Taking Off with Simulation
About the Customer
Talaria is a technology startup that specializes in developing innovative solutions for the e-commerce, logistics, and air mobility industries. The company is dedicated to making commerce and transportation more efficient, affordable, and sustainable for both businesses and consumers.
One of Talaria's most exciting projects is its air mobility initiative. The company is developing a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that will revolutionize transportation in urban areas. The aircraft, which will be fully electric and emissions-free, will be able to transport passengers and cargo quickly and efficiently, bypassing traffic congestion on the ground.
When considering air mobility, safety and weight (and reducing weight) are the main areas of concern for development. The weight of all components has a considerable impact on flight performance and the flying range, so Talaria needed to optimize the hubs of four rotor blades to reduce the overall weight of the device.
The challenge was to reduce the weight and number of unique components, while ensuring feasibility and safety in a quicker production process. The chosen manufacturing method of this project was 3D printing, which presented a unique challenge because this is unique in the aviation industry when developing critical components.
Talaria first designed the basic geometry of all the components with a 3D CAD program before transferring it to Altair Inspire for lightweighting. Using Altair Inspire, they checked whether material and weight could be reduced through topology optimization. This approach resulted in a significant 1.5-kilogram weight reduction of the rotor hubs.
"Thanks to topology optimization with Altair Inspire, we reduced the number of unique components by about 50 percent. This resulted in a weight reduction of around 1.5 kilograms which is almost 30 percent of the total weight. As we are going to manufacture the hubs using heavy metal titanium, the weight saving is less than the volume saving (about 50 percent). In the final step, the optimal topology was fine-tuned for additive manufacturing,” said Essle.
This manufacturing method is the key to lean production, especially when combined with simulation technology. “3D printing significantly shortens our production process. In the original design, each rotor hub consisted of three components, 12 total, all of which required post-production treatment following waterjet cutting. The total lead time for the production process would have been about two to three weeks, depending on the supplier. When using 3D printing, only four parts require post-production treatment, which significantly shortens turnaround time. Our rotor hubs are made from expensive and strong titanium, so we considered the required support structures using topology optimization,” said Essle.
The intuitive user experience and GUI of Altair Inspire made it easy for Talaria to apply the software to solve its challenges. The Talaria engineers carried out several simulations using Altair Inspire to optimize the geometry, weight, and strength of the rotor hubs.
As a result, they were able to reduce the weight by 1.5 kilograms and save 50 percent on the volume and number of unique components. This also simplified and sped up the design and production process with 3D printing. Happy with the results, Essle will continue to use Altair Inspire in future projects and the software solution will play a major role in helping Talaria reach new heights.
Fig 1: Optimized rotor hubs
Fig 2: Finished parts within assembly
"Thanks to topology optimization with Altair Inspire, we reduced the number of unique components by about 50 percent. This resulted in a weight reduction of around 1.5 kilograms which is almost 30 percent of the total weight. As we are going to manufacture the hubs using heavy metal titanium, the weight saving is less than the volume saving (about 50 percent). In the final step, the optimal topology was fine-tuned for additive manufacturing,”
-Founder Philipp Essle