Efficient Optimization Based on FEA and CFD Simulations

Machine slide with reduced material usage and minimized deformation

Customer Request

The optimization of a slide for a high-speed milling machine to be cross-accelerated with 2g raised the question if the traditional box ripping used for this purpose was actually the best solution. A time-consuming manual study undertaken in 1997 had already shown a significant improvement in which deformation could be reduced by 50% and the weight of the component by 15%. Due to an improved casting of the mold, manufacturing costs were also reduced by 15%. This part was used as a reference during the evaluation with the optimization software Tosca Structure to determine if an even better design suggestion could be proposed.

Our solution: topology optimization with Tosca Structure

The design space available was defined in the optimization model and the connecting surfaces of the component were excluded from the surrounding components to avoid any modifications. Areas that did not play a part in the force flow were successively reduced in their stiffness or removed during the algorithms from Tosca Structure. Requirements pertaining to manufacturing methods could be included at this stage as in this example, such as the demolding confirmation, etc. The design suggestion could be imported to the CAD system and could be converted to a cast mold design with very few modifications.

This example achieved a further 30% reduction in deformation compared to the manual solution of previous years. In comparison to the original box ribbing which represents the prevalent design in mechanical engineering, this design has an advantage of 65%. When the automatic topological optimization process with Tosca Structure is compared to a manual topology optimization, the time taken in engineering hours was only 22% and computing time 32%. A significant reduction in costs and time was achieved. Heidenreich & Harbeck AG has been able to position itself as a premium partner to its customers and to guard against economic fluctuations through the expansion of its engineering services by the use of topology optimization.

Through the use of standard automatic optimization process in the design phase, we have been able to satisfy complex part requirements in a short time saving material and manufacturing costs at the same time. Tosca Structure has not only given our company a distinctive competitive edge, but has also allowed a significant saving in time.

Ernst Du Maire, Chairman of the Board, Heidenreich & Harbeck AG