LimitState launched a new version of its design optimization software, LimitState:FORM 3.0. The new version includes major enhancements to the tool’s analysis and interactive editing capabilities.
LimitState:FORM 3.0 uses layout and geometry optimization technology rather than topology optimization technology. This means that the time taken to deliver a viable optimized design can be reduced from weeks to hours. LimitState:FORM 3.0 can also produce component designs that are lighter than can be achieved with other optimization approaches.
Version 3.0 adds new editing and analysis tools, which were developed in response to feedback from engineers at large aerospace and automotive firms. Key enhancements include:
● Integration with ANSYS Mechanical: In-depth analysis and validation of optimized designs using ANSYS Mechanical is now seamless. One click of a button opens the model in ANSYS Workbench, for analysis in ANSYS Mechanical – there is no need to export the model, nor to perform any remodeling in advance. Any changes or edits to the model in LimitState:FORM are reflected in ANSYS Mechanical as you work.
● Enhanced solution editing: Members and joints can be edited more easily, addressing a key request by aerospace and automotive users.
● Analysis of member buckling: LimitState:FORM 3.0 can now take account of member buckling during the optimization itself, resizing members and / or moving joints to suppress buckling instability. Engineers can also check the global stability of a component after an optimization 10x more quickly than before, identifying both individual member and global buckling modes, without the need to export to a dedicated FEA package.
● More powerful support modelling capability: LimitState:FORM 3.0 now includes a new ‘advanced’ support type which allows users to enforce user-specified limits on reaction forces, using a local coordinate system. This is very useful in real-world optimization tasks, such as when designing brackets for aircraft or satellite
applications, where the interaction between a component and adjoining elements is often crucial. The tool can also be used to specify remote supports, for example where a component is rotating around a fixed point.
● New elastic frame validation tools for frequency and bending stress: Engineers can now perform frequency and bending stress analyses. The frequency tool provides information on the modes of vibration, which is useful when optimizing the components of a vibrating engine or machine. The bending stress tool displays peak stresses graphically and provides a convenient means of ensuring that stresses do not exceed the limiting material stress.
● Library of materials: The software now ships with a library of standard materials, making it even quicker and easier to set up a model.
“LimitState:FORM can rapidly generate a model that can be worked on immediately with standard CAD tools,” commented Professor Matthew Gilbert, LimitState’s Managing Director and a member of the University of Sheffield’s Centre for Advanced Additive Manufacturing. “LimitState has a track record of transferring cutting edge optimization technology from academia into industry-leading engineering software. LimitState:FORM allows engineers to take full advantage of the design freedoms associated with additive manufacturing.”
“With LimitState:FORM we can produce optimized truss designs in a fast workflow,” said Dr Chris Smith of the Mercury Centre. “As an advanced manufacturing research centre, this tool helps us deliver better technical solutions to meet the design challenges of our clients.”
LimitState:FORM is available as either a standalone tool, or as a plugin for ANSYS SpaceClaim. The cost of the tool is competitive with other professional optimization tools.