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New Thinking with Additive Manufacturing

Not only does additive manufacturing shake up established design and manufacturing processes, it also revolutionizes the way new products are conceived and designed. Part of this new approach is that significant parts of the conception phase can be taken over by intelligent tools via "topology optimization". We are happy to pass on our experience from evaluation and prototyping for topology optimization with Altair Inspire software to enable you to achieve visionary components even faster.

Achieving the Perfect Component thanks to an Algorithm

To use topology tools, components which are exposed to dynamic or static loads are required. If this is the case, the user determines what the product should do by defining the geometric and physical boundary conditions. Based on this input and by taking into account guidelines for tension, bearing positions and symmetries, the tool's algorithm determines how the ideal component can look. With this method, which is close to the realm of artificial intelligence, previous procedures are turned upside down: Instead of only being able to create the simulation of a component at the end of a long, iterative design process, the question of the ideal basic shape of the component is answered straight away - right at the beginning of the process thanks to topology optimization.

Classical construction vs. topology optimization 

Our Learnings

For the evaluation of Altair Inspire we used and analyzed the frame construction of our prototype e-scooter BROOM. The three-wheeled vehicle was developed by the UXMA team in 2016 as part of a feasibility study on electric mobility in urban areas and advanced to the production-ready, drivable prototype stage. The installation space of the BROOM between the front and rear axles can be defined relatively freely, allowing us to fully exploit the capabilities of the algorithm.

The results of our test series are impressive: The ideal solution calculated by the topology tool not only appears futuristic and almost "bionic", but the material expenditure for load-bearing capacity and rigidity is also ideally balanced. This new approach thus proves to be a real alternative to the original BROOM frame. The bionic structure of the component also conveys the technological progress of the design and is suitable for many industries (e.g. mobility, safety equipment and sports equipment) as a coherent means of product marketing. Basically, topology optimization is relevant for all areas where masses are moved and components are stressed.

Need support in product development with additive manufacturing processes? Contact our industrial design experts Christian Jacobs now via industrial (at) uxma.com. You can find a list of all UXMA expertise in our services overview.

Christian Jacobs
Christian Jacobs is an Industrial Design Engineer and is responsible for the strategic direction of industrial design at UXMA. With his experience in vehicle and cabin development, Christian is an expert in VR/AR.
UX-Research and Testing in the UXMA UX-Lab

UX-Research and Testing in the UXMA UX-Lab