The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC)

We have had access to a pre-release version of LimitState:FORM for some time - the software can produce optimized truss designs which no other tool in the market can. We are looking forward to evaluating the latest version for design challenges on behalf of our clients.
— Andrew Triantaphyllou, Principal Engineer, Design for AM and Net Shape, The Manufacturing Technology Centre, UK

About the MTC

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) develops and proves innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile, low risk environment, in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions. They focus on delivering bespoke manufacturing system solutions for their customers. 

The MTC’s areas of expertise are directly relevant to both large and small companies, and are applicable across a wide range of industry sectors. The MTC’s members include global manufacturing companies from multiple sectors.


The Component

LimitState:FORM was used in the novel redesign of a top yoke component for world-leading motorcycle suspension engineers, K-Tech.

The optimized component was designed to match or better the strength and stiffness of the existing part, while also aiming to reduce the overall volume. After optimization stiffness was increased by an average factor of 1.65 in the three main loading directions, while the volume of material occupying the design space was reduced by over 60%.

With LimitState:FORM we were able to reduce component mass while increasing the durability of the design.
The ability to quickly incorporate changes to our requirements and determine the effect this had on the design meant that development time was significantly shortened.
— Ken Summerton, Director, K-Tech Suspension, UK

A key advantage of LimitState:FORM is that it enables a more efficient workflow and, as a result, K-Tech benefited from being able to change design requirements fluidly throughout the project. For example, beam elements were extended, fillet radii added around all sharp edges and intersections and the design of one set of interfaces changed part-way through the project. These are exactly the kinds of design tweaks that engineers deal with on a day-to-day basis and LimitState:FORM made it easy for K-Tech to incorporate updates to their designs while still achieving excellent levels of optimization. 

The Company

K-Tech Suspension is a specialist motorcycle suspension engineering company that drives competitive success in global road racing and motocross championships. They employ a dedicated R&D team who are constantly developing new and innovative products and run a training centre to ensure that all partners are fully trained and getting the most from the worlds leading suspension company.

University of Sheffield

Layout optimization is a great tool for identifying mathematically optimal forms. By coupling this with geometry optimization, and a user interface which makes it easy to make changes, the LimitState team have created a really powerful design tool.
— Dr Chris Smith, Researcher, University of Sheffield, UK.

Bloodhound supersonic car air brake hinge component optimized using LimitState:FORM

The University of Sheffield used a development version of LimitState:FORM extensively during an optimization study of an air brake hinge for the Bloodhound supersonic car project.

During the planned 1000mph land speed record attempt each deployed air-brake hinge will be subjected to aerodynamic drag forces, with a total of five separate load cases considered in the optimization, designed to help keep the structural weight of the car to a minimum.

In the redesigned truss based component required 69 % less material compared with the original component.

Full details are available in this technical paper.

Experience gained in this study led to a number of key features being added LimitState:FORM, including: (i) geometry optimization rationalization of the form initially obtained via layout optimization; (ii) interactive geometry editing capability; (iii) global stability (bucking) validation of the solutions obtained.

Sample design obtained using LimitState:FORM  

Magna Parva Ltd

The component

As part of a satellite, Isostatic Mounts (ISM) provide the mechanical interface between a payload and the spacecraft. They attenuate shock propagation and maintain a set offset between the two objects.  Here, LimitState:FORM was used to assist in the re-design of a telescope ISM for Magna Parva Ltd. Optimization of the central load-carrying section resulted in a 32% reduction in structural volume while also providing enhanced out-of-plane resistance when compared to the original design. The component was subsequently constructed out of Ti6-4 alloy using additive manufacturing techniques.

The organization

Magna Parva provide engineering services to the space sector whilst developing unique, innovative market disruptive technologies. They employ an experienced team of design, development, systems, assembly, integration, verification, test engineers and have a strong heritage delivering not only R&D developments but also commercial mission critical services.

Mercury Centre

Optimization is crucial to advanced manufacturing and LimitState:FORM generates consistent, repeatable results, with no fudged parameters - and it’s easy to assess the lattice structures produced. It’s a genuinely ground-breaking tool.
— Iain Todd, Director, Mercury Centre, Sheffield, UK

The organization

The Mercury Centre is a specialist advanced manufacturing research centre which undertakes engineering consultancy projects with large manufacturing and industrial firms. It has world-class expertise and facilities in areas such as additive layer manufacture, metal injection moulding, spark plasma sintering, and advanced materials characterisation. Essentially the Mercury Centre helps manufacturing and industrial design firms unlock the business opportunities of leading-edge manufacturing technology. As such, LimitState:FORM is a key tool for the Mercury Centre since it enables their clients to more easily extract significant value from new manufacturing processes.