is scalable, and meets your immediate needs.

But if you want to skip the hard work, we have curated a list of the best topology optimization software that you can trust blindly.

  • nTopology: This software is state-of-the-art topology software. This advanced software hyper-targets to improve product innovation and delivery cycles. Powered by AI, with this tool, you can not only design parts but complete topology optimization processes.
  • Ansys Mechanical: This tool pioneers multiphysics engineering simulation. It brings in-built structural topology optimization features to analyze, rectify and optimize both simple and complex design spaces.
    Some of its top features include modal analysis, maximum control for minimum material thickness, result validation, and seamless working with planar and cyclic symmetry.
  • Altair Inspire: This is a powerful topology optimization tool that supports technologies like generative design and rapid prototyping. With a minimal learning curve, the tool has extensive features like mixed support structures of solid and lattice geometry. You can view these in 3D (3-dimensional) before mass production in 3D (3-dimensional) printers. It has capabilities to assign and interact with new loads added to the structure along with predetermined loads. Further, you can import or export them for analysis.

 

You can use any of the following methods to apply the designs you developed with these powerful tools.

  1. 3D printer: The 3D printer champions the additive process of topology optimization. It ensures there is little to no waste of materials, making it the go-to method.
  2. Laser cutter: Whenever it comes to manufacturing complex shapes with high precision, the laser cutter is unbeatable. You can work your way with a lot of materials, including wood, acrylic, and metal.

Parting Advice

Although topology optimization is a powerful technology, it is in its early stage of development. This means with time, its power is only to grow. But if you look closer, that is not all about it.

If you integrate this technology now, you have a competitive edge over your competitors in the market. You can produce better, improved designs in half a fraction of time. This means all your products are optimized for the best product development-to-market time.

So when are you leveraging this technology for your business?

Author bio

Atreyee Chowdhury works full-time as a Learning Experience Designer and is passionate about writing. She has helped many small and medium-scale businesses achieve their content marketing goals with her carefully crafted content that is both informative and engaging. She lives in Bangalore, India with her husband. She loves to read, experiment with different cuisines, travel, and explore the latest content marketing and L&D trends in her free time. You can reach her on Linkedin or write to her at atreyee.c@gmail.com.