Optimization in Designs

When you hear simulation driven design, what benefits come to your mind? Hopefully one of them is optimization. Among the biggest benefits of simulation driven design is that you have a chance to optimize the designs before they are finalized. Without simulation, it is nearly impossible to consider optimization in product development. Optimization as a design philosophy is ingrained in Altair’s DNA. It is reflected in the many consulting projects we have done for our customers and in the software that has been commercialized for over 20 years in OptiStruct and HyperStudy. See how customers have successfully employed optimization in their processes.

Coincidentally in a blog post earlier this year, Uwe Schramm, our CTO of Solvers and Optimization, discusses three goals simulation must achieve to further innovation (hint: one is optimization). Optimization can be applied at different stages of a product life cycle – concept phase, design development and fine tuning, process optimization. Each level of engagement has its purpose and benefits. Early concept design provides great flexibility but it lacks detail, whereas late in the design process there is less flexibility but the results are more complete. In general, putting optimization to practice is another matter. In a recent survey during a webinar, we polled the attendees to ask how many use optimization in product development. About 40% of the respondents said they use a commercial or in-house code to perform Design of Experiments (DOE) or optimization. Encouraging, even if the sample is tilted to a particular group of users (it was an optimization related webinar).

If you ask WHY optimization, the most common reasons include weight reduction, cost saving, meet performance targets, or control process conditions, to name a few. A clear side benefit to actually going through an optimization exercise is to get good insight of different parameters affecting the design. Anyone who has done optimization will vouch that you actually get a better understanding of the system by going through an exercise of optimization where you understand what parameters are influencing the design, or how the constraints (violation) are controlling the path taken by the optimizer to meet the objectives. Behavior economists would explain that we would be willing, given multiple solutions, to compromise on some hard requirements (constraints) in favor of solutions that give the most bang for the buck.

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However, the intent of optimization alone is not enough. A lot of thought takes place before you click the first button. The optimized result is only as good as the problem set up. Usually there is a thorough vetting process of picking the right design variables,bounds and constraints to meet your objectives so that the end result is not discarded because an important aspect was not considered. (Then there is robustness analysis, which goes beyond the scope of the article).

We will take a glimpse at some of the applications available in the Altair Partner Alliance (APA) products with HyperStudy. All case studies covered are available in the resource library. HyperStudy is an easy to use, process driven tool that provides smart algorithms, having connections to pre/post and sitting on top of a powerful optimization engine. With the hardware resources and cloud computing readily available nowadays, design exploration with HyperStudy is a straight forward thing.

HyperStudy + APA products:

CAEfatigue VIBRATION: weight reduction by part thickness optimization to meet desired fatigue life on a full body in white car model using frequency domain techniques.

CarSim: design and development of a suspension system for a novel autonomous vehicle. MotionSolve was used (in tandem with CarSim) to develop the suspension elasto-kinematic geometric properties to meet specific cascaded targets, to optimize a weighing strategy, to predict forces under a variety of quasi-static and dynamic loads, and to estimate response to track inputs.

DSHplus: mechatronic systems design showing a controller parameter optimization of a hydraulic cylinder drive in order to reach the desired cylinder position as quickly as possible.

ESAComp: aircraft door surround model optimization by considering composite variables, objectives and constraints.

FEMFAT: fatigue based shape optimization of an aircraft landing gear, and life safety factor optimization of welded joints.

MADYMO: optimal restraint system design from DOE studies for different range of vehicle pulse to restrain the occupant during frontal crash. A couple of tutorials on setting up the DOE and Optimization studies in HyperStudy.

Moldex3D: design validation, optimization of plastic parts and molds by improving part quality for injection molding.

MultiMech: lightweight replacement alternative by microstructure optimization and material calibration in the design of composites.

SC/Tetra: multi-objective optimization of a heat sink for an LED device.

If there is any application that you are interested in trying or if you would like to get more details, let us know.

Questions or comments? Email apatech@altair.com. To learn more about the products listed above, visit www.altairhyperworks.com/apa

Sridhar Ravikoti
Sridhar Ravikoti

About Sridhar Ravikoti

Sridhar Ravikoti is the Technical Director of Global Partner Programs at Altair. He has been with Altair since 2000, gaining experience in engineering product development and software program management. In his current role as a technical lead for the Altair Partner Alliance, Sridhar drives a synergetic relationship between Altair offering and its Partners. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Osmania University in India, and a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a major in Mechanical Engineering and a minor degree in Applied Mechanics.