3D Software

nTop 4’s new design tools push additive manufacturing to the mainstream

Engineering software developer nTop (previously nTopology), has recently launched a major update of its flagship product: nTop 4.

The company asserts that additive manufacturing has opened up new avenues for design, allowing the creation of complex parts with enhanced performance. However, this complexity in AM parts has presented new bottlenecks in product development, affecting both the design and manufacturing processes. Engineers often struggle to fully utilize the advantages of AM due to the extensive time and effort required, sometimes resulting in suboptimal performance. Additionally, the limitations of outdated design file formats can make it difficult or even impossible to 3D print the designed parts. To address these challenges, nTop launched a major update to its flagship engineering design software. 

“At nTop, we have always believed that design is at the core of solving the world’s hardest engineering problems. nTop 4 marks the next stage of our journey enabling engineers to deliver highly engineered AM parts for products to reach new levels of performance,” says Bradley Rothenberg, nTop Co-founder, and CEO.

Featuring nTop 4

nTop 4 is a major update that enables engineers in overcoming the bottlenecks commonly encountered in additive manufacturing. It provides the tools to design and manufacture complex parts, offering enhanced design flexibility, decreased time required to bring products to market, improved quality, and cost reduction.

The software nTop is constructed using three fundamental technologies: Implicit Modeling, Field-Driven Design, and Design Process Automation.

With the release of nTop 4, the recent significant update, the software enhances its core technologies and introduces new functionalities that eliminate bottlenecks around four themes: design (Field Optimization), integration (Implicit Interop), scalability (nTop Automate), and adoption (customer success programs).

Field Optimization: a new generative design technology for additive manufacturing

With the extensive design possibilities of additive manufacturing, traditional manual iterations become impractical and time-consuming. To tackle this challenge, nTop 4 introduces Field Optimization, a generative design technology that assists engineers in managing the multitude of design parameters associated with complex engineering problems. By facilitating faster decision-making and enhancing part performance, Field Optimization streamlines the design process in additive manufacturing.

Field Optimization incorporates a multi-scale and multi-objective optimization engine into nTop’s core technology, creating a design tool that possesses superior power while remaining user-friendly. With the introduction of intuitive workflows, Field Optimization aids engineers in generating high-quality additive manufacturing part designs for various applications, including lightweighting, medical implants, and industrial design.

Applied to the NASA EXCITE bracket, Field Optimization simultaneously optimized weight and vibrational stiffness by fine-tuning the local wall and gyroid thickness throughout the part. Image via nTop.

Implicit Interop provides seamless data transfer

As additive manufacturing parts become more complex, the large file sizes of legacy design files can slow down the manufacturing process. With Implicit Interop, the bottlenecks associated with data exchange for complex designs are eliminated, facilitating seamless transfer of data between nTop, manufacturing, CAD, and CAE software. This novel approach significantly reduces file sizes from gigabytes to mere megabytes. nTop includes additional features: nTop Core, nTop Implicit File (.implicit), and nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT.

nTop Core is a developer library that facilitates the seamless integration of Implicit Interop into nTop partners’ software applications. It is currently being utilized by nTop’s partner network to build native connections and plugins that support nTop Implicit Files. The nTop Implicit File (.implicit) represents a novel file format that enables direct sharing of implicit geometry, eliminating the need for meshing. As a result, this format offers smaller file sizes while maintaining high levels of precision.

Implicit Interop feature streamlines the manufacturing of complex parts. Image via nTop.

The nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT helps users overcome data exchange bottlenecks caused by meshing when transferring files between the two software. Mesh files are large, difficult to generate, and can compromise accuracy. Some complex geometries cannot be meshed at all. Using an nTop Implicit File and the nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT eliminates these issues.

Siemens Energy successfully tested the nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT by 3D printing a previously unmanufacturable heat exchanger. The nTop Implicit File used had a file size of approximately 1MB, which is 99% smaller compared to a mesh file. The generation process was 500x faster, and the file was sliced in EOSPRINT with utmost precision.

Additionally, nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT is now available in public beta for all nTop customers with EOSPRINT 2.14 or later.

Using the nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT, you can directly import complex nTop designs into EOSPRINT without having to deal with the challenges of mesh-based data transfer. Image via nTop.

Improved design automation for additive manufacturing

When utilizing additive manufacturing for rapid iteration during design exploration or mass customization, generating and managing custom or one-off designs at scale can be challenging. However, nTop Automate offers a solution by allowing users to amplify the effectiveness of engineering resources. By executing nTop workflows within a programmatic environment, this feature enables streamlined automation, thereby enhancing efficiency in generating and managing custom designs on a larger scale.

Apart from the existing Windows deployment, nTop now includes nTop Automate for Linux, offering engineers the ability to use more cost-effective cloud computing solutions or leverage available on-premise high-performance computing (HPC) resources. This expanded compatibility enables engineers to explore more economical options for their computational needs.

Deploy nTop Automate to scale design and manufacturing throughput. Image via nTop.

nTop Accelerate: accelerate adoption, maximize impact

nTop not only provides high-quality tools but also offers programs to accelerate adoption and maximize impact in organizations of all sizes. The latest addition, nTop Accelerate, encompasses personalized training, custom workshops, and design sprints to help customers achieve their program objectives. Additionally, nTop continues to invest in onboarding initiatives like nTop Learn, an online learning center, to facilitate engineers in quickly delivering value.

nTop provides access to customer success programs. Image via nTop.

To know more about nTop software, visit the official website.

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Featured image shows nTop 4, a major update to nTop’s flagship product. Image via nTop.