High Fidelity Optimization
LimitState:FORM uses both layout and geometry optimization techniques to generate a high fidelity discrete truss structure which efficiently carries the defined loads. It is particularly well suited for problems where the final optimized structure occupies a low proportion of the available space (low volume fraction).
The impact for engineers is that LimitState:FORM is likely to save more weight than other approaches. Also, LimitState:FORM usually takes seconds or at most minutes to obtain a solution, compared to tens of minutes or even hours or days with other tools.
The Problem With Topology Optimization
Engineers wishing to optimize parts using topology optimization have a workflow which is often extremely time consuming.
Topology optimization creates an irregular mesh, not a parametric CAD model:
- Meshes are often hard to interpret and difficult to edit.
- Creating a high level CAD model, using the mesh as a guide, can be a laborious process. Also the efficiency of the design can be degraded during this process.
- Any changes to the inputs entails repeating the remodelling process from scratch.
- Finally, usually after several iterations, the model can be exported for further validation or manufacture.
The whole process is iterative, disjointed and time-consuming.
How LimitState:FORM is Different
In contrast, LimitState:FORM lets engineers generate optimized designs without the need to deal with low-level meshes. Instead, once the model constraints have been defined, layout and geometry optimization is used to generate a high level truss model that can be be directly edited, re-analysed, and/or exported as a high level CAD model.
The whole process is much simpler and faster:
Since the optimized model can be edited directly, without the need to re-model a mesh, the path to a finished design that passes design review and can be manufactured / printed is far quicker. This alone can save many man days of design time, because reviews and amendments are so much easier.
Built-in analysis tools
With LimitState:FORM v3.0, engineers can perform a broad range of elastic frame validation analyses directly within the software, further accelerating workflow.
It is now possible to perform the following checks:
In addition, users of ANSYS Mechanical can read in and perform additional checks on the designs generated by LimitState:FORM. Any edits made to the model in LimitState:FORM are then reflected in the ANSYS Mechanical model, without the need for file export/import actions.
Users of other FEA packages can also easily read in the high level geometry generated by LimitState:FORM, via one of a wide range of industry standard file formats.