Editor’s Pick: Bridging the Gap Between Design and Additive Manufacturing

MSC has built Apex Generative Design with a goal of improving productivity up to 80% compared to existing workflows. 

MSC has built Apex Generative Design with a goal of improving productivity up to 80% compared to existing workflows. 

MSC Apex Generative Design automates the production of print-ready parts.  Image courtesy of MSC Software.

Dear DE Reader, 

There’s a gold rush happening in engineering software, as startups and established companies strive to make design software more compatible with additive manufacturing (AM) processes. An established software leader with deep roots in manufacturing has introduced a design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) solution. And now we’ll tell you why MSC Apex Generative Design is our Editor’s Pick of the Week. 

Topology optimization has become a major bottleneck in AM.  Manufacturers want to go straight from the digital model to the printed part, but in most cases, parts need secondary processing to become an optimal design for AM.   

MSC has built Apex Generative Design with a goal of improving productivity up to 80% compared to existing workflows. To do so they had to combine design automation with manufacturing knowledge. 

MSC Apex Generative Design brings a world-class pedigree to DfAM. It combines elements of MSC Simufact (metal) and MSC Digimat (polymer) for build process simulation. 

In use, the designer only needs to specify boundary conditions and design objectives. MSC Apex Generative Design can then produce multiple lightweight design candidates, all of which explore design space possibilities to present the best combinations of stress distribution and weight minimization. 

Without the generative design engine and the built-in manufacturing knowledge, engineers would have to move data back and forth between multiple CAD and CAE tools to accomplish the same goal. Generally, engineers only use such manual methods to come up with one or two alternatives due to the time involved. Apex Generative Design can evaluate thousands of alternatives before suggesting options to the user. 

It is not uncommon for data loss to occur in such convoluted workflows. MSC Apex Generative Design integrates all relevant steps into a single CAE environment, improving productivity by creating a streamlined AM preparation workflow. It offers fast model setup from existing geometry, accepting data from a variety of CAD, STL and MSC Nastran BDF formats. The result is a fully integrated and automated optimization process, compatible with previous and subsequent operations. Apex Generative Design allows the conversion of CAE mesh to CAD with no manual geometry reconstruction. 

There is so much more to like about MSC Apex Generative Design, including how it applies intelligent smoothing, provides stress constraint optimization and offers continuous adjustment of resolution as needed. Be sure to check out this week’s Product Brief for all the details. 

Thanks for reading; we’ll be back next week with another Editor’s Pick of the Week. 

—The DE Editors

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