Industrial design, engineering and software development company Altair is announcing that they have formed an ongoing partnership with Airbus‘ 3D printing subsidiary, APWorks. The non-exclusive partnership will allow both companies to offer their joint expertise in the areas of additive manufacturing and design simulation and optimization software to companies looking to integrate 3D printing technology into their own manufacturing and production facilities. Together they can offer their clients the ability to manufacture lightweight, functionally integrated, and customized designs with virtually no limits on part geometry. They will also offer their expert consulting services, advanced product design and simulation technology.
This formalizes the partnership that saw the two companies join forces to produce a 3D printed electric motorcycle called Light Rider. At only 77 pounds, Light Rider was made 30% lighter than traditional motorcycles by using structural optimization algorithms. APWorks 3D printed the lightweight motorcycle frame using an aluminum alloy that is almost as strong as titanium. The structure was designed using an algorithm developed by Altair that allowed the frame to be manufactured hollow using less material without sacrificing any structural durability. The success of this collaboration is an excellent example of how expert design software and 3D printing technology can produce incredibly advanced new products and parts.
“This partnership will help us to support our customers even better. Our know-how in additive manufacturing and Altair’s expertise in Simulation Driven Design are a perfect combination to help customers truly benefit from the advantages of additive manufacturing. In our ‘Light Rider’ project topology optimization and the advances in additive layer manufacturing have allowed us to realize the bionic design we had in mind for the motorcycle, without having to make any major changes. This led to the revolutionary and lightweight design we envisioned for this project,” explained Joachim Zettler, the Managing Director of Airbus APWorks GmbH.
The companies will offer two key areas of collaboration to their clients. The first service that they will offer will be a joint, end-to-end consultation from Altair and APWorks to encourage companies to explore the potential benefits of using additive manufacturing technology in their own applications. They will do this through a series of pilot projects and expert technology demonstrations. This will allow Altair and APWorks to demonstrate their clients ideal workflow, from the beginning design and development stage to the final manufacturing or production of 3D printed prototypes or end-use parts.
“I am very happy about this agreement. At Altair we have always believed that the place for simulation and optimization is right at the concept phase of the development process. A simulation driven design process can help designers and engineers generate better design ideas faster and inject innovation into products. APWorks has fully embraced this philosophy as demonstrated by the ‘Light Rider’. The bionic frame of this new motorbike APWorks developed has been inspired by nature, generated with OptiStruct‘s topology optimization technology and then printed,” explained the Managing Director of Altair Engineering GmbH, Dr. Pietro Cervellera.
Services will include the screening and identification of additive manufacturing applications, the redesign and optimization of components for AM manufacturing and performance improvement suggestions. Altair and APWorks will also offer 3D printing and physical testing of rapid prototyped components, including serial production, final cost analysis and business case preparation. Ultimately clients will be shown the best way to produce new products using state of the art technology and software.
“Topology optimization combined with additive manufacturing will bring about a large range of new products that will be lightweight, efficient, appealing, and sustainable. We are very pleased to partner with an innovative organization like APWorks that is aggressively developing and producing these new products of the future with additive manufacturing,” said Dr. Robert Yancey, Vice President of Additive Manufacturing for Altair.
Additionally, Altair and APWorks will offer a second phase of consultation with clients that includes knowledge transfer and assistance in the adoption and integration of additive manufacturing technology into existing workflows. They will leverage Altair’s Software and APWorks’ AM expertise to help set up an end-to-end simulation driven design and manufacturing process for the production of 3D printed metal parts. Their clients’ engineers will be provided a seamless working environment that rapidly progresses from design to validation with an intuitive user experience. Discuss further in the APWorks 3D Printing Expertise forum over at 3DPB.com.