Trimech is proud to announce our partnership with solidThinking. Alongside products from SOLIDWORKS and Stratasys, solidThinking’s portfolio of engineering software will help us assist our clients in becoming stronger, more profitable businesses.
Today, I will focus on a product that can help mechanical designers create faster, stronger and lighter mechanical components: solidThinking Inspire.
What is solidThinking Inspire?
Using bone growth algorithms, solidThinking Inspire quickly calculates the mathematically optimal shape for load-bearing mechanical components.
While working as a mechanical designer, my most difficult design challenge was often a blank sheet of paper. Take the example of the bell crank shown below. My goal is to minimize the mass of the part while still keeping it strong enough to withstand expected load cases.
I could use conventional Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tools. I would begin by using FEA to identify low-stress areas where I could afford to cut away material. This lighter shape would be put through another FEA test, and the process would repeat.
I might try different shaped holes, cuts from different angles, shelling the part and varying thicknesses. Modify, check, modify, check.
With all the different shapes and sizes of cuts I could potentially make, I might spend hours or even days repeating the cycle to get to something like the grey part above.
By creating a free-form, mathematically-optimized geometry, solidThinking Inspire breaks the infinite cycle of modify-check-repeat. Simply put, I can now start my design process with the best possible shape to support the expected loads of my application.
Using the generated shape from solidthinking Inspire as a guide, I was able to redesign the part into the final product below. The user interface was intuitive and easy to learn. The shapes can even be generated with constraints for manufacture through billet machining or injection molding.
Not only does the new design reduce the part weight by a whopping 59 percent, it actually took me less than half the time to complete! The design will perform better, and I can more easily make my tight deadlines.
Who's using solidThinking Inspire?
The solidThinking Inspire software has applications in a wide variety of industries. Companies in the automotive and aerospace industries are already using Inspire to reduce vehicle weight and increase fuel efficiency.
Designs for high-volume manufactured parts use solidThinking Inspire to reduce material usage and shipping weights. Large-scale applications like construction equipment can be made faster and more efficient.
Any designer who wants to design lighter, stronger parts in less time could benefit from adding solidThinking Inspire to their toolset.
We’re excited about the opportunities provided by our new partnership with solidThinking. We’ll be hosting in-person events in the next few months to roll out these tools to our customers.