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How LimitState:FORM Benefits Engineers

LimitState:FORM brings three key benefits for engineers seeking optimized designs for components and structures:

1. Better Designs

For problems with significant design freedom, LimitState:FORM generates more optimal designs, that save more weight.

2. Rapid Workflow

LimitState:FORM has a simple and rapid workflow that enables engineers to save significant time and work in a more intuitive way.

3. Fast Optimization

LimitState:FORM typically takes seconds or minutes to solve, rather than the hours or days often required by topology optimization.

High Fidelity Optimization

LimitState:FORM uses both layout and geometry optimization techniques to generate a high fidelity discrete truss structure which efficiently carries the defined loads. It is particularly well suited for problems where the final optimized structure occupies a low proportion of the available space (low volume fraction). 

The impact for engineers is that LimitState:FORM is likely to save more weight than other approaches. Also, LimitState:FORM usually takes seconds or at most minutes to obtain a solution, compared to tens of minutes or even hours or days with other tools. 

Thrust SSC airbrake hinge prior to optimization... 

Thrust SSC airbrake hinge prior to optimization... 

...and after optimization

...and after optimization

Faster workflow

The Problem With Topology Optimization

Engineers wishing to optimize parts using topology optimization have a workflow which is often extremely time consuming.

Topology optimization creates an irregular mesh, not a parametric CAD model:

  • Meshes are often hard to interpret and difficult to edit. 
  • Creating a high level CAD model, using the mesh as a guide, can be a laborious process. Also the efficiency of the design can be degraded during this process.
  • Any changes to the inputs entails repeating the remodelling process from scratch.
  • Finally, usually after several iterations, the model can be exported for further validation or manufacture. 

The whole process is iterative, disjointed and time-consuming. 

Typical existing concept design workflow: Multiple tools are needed and the workflow involves meshes that are hard to interpret and cumbersome to work with. Multiple iterations of the process are often needed to generate a model suitable for manufacture. 

How LimitState:FORM is Different

In contrast, LimitState:FORM lets engineers generate optimized designs without the need to deal with low-level meshes. Instead, once the model constraints have been defined, layout and geometry optimization is used to generate a high level truss model that can be be directly edited, re-analysed, and/or exported as a high level CAD model.

The whole process is much simpler and faster: 

Concept design workflow using LimitState:FORM: One tool needed to generate CAD models, not meshes, that are easy to interpret and fast to work with. Manufacturable designs can be generated quickly, in a much more fluid process. 

Since the optimized model can be edited directly, without the need to re-model a mesh, the path to a finished design that passes design review and can be manufactured / printed is far quicker. This alone can save many man days of design time, because reviews and amendments are so much easier.

Built-in analysis tools

With LimitState:FORM v3.0, engineers can perform a broad range of elastic frame validation analyses directly within the software, further accelerating workflow.

Check component designs for stability

Check component designs for stability

It is now possible to perform the following checks:

  • Stability
  • Frequency
  • Deflection
  • Stresses

In addition, users of ANSYS Mechanical can read in and perform additional checks on the designs generated by LimitState:FORM. Any edits made to the model in LimitState:FORM are then reflected in the ANSYS Mechanical model, without the need for file export/import actions. 

Users of other FEA packages can also easily read in the high level geometry generated by LimitState:FORM, via one of a wide range of industry standard file formats.