CENIT optimises for Catia

CENIT claims that its new module for Catia users brings the complex world of design optimisation to any engineer’s desktop. Catopo enables Catia users to automatically generate the best possible shape for their design given pre-specified geometric and physical constraints.

‘Many engineers dream and talk about software that will automatically optimise component designs so that they meet required performance characteristics with minimal material usage’, explains Steve Massie, Technical and Marketing Manager of Desktop Engineering, now part of the CENIT group. ‘Indeed, over the past few years a number of software companies have produced programs that attempt to do just that. However such solutions have their limitations. Parametric techniques enable a given form (topology) to be optimised for a series of given situations, but will not tell you if another form would be better. True topology optimisers, which evolve a shape suitable for the requirements, have remained the domain of engineering analysis experts and inaccessible to ordinary design engineers.’ Now CENIT has released Catopo, that brings the world of topology optimisation to the engineer, and enables him to optimise component shapes to meet desired functional characteristics.

Central to Catopo is its interface which uses the same basic Catia functionality used by engineers to undertake FEA studies and which, in line with many leading analysis tools, automates and greatly simplifies the task of undertaking such studies. All the user needs to do is take a basic design model and define the material to be used, the loads and constraints that apply and the space envelope(s) within which the design can evolve.

The software then takes this basic information and automatically passes it to either or both of two leading topology optimisation packages: Optistruct from Altair Engineering and MSC.Construct from MSC.Software. These packages automatically modify the topology of the geometry in the areas allowed, adding material where required and removing it where not, in a series of evolutionary steps using automatic FE analyses as the basis for the decision process. The results of each evolution stage are then automatically read back into Catia and overlaid on the original part geometry as basic faceted geometry.

This simple process enables an engineer to quickly establish the type of topology that would be optimum for the component in question and gives him basic geometry, which he can use to finalise his design. Not only does the process improve product quality, it also enables a better solution to be derived in a far shorter time than traditional design iteration processes allow.

Additionally the software will also optimise a design for a number of different load cases simultaneously as one often needs to optimise for a number of different competing situations in the real world. However the same basic simplicity of use is maintained. Indeed a designer with some basic understanding of the Catia FEA software and applied mechanics can be up and running with Catopo within a day.