New York-based 3D software company nTopology has collaborated with London-headquartered firm Betatype to help develop a functionally optimized rocket nozzle part. The partnership yielded a 28% reduction in build time for the part, produced using a Renishaw AM250 system.
Production of the rocket nozzle was carried out as a case study to highlight how the two software companies’ respective software solutions can be integrated, resulting in increased productivity for metal additive manufacturing. “Betatype’s partnership with nTopology is an excellent demonstration of how we can work with talented designers to make additive manufacturing perform,” comments Betatype Founder and CEO, Sarat Babu.
“The application clearly shows the benefits of combining the functional design and optimization skills of our partner with process optimization through our technology to achieve productivity levels that would not otherwise be possible with a standard metal LPBF platform.”
Collaborating to push metal AM further
Established more than 3 years ago, nTopology develops generative design software to solve industrial challenges in aerospace, medical, automotive and consumer product sectors. The company recently introduced its latest generative design solution, the nTop Platform, which provides a complete platform to design, analyze, and prepare parts for manufacturing. Betatype, on the other hand, produces software for process optimization. Its Engine 3D printing workflow software generates small-sized data files for efficient processing, capable of doubling the productivity of metal 3D printing.
Combining their software technologies to produce the rocket nozzle part, nTopology first set about designing the mechanical structure of the component. Using its nTop Platform software, the company converted the 3D model of the nozzle part into an implicit model, where it was then processed through nTopology’s topology optimization and simulation tools. In order to further optimize the part for metal additive manufacturing, the nTopology team worked with Betatype to apply the capabilities of its Engine and Process Control technology. Specifically, the part was optimized for the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process on the Renishaw AM250. Betatype’s software technology helped to establish a significant increase in productivity for the metal rocket nozzle part, reducing build time on the AM250 from 25 hours down to 18 hours.
The final part was produced in titanium, with Betatype stressing the advantages of establishing partnerships to push technology further. Through their collaboration, the two companies were able to produce a complex and functional part through the intelligent design of nTopology. However, Betatype suggests that with inclusion of its software, the partnership was able to demonstrate that “complexity and functionality does not have to come at the expense of productivity.”
Teamwork makes the dreAM work
The partnership between Betatype and nTopology extends further than the development and production of the titanium rocket nozzle part. Significantly, Betatype’s Engine software achieves faster print times by storing data in file formats which are lighter than a .stl file, overcoming the slower print times created by larger files. These file formats include the LTCX file from nTopology. Furthermore, nTopology designed a titanium pressure vessel that was then 3D printed by Betatype on its Renishaw AM250 at the Develop 3D Live event in March 2017.
Brad Rothenberg, Founder and CEO nTopology commented on its partnership with Betatype: “For serial production in additive manufacturing to work, it must make business sense. Through the partnership between nTopology and Betatype, and our shared belief in solving engineering problems by linking design, simulation, and manufacturing processes directly, we are able to present a strong business case for additive manufacturing. We enable our customers to design and manufacture complex parts with speed, efficiency and reliability.”
Other collaborative efforts established by Betatype outside of nTopology includes its work with French aeronautical electrical company Safran Electrical & Power, where it helped to improve the design of an electrical generator housing using 3D printing.
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Featured image shows the 3D printed, functionally optimized rocket nozzle part, produced using nTopology and Betatype software. Photo via Betatype.