MSL recently announced nTopology as part of its core product range, supplying end-to-end solutions across the full process chain from scanning, through design, to measurement of the final part.
With this partnership, Creaform scanners can be utilized to produce highly accurate CAD models of existing parts, which can then be imported into nTopology for light weighting, optimization, modification for AM and countless other operations to improve performance and manufacturing efficiency.
nTopology is a highly exciting development in the world of additive manufacturing. Machines, materials, and expertise in the industry have advanced so far in recent years but engineers are still designing parts with traditional software, aimed at traditional manufacturing techniques. nTopology is closing this gap and allowing designers and engineers to really leverage the benefits of Additive and Advanced Manufacturing, especially in the areas of Lightweighting, Architected Materials, Thermal Management, Industrial Design, Mass-customisation and Manufacturing/Tooling.
By utilising implicit modelling, nTopology allows engineers to work on the most complex of shapes at speeds that simply aren’t possible with conventional CAD platforms and in a much more robust and efficient manner. This is particularly important when designing “many featured” parts, such as perforations, textures and intricate -potentially varying- lattice structures.
nTopology also offers enormous potential with data driven design. Data can be derived from in built FEA simulations and the results used to drive key design aspects such as shape (topology-optimisation/generative-design), variable wall thicknesses and lattice structures.
Analysis can be carried out within the software using thermal, static, modal and buckling simulations, or potentially multiple data sets (multi-physics optimisation). Data from other FEA studies such as fluid simulations can also be imported into nTopology from external sources and models exported out of nTopology for verification in alternative software systems.
Repeatable workflows are another key aspect that sets nTopology apart from other CAD systems. A series of ‘blocks’ can be set up to perform a sequence of tasks such as shelling, infilling, topology optimisation and part marking to name just a few. Traditional, “B-rep” modelling is fundamentally fragile and therefore unsuitable for anything but the simplest of automation routines.
A ‘workflow’ can be reused by simply importing a new CAD model (or scan) and allowing the workflow to automatically run. This has enormous benefits for mass customisation of consumer parts and patient specific orthotics and implants. The sheer speed that design and analysis workflows can be iterated is unrivalled by traditional CAD packages, especially when batch processing via the GUI or CLI.
Andrew Tagg, Managing Director at MSL comments:
“With over 24 years’ experience supplying the UK industry with measuring equipment and Creaform scanning solutions, we see a natural customer fit for the addition of the nTopology software across many sectors, from Heavy Industry, Aerospace, Automotive and Energy through to Motorsport and Formula 1.
Creaform’s scanning products are now an integral part of most design or R & D process workflows. Scan data can drive many downstream deliverables such as, data capture for re-engineering legacy components for digital twin purposes, model creation of legacy parts, fixtures and tooling design or design improvement. Our Vx Model software has embedded links to most major CAD software solutions, such as Solidworks and SolidEdge, whereby the scan data is utilised in either .stl, nurbs surface or as a parametric model. We have seen more and more customers using our solutions to drive additive designs and component creation.
We have a significant number of existing customers in the UK, and we work with them closely to understand the pain points in their processes. With nTopology we are now able to offer additional benefits to compliment traditional CAD and Analysis software options”.
Tagg concluded; “The intention is not to suggest customers replace their existing design software as we recognise the value of it and the significant investment that has gone into implementing and maintaining these systems.
However, nTopology can complement existing design solutions to optimise additive design resulting in faster design creation, improved lightweighting and lattice structure designs, design using data such as stress analysis results from 3rd parties into new designs, whilst continually striving to save on material costs”.