In recent years the concept of simulation-driven design has gained significant popularity. Design-embedded simulation tools help companies verify their designs without relying on consultants or expensive, difficult to use packages of yesteryear that were the status quo not too long ago. When parts can be validated early in the design process, the business value is obvious; a few clicks of the mouse and manufacturers are reducing prototyping costs and cycle time to market.
Well, maybe it takes more than a few clicks of the mouse, but the point is that design simulation tools have reshaped how the engineering and product design communities approach product design and consequently, product development. The truth is that most of these tools are still really design driven simulation. Where analysis is done to check an existing design to validate "hunches", "hand calculations" or "tribal knowledge".
Start with the solution and shorten the time to market with lighter and smarter designs
I’d like to introduce solidThinking Inspire software, a true simulation design tool used to drive designs. Inspire allows designers to perform upfront screening simulation making the design process more efficient. When we place analysis as early as possible in our design process we have the advantage of a lower cost to change - plus, our investment in time is minimal.
solidThinking Inspire software works by creating a material layout within a given design space, for a given set of loads and constraints in the most efficient way to meet the required performance targets so an “ideal” shape can be created as early as possible. By bringing simulation to design tools, Inspire software has opened up the technology to a much wider user base allowing product designers to:
- - Automatically generate and explore weight efficient design concepts
- - Simulate and compare the performance of competing design concepts for static loads, normal modes, and buckling
- - Assemble and simulate dynamic mechanical systems to automatically resolve loads on system components for optimization and analysis
- - Export Inspire CAD geometry to 3D printers to produce high-performance quality parts
solidThinking Inspire software at a glance
Inspire has a natural synergy with additive manufacturing technology. As additive manufacturing continues it’s explosive trends, additive manufacturers seek out tools like solidThinking Inspire to help them produce unique organic designs.
Now that you have a basic understanding of Inspire software and its business value as a design-optimization tool, it would be helpful to wrap up this post by doing two things. First, let’s go through the eight different steps involved in a typical Inspire design workflow.
Step 1: Import and defeature
Step 2: Assign contacts, loads, and materials
Step 3: Topology optimization
Step 4: Motion
Step 5: Export and PolyNurbs
Step 6: Topography and gauge optimization
Step 7: Verify and compare
Step 8: Manufacturing analysis
With Inspire being out in the market or as long as it has, we’ve iteratively improved the technology. Our latest update, Inspire 2018 has been heralded as pushing the innovation envelope. But don’t just take our word for it. Take a look at the Inspire 2018 introductory webinar and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
About the Author
David Roccaforte joined Altair in 2017 and is currently a Senior Applications Engineer for the solidThinking team. David has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, product design, and analysis. “After seeing the benefits of CAE as a product engineer I made it my mission to help companies adopt simulation technologies earlier in development and to a broader audience”. David has worked in a broad range of industries from automotive to off-highway and aerospace using various tools from multibody dynamics to fluid dynamics and structural analysis. When David is not at his computer you can find him in the garage working on multiple DIY household projects or wrenching on “Stella” his beloved 1972 Pontiac Firebird. David has BSME and MSME degrees from the University of Michigan – Dearborn.