Design Optimization Method for CAD Structural Components 2003-01-3427
A new design methodology is described to develop three-dimensional CAD structural components using computer aided engineering tools. A heavy-duty tandem drive axle carrier design project is used as a case study. The proposed method relies on computer topological and shape optimization procedures for arriving at the correct load paths in the component and for optimal distribution of the material. The basic concept of the methodology is to start with a topological optimization of a CAD model with generous design space allotment. Finite Element analysis of the model is then done, but the number of FEA iterations for the model is reduced. After FEA, the part can be shape optimized to further refine the structure. The final result CAD design should be optimized for stiffness versus weight and as such is a more efficient use of material. The new method is shown to produce lightweight component designs that have the most efficient use of material for the space allowed.