Digitally Accelerating Additive
Manufacturing for Production
How cross-functional multi-physics platforms can help solve the unique design
and manufacturing challenges arising from additive manufacturing processes
By Subham Sett, Director of Additive Manufacturing & Materials, Dassault Systèmes
In the real world, however, there is a manufacturing process
involved, and the real-world variables that accompany
it. And with a technology as new as Additive
Manufacturing, there are a lot of unknowns,
including: part distortions, residual stress,
repeatability & scatter, micro-structure evolutions,
surface finishing, etc... These are some of the
challenges that must be addressed as we begin
to translate real-life questions into the engineering
tasks needed to realize Additive Manufacturing’s full
potential. Can we make the structure 50 percent
lighter and 50 percent stronger at the same time?
Can we print spare parts with in-service quality?
How many parts can we print per hour if they need
to exhibit a specific strength? Can we achieve
durability that’s equal to, or greater than that of a
conventionally manufactured part?
These challenges can only be addressed through
multi-scale multi-physics cross-function platform solutions.
The first question a designer faces is how to take advantage
of Additive Manufacturing’s ability to create parts with organic
shapes that are much lighter than conventional ones, and still
meet an application’s in-service loading requirements. Most
designers will say that Topology Optimization is the tool for that
job. However, although Topology Optimization has been out
for decades, it has never been customized to address Additive
Manufacturing’s specific constraints. Nor has it been developed
to enable smooth transitions from optimization results back
to a new geometry. Engineers spend months manually
reconstructing FEA mesh into a new organic CAD geometry.
But with platform technologies, things are much easier.
One example we’ve seen is with the Dassult Systems
3DExperience platform, where designers can use a
Generative Design app to perform topology optimization by
applying mechanical and thermal loads, as well as specific
Additive Manufacturing constraints such as overhang
minimization. As a result, designers can reconstruct a smooth
CAD geometry with one click of a button. Additionally, multi-
part optimization is made available for assembly and system
level designs. Figure 1 shows a multi-part optimization
example for an automotive door hinge assembly. The
design space includes five components that make up the
assembly. Designers can preview the optimum assembly
shapes, reconstruct the geometry and validate the in-service
performance of the assembly, which enables them to
implement the design and optimization of this assembly into
their short product development cycle.
The design and optimization is only one part of an
engineer’s story for Additive Manufacturing, as it’s a cross-
In recent years, Additive Manufacturing has grown exponentially in terms of what can be achieved.
The technology’s capabilities have grown far beyond
simply producing nice-looking mockups. In fact,
Additive Manufacturing has opened up possibilities
for product design that only a few years ago were
not even contemplated. We can now use organic
design almost completely without limitations; we can
manufacture almost anywhere needed: under the sea,
in deep space, or even in crisis zones. When used in
conjunction with modern scanning technology, we
can duplicate rare, or out-of-stock parts and, in some
cases, entire sub-assemblies at the push of a button.
Figure 1. Assembly/multi-part optimization of an
automotive door hinge assembly.