Patent published on May 21, 2024

New Patent Could Revolutionize Simulations for Lightweight Designs

A recently published patent by AUTODESK, titled "Generative shell design for simulations" (US Patent No. US11989491B2), brings forth a groundbreaking solution to a prevailing problem in the field of generative design and crash simulations. This patent introduces a method and system that aims to enhance the performance and efficiency of these simulations, ultimately revolutionizing the world of lightweight designs.

The core problem that this patent addresses is the inefficiency and lack of ease in producing generative designs that outperform solid-state designs while enabling effective CAD (Computer-Aided Design) simulations for crash scenarios and additive manufacturing. Traditionally, generative design for components such as seat brackets would result in solid-state steel designs, which are heavy and excessively stiff. Additionally, the solid mesh created for crash simulation purposes often contains an overwhelming number of elements, making it computationally expensive and burdensome to work with.

With the introduction of this patent, however, AUTODESK offers a game-changing solution. The patent outlines a process that begins by utilizing special computer design tools to create a hollow base structure for the intended component. Subsequently, a shell is carefully formed around this base, which is then combined with an internal support structure. Unlike the previous solid-state designs, this novel approach results in a lightweight shelled generative design, saving significant weight and achieving improved performance.

One of the notable advantages of this lightweight shelled generative design is its substantial weight reduction compared to traditional solid designs. For instance, when considering a seat bracket made of structural steel, the generative design solution achieved a weight reduction of approximately 40% compared to the prior art. However, employing the workflow process described in this patent, a seat bracket constructed using AlSi10Mg material achieved an astonishing weight reduction of 70% compared to the traditional design.

Furthermore, this innovation also greatly enhances the efficiency of simulations. By reducing the number of mesh elements, the processing time and computational resources required for simulations are drastically reduced. Additionally, the shelled generative design allows for the simulation of forces in additive manufacturing and crash scenarios without compromising simulation run time or mass scaling.

The real-world implications of this patent are massive. Industries spanning automotive, aerospace, and beyond stand to benefit from the ability to generate lightweight designs that can withstand crash simulations while being optimized for additive manufacturing processes. Engineers and designers will have the unprecedented capability to create innovative components that are not only structurally sound but also significantly lighter, leading to improved fuel efficiency, reduced material usage, and enhanced safety.

In the automotive sector, this invention could lead to the production of lighter seat brackets, contributing to increased fuel efficiency and potentially reducing overall vehicle weight. In the aerospace industry, the lightweight designs enabled by this patent could enhance aircraft performance, allowing for more efficient flights and reduced carbon emissions.

It is important to note that, as a patent, there is no guarantee that this technology will materialize in the market. However, the potential impact of this lightweight shelled generative design paradigm shift cannot be overlooked. If successfully implemented, this innovation has the power to reshape the way we approach design and simulation, setting a new standard for lightweight manufacturing.

P.S. Please note that the information detailed in this article is based on a recently published patent (US Patent No. US11989491B2) by AUTODESK. While this patent presents an exciting advancement in the field, it is important to acknowledge that its appearance in the market is uncertain and still subject to further developments and evaluations.

Explore more