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With the advancements of additive manufacturing over the last ten years, the need for complete design, simulation, and optimization tools, with additive in mind, has never been more important. In this blog, my goal is to walk through some of the solutions from Altair that directly impact the additive manufacturing process.


Altair OptiStruct

Topology optimization pairs easily with additive manufacturing, mainly because optimization studies create organic shapes that wouldn’t be feasible to manufacture with traditional methods. Altair OptiStruct is known in the industry for its best-in-class solver for topology optimization for the last twenty years. Its solver offers optimization in Free-Size, Free-Shape, Topography, Lattice Structure, and Multi-Material Optimization.

OptiStruct's ability to consider manufacturing constraints and material characteristics, including composite materials, ensures that designs are not only optimal from an engineering standpoint but also practical and cost-effective to produce. This allows users to balance between design and manufacturing.

OptiStruct is not just an optimization solver either, it is a robust multi-disciplinary tool for running linear, nonlinear, thermal, and fluid-structures analyses all within the Altair HyperWorks platform. One other useful feature with optimization in OptiStruct is its ability to run Design of Experiments (DOE) simulations using Altair HyperStudy. This acts as a design explorer to see the impact of different simulation results without needing to run each simulation manually. Users can see the best optimized design, in a fraction of the time of doing it manually.

For a deeper understanding of the optimization types and best practices using Altair OptiStruct, check out our webinar: Altair OptiStruct Optimization, Types and Best Practices.

4-Feb-12-2024-10-59-45-6802-PMFig 1: Part design evolution using Altair OptiStruct

Altair Inspire

Altair Inspire is one of the fastest growing solutions in its simulation portfolio is terms of popularity. Inspire integrates the same topology optimization technology from OptiStruct, it includes a complete geometry creation toolset; Structural, fluid interaction and motion simulation capabilities; and a variety of tools aimed at simulating a products manufacturability.

Inspire just recently released the 2023 version, which integrates the capabilities of Altair Sulis, mainly Implicit modeling. Implicit modeling allows users to create simple or complex lattice structures that have become crucial to DFAM (Design for Additive Manufacturing) methods. Users can use any geometric domain including B-rep, PolyNURBS, facet, or implicit – and go back and forth between them as desired. Fig. 2 below shows some of the complex shapes that can be created.

Because Inspire includes the Altair SimSolid structural solvers, users don’t need to create a mesh or simplify their geometry before running a structural simulation, this includes structures created using implicit modeling.

2-Feb-12-2024-11-00-18-2726-PMFig 2: Lattice examples from Altair Inspire implicit modeling.

 Altair Inspire Print3D

Altair Inspire Print3D is specifically engineered for the unique challenges of metal additive manufacturing (Powder Based Fusion – PBF and Metal Binding Printing – MBJ), providing a comprehensive solution to simulate, refine, and validate the printing process before initiating physical production. Inspire Print3D offers an intuitive workflow that enables users to identify potential issues quickly and accurately such as distortions, residual stresses, and risks of part failure due to the layer-by-layer building process inherent in 3D printing.

By simulating the printing process in a virtual environment, engineers can anticipate and rectify potential problems, ensuring the manufacturability of complex parts. This preemptive troubleshooting helps in minimizing the number of physical prototypes needed, thereby saving time and resources. Additionally, Inspire Print3D's ability to optimize support structures and orientation of the print further enhances the efficiency of the printing process, leading to reduced material usage and shorter print times.

Inspire Print3D works inside the Altair Inspire interface and doesn’t require additional licensing to access.

3-Feb-12-2024-11-01-40-9331-PMFig 3: Intuitive interface of Altair Inspire Print3D.

Altair Licensing

As mentioned in previous blog posts, the Altair licensing model is unique and offers the most flexible and cost-effective option to end users. Users don’t purchase a license for each individual product, they purchase Altair Units, which act as a currency to check out any solutions in the suite at no extra cost. So, for the products above, users would purchase enough Altair Units to check out the OptiStruct optimization solver. Then with those same units, users can also use Inspire and Inspire Print3D at no extra cost. Units can also be pooled for teams meaning multiple users can use the same units, just not in parallel with each other.

With the Altair solutions we’ve discussed in this post you can see that Altair offers a solution to users who not only need to create efficient geometry for the additive processes but also need to optimize the actual printing process. The main goal of these tools is to help users maximize their investment in 3D printers, which can be sizable. To learn more about any of these solutions, contact us at info@trueinsight.io.

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