Topology Optimization Eases Additive Manufacturing Design — A Few Questions For: Frustum

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Frustum and Siemens announced a new partnership at the beginning of this week, as topology optimization comes to NX software customers. While additive manufacturing offers the unique ability to create incredibly complex geometries, the right tools are still necessary for the job in the form of the right software that can make best use of what 3D printing hardware can potentially create. As Siemens continues to step up its game in this field, it turned to Frustum and its Generate platform to enhance optimization capabilities.

Because sometimes “it just works,” cutting out the complexity in design can also cut back on barriers that have been in place in such processes. This is exactly what the Siemens NX module for Design Topology Optimization is set to address, and we wanted to know more on this front. We turned to Frustum’s CEO, Jesse Coors-Blankenship, to get the larger picture on what this collaboration can offer to design in AM, as we had A Few Questions For him to learn more.

What barriers do you see in the way of design for additive manufacturing processes? How does this solution work to take those barriers down?

“Additive Manufacturing has promised to deliver design complexity for free, in other words, design anything and it can be printed. This unfortunately is an over promise, in-fact AM has made the designer overburdened with complexity in both design variability and manufacturing processes, processes with hundreds of parameters to calibrate. AM is so complex that their are tremendous amounts of trade secrets built up and coveted by AM Service Bureaus on how exactly they accomplish the designs they create and manufacture with AM. In order to take down the overburdening barrier on the designer we have sought to make a simple to use Topology Optimization user experience in both our Generate Web App and our Siemens NX module for Designer Topology Optimization. As one part of a technical puzzle, our technology solves the geometry problem. Our Topology Optimization offers constrained manufacturable geometry, so we can eliminate undercuts, specify draft angles and help reduce the uncertainty that the design can indeed be manufactured. In these ways we hope to democratize the design methodology of AM and take some of the uncertainty out of an immensely complex and powerful tool.”

Aerospace, automotive and heavy machinery are noted as industries set to particularly benefit from this integrated software solution; what makes it a standout for these fields?

“The benefits are numerous but the general theme across these segments is conservation of material and energy. Less material makes a lighter part conserving energy consumption in the optimization of manufacturing, supply chains, part lifecycle and product performance. Imagine a commercial jet that is one ton lighter, the millions of dollars of fuel saved annually as a result and the reduced carbon footprint as a result. It’s a win-win.”

How has the partnership with Siemens been for Frustum?

“Over-all it has been very good and they have respected our growth as a small company during our interactions. We are happy to find a good partner with them. The scale of our young technology company to the massive industrial engineering conglomerate can be in contrast particularly in difference in timing of material events. They have worked hard to not be imposing thanks to their Technology To Business (TTB) division that scouts out and works with young companies like ours, potentially helping them to find partnerships within Siemens businesses. In our case TTB funded a pilot project which lead to our partnership.”

Jesse Coors-Blankenship

How does Frustum address the idea of topology optimization as it relates to additive manufacturing?

“I can sum this up in three categories.  A) Easy to use.  B) Manufacturable Geometry. C) It just works… (we are trademarking that catch phrase.) In short we aim to take the uncertainty out of a complex process.”

What else should we know about the partnership/software/Convergent Modeling?

“As is you will find an easy to use approach to Topology Optimization but, there is a lot more to come from us and Siemens as Generative Design is an emerging new segment of the CAD market, so stay tuned!”

We will certainly be staying tuned here at 3DPrint.com!

Don’t forget you can also benefit from Coors-Blankenship’s expertise as he leads a course on the voxel in our Advanced Design for 3D Printing course, starting next week: “The session will focus on cutting edge use of optimization techniques in design and engineering for additive manufacturing.” Who better to learn from than a leader in design optimization? We’re looking forward to continuing to share his expertise and insights. Discuss in the Frustum forum at 3DPB.com.

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