In nTop Platform 2.0, New Toolkits Aim to Make Advanced Capabilities More Accessible29 Nov, 2019 By: Cadalyst Staff
Prepackaged workflows are intended to help users quickly grasp and apply the most advanced aspects of the computational modeling software, nTopology reports.
Less than half a year after its initial launch, nTopology has announced the latest version of its computational modeling software. nTop Platform 2.0 enables engineers to simultaneously consider geometry, performance, and manufacturability within a single, reusable workflow, the company reports. This release includes support for prepackaged, application-specific nTop Toolkits, designed to help users quickly learn and apply the software’s most advanced capabilities.
“These Toolkits are some of the most useful and powerful capabilities of the platform that have been configured for ease of use, with a goal that more of our customers get the benefits of the technology as fast as possible,” said Trevor Laughlin, nTopology’s director of product, during a webinar discussing the update. Laughlin hailed the Toolkits as “one of our most exciting and powerful new features.”
In addition to the new prepackaged options, nTop Platform's authoring capabilities allow companies to create their own proprietary toolkits, supporting knowledge transfer across the organization and automating engineering workflows. “While [ideas such as knowledge capture and process automation] sound interesting, I’ll admit it’s sometimes difficult to know what they mean in the real world,” Laughlin acknowledged. “At least for us, Toolkits represent those ideas in practice. We’ve spent months — years, collectively — identifying the best and most powerful capabilities of the technology, based on both our own internal expertise and customer feedback, and we’ve packaged all that up into these easy-to-use toolkits and are now making it available for others, essentially enabling them to get the same value out of the software as our own experts.”
In addition, he continued, “This represents a step change in how we can deliver value to our customers, and really lays the foundation for some of the things we’re going to be working on in the future,” Laughlin said. “[Toolkits represent] how we envision our product and our technology taking shape as we continue to expand as an engineering platform.”
The first five Toolkits built on nTop Platform include:
- Lightweighting. Users can quickly reduce the weight and maximize the performance of parts; shell parts in seconds, regardless of geometric complexity; and apply variable wall thickness to shelled parts.
- Architected Materials. Helps users engineer functional materials that perform at any scale; design with multifunctional requirements (such as structural, thermal, acoustics, or aesthetics); optimize unit cells to create unique material properties; and increase surface area while reducing weight.
- Design Analysis. Enables users to analyze parts in a single, connected workflow, and drive geometric parameters directly from simulation results, to achieve high-performance parts that meet functional requirements. The Toolkit integrates with an organization’s existing simulation tools, including ANSYS, Abaqus, and Nastran.
- Topology Optimization. Supports discovery of innovative designs early in the product development cycle. Users can apply multiple loading conditions and optimize for a variety of performance criteria including stress, displacement, stiffness, and weight, and can apply automated geometry reconstruction tools to generate immediately editable geometry.
- Additive Manufacturing. Helps users position, orient, and prepare parts for additive manufacturing from a set of common build platforms; easily add lattice support structures; and slice parts and export manufacturing data directly to machines.
nTop 2.0’s Lightweighting Toolkit was used to generate the base lattice of this bike seat, onto which the Design Analysis Toolkit imported pressure-map data to further enhance the design and drive lattice density and thickness. Other nTop Platform native capabilities, including spatial grading of geometry, were used to seamlessly blend fully dense and latticed areas as well as regions of round and truncated beams. Image source: nTopology.
Creating data-driven geometry in nTop Platform’s Lightweighting Toolkit. In this example, six different structural rib types are applied to an undulating surface and varied in the thickness at the base of the connection to increase stiffness. All six shown are generated from the same workflow. Image source: nTopology.
According to Laughlin, several factors are driving the need for the technologies nTopology is developing. First, “This new domain of advanced manufacturing really has unlocked an entirely new design space and in some cases — in fact, a lot of cases, based on what we’ve seen — it brings with it the potential for new geometric complexity that legacy technology is not really equipped to handle,” he explained, referring to technologies such as additive manufacturing. “We’re at a point where the manufacturing technology has really outpaced the engineering design software, and therefore has potentially left much of this new design space yet untapped,” Laughlin continued.
Secondly, “Many of the legacy engineering tools are disconnected, in the sense that the underlying data structures used in the different tools do not necessarily share a common foundation or common language, if you will,” Laughlin said. “As these legacy tools … try to get more and more integrated, it really starts to expose some bottlenecks in the process, or language barriers if you like to think of them that way, and that in turn can slow down the design process or even be a barrier to process automation.”
And finally, Laughlin explained, there is “the need to capture engineering knowledge or processes in a convenient and resusable way,” because before integration or automation can be achieved, “first you must capture that process.”