Betatype a UK company that specializes in optimizing designs for additive manufacturing presented a new application case where it highlights how a part can be AM-optimized beyond part performance (which is what the DfAM concept generally refers to) but also for the AM process itself. In this project, Betatype works with nTopology, a rapidly growing NYC-based developer of CAE and topology optimization software, to develop and produce a functionally optimized rocket nozzle part which is also process-optimized.
nTopology designed the base mechanical structure of the part, using its nTop Platform software to convert the 3D model of the nozzle part into an implicit model. The team then used nTopology’s advanced topology optimization and simulation tools to optimize the design of the part. Working together with Betaype and applying the capabilities of its unique Engine and Process Control technology, they were able to further optimize the design for metal additive manufacturing; specifically the laser powder bed fusion (PBF) process.
“Betatype’s partnership with nTopology is an excellent demonstration of how we can work with talented designers to make additive manufacturing perform,” said Betatype Founder and CEO, Sarat Babu commenting on the results. “The application clearly shows the benefits of combining the functional design and optimization skills of our partner with process optimization through our technology to achieve productivity levels that would not otherwise be possible with a standard metal LPBF platform.”
This application of Betatype’s software technology-enabled a significant increase in productivity for the complex metal rocket nozzle part. For this specific project, Betatype achieved a notable reduction in build time on the AM system from 25 hours down to 18 hours, or 28%.
“For serial production in additive manufacturing to work, it must make business sense,” added Brad Rothenberg, Founder and CEO nTopology. “Through the partnership between nTopology and Betatype, and our shared belief in solving engineering problems by linking design, simulation, and manufacturing processes directly, we are able to present a strong business case for additive manufacturing. We enable our customers to design and manufacture complex parts with speed, efficiency and reliability. We could not be happier with the results of this rocket nozzle case study and are looking forward to working on more joint projects.”
The rocket nozzle part was built in titanium on a Renishaw RenAM250 system by Betatype. It was a test part created to highlight how different solutions can be integrated through partnerships. The capabilities of nTop Platform demonstrated how functionality can be improved through the application of intelligent design while ensuring the part is fit for purpose. However, the input from the partnership with Betatype illustrates how the design can only take you so far, and complexity and functionality do not have to come at the expense of productivity.
Productivity is a key driver for the uptake of AM, and it is here that partnering with Betatype can bring significant returns through the application of its unique technology portfolio for metal AM.