MSC Software Corporation, a provider of CAE simulation software, has launched a new design optimization solution, MSC Apex Generative Design, at Formnext. The program provides a high degree of automation for design processes and reportedly has the potential to improve productivity by up to 80% compared to more traditional topology optimization tools.
The dramatic increase in productivity is related to rapid processing times. For instance, MSC Apex Generative Design can generate a part design that is ready to be printed within only a few hours. The optimization process itself is more straightforward as well, as users simply input boundary conditions and design objectives for a given part and the software will come up with design solutions.
Taking boundaries and objectives into account, the software will generate multiple lightweight design candidates that “explore the possibilities of the design space” while providing optimal stress distribution and minimized part weight. The software also employs an intelligent smoothing technology that ensures 3D models have a smooth, professional finish.
“New design freedoms in additive manufacturing require a new generation of software solutions that take full advantage of the new DfAM possibilities,” said Dr. Thomas Reiher, Director of Generative Design at MSC. “We make the generative design process smarter by producing design candidates that both satisfy the engineering criteria and look as the designer intended when 3D printed.”
The new design software integrates all steps into a comprehensive CAE environment, which enables users to easily navigate from design to AM preparation on a single platform. As MSC emphasizes, the software is workflow-oriented, offering seamless model setup based on existing geometries or mesh in CAD, STL or MSC Nastran BDF formats.
The aim is to provide a platform that simplifies the workflow and even reduces the number of design iterations—which can result in significant time savings.
MSC writes: “The result is a fully integrated, automated optimization process in which compatibility for previous and subsequent operations plays a vital role. This unique capability implies the conversion from the CAE mesh to CAD with no manual reconstruction of geometry, considerably simplifying the work process for designers.”
The MSC Apex Generative Design for Additive Manufacturing solution also integrates print-ready geometries with Simufact’s metal and Digimat’s polymer build process simulation. The simulation tools—also part of Hexagon’s AM portfolio—ensure that generated designs can be successfully produced using AM and a specific material.
“Additive manufacturing promises innovation and manufacturing productivity advances,” elaborated Hugues Jeancolas, VP Product Management. “But to truly transform, the new technologies require automated design workflows with embedded process knowledge. We are integrating our structural analysis, design optimization, and manufacturing simulation solutions to optimise and validate designs for additive processes before a single part is printed.”