Optimal parts consolidation and structural redesign for additive manufacturing to reduce weight, production costs, and lifecycle fuel use

Principal investigator: Kate Whitefoot, Levent Burak Kara

University: Carnegie Mellon University

Industry partners: ANSYS, Kennametal, and ExOne

Additive manufacturing (AM) offers the possibility to produce complex systems that normally would consist of many assembled components as a consolidated single part, thereby dramatically reducing weight, improving performance, and reducing production costs; however, new design for AM (DFAM) computational tools are needed to re-optimize system designs before it can be widely adopted across the manufacturing sector. The proposed project is motivated by a long-term vision of creating a software tool where a user can upload a CAD file of a large-scale system (e.g., a complete vehicle), and it will automatically identify components and subsystems to produce as consolidated monolithic parts, and optimally redesign them for AM to minimize production costs and meet structural loading requirements.