Today, pre-processing of ALM (additive layer manufacturing) dedicated parts involves several software tools (generally from different suppliers and aiming at different purposes).
A typical example of the whole numerical chain
These different steps (each with their associated software) require mastering different interfaces, various workflows and dealing with different data format and compatibility, etc.
A part is designed using a CAD (computer aided design) software.
If a topological optimisation is considered, then this CAD is used to build the optimisation domain.
This geometry is sent to a CAE (computer aided engineering) software to optimise the part’s topological as well as to evaluate its mechanical/thermal performances.
Once the design is fully validated, this geometry has to be prepared for the additive manufacturing process.
The preparation steps involve:
- a. The part’s printing orientation,
- b. Build support structures,
- c. Set up of process parameters.
In this phase the contour of each layer is generated from an STL file.
This task can be carried out in step 3 depending on the used software.
Simplifying numerical chain of DMLS
MAESTRO will simplify the numerical chain of DMLS design by developing a single software from design to piece that will be able to:
- Reduce the pre-processing time to build a part using DMLS additive manufacturing technology with different versions
- Allow non-expert operators to design support structures for complex parts with a maximum confidence on support design
- Evaluate the residual stresses and distortions due to the layer-by-layer manufacturing of complex parts before beginning the fabrication.
This highly automatic job will make the development of new parts easier with different versions
The job preparation will be realised in three different steps exploiting Altair Skills:
Topology optimisation of the part to build
This is done using the minimum possible iterations considering the solicitations.
Topology is a mathematical technique that optimise the material distribution for a structure within a given package space.
This task will be performed using OptiStruct®, which is the market-leading solution for structural design and optimisation.
Optistruct® uses the SIMP (Solid Isotropic Material with Penalisation) also known as density method.
Each element’s density becomes an optimisation variable which can take a value between 0 and 1.
A 0 value implies that no material is needed.
3D orientation optimisation
The aim of this step is to reduce the residual stresses and the support structures.
Thermo-simulation using Altair RADIOSS® solver will provide temperature distribution and residual stresses which will allow to optimise the impression direction using an optimisation software such as Altair HyperStudy®.
An automated process will be embedded in the ALM toolbox which will allow creating automatically simulation adapted support geometry and evaluating their influence based on to the capability of ALM process simulations.
Highly automatic creation
Highly automatic creation of optimised support structures and part orientation processing tools implemented in Altair HyperMesh®.
These tools allow users quickly to position the parts and support structures modelling either to simulate the ALM process or to send the geometry to the AM machine.
an expert level
This unique pre-processing software will also include an “expert” level to perform thermo-mechanical simulation of the additive manufacturing process in order to predict the residual stresses and distortions created in the parts during manufacturing.
The expert platform will communicate the pre-processor with the thermo-mechanical simulations to perform simulations of the additive manufacturing process and allowing the optimisation of process parameters.