Which Components Would Give the Biggest Weight Saving?

2nd May 2013 by Royston Jones

This post has been contributed by my colleague, Lars Fredriksson, Director at Altair ProductDesign, Germany

As engineers in an ideal world, we would use design optimization techniques on every single component in a product in order to ensure the entire structure is as lightweight as possible. In reality however, this is rarely a practical exercise as we all need to meet development schedules with a limited amount of resources.So when faced with an existing design and often hundreds of components that could potentially be optimized, how do you know which ones could yield the biggest weight savings?

The answer is to screen a product’s components during the early stage of the development process. The screening process helps to answer several vital questions when assessing where to focus time and energy such as:

  • Which steps are necessary to enhance the product?
  • What does this mean economically?
  • How large is the economic and technical potential of an optimization project?
  • How much will it cost and how much effort will be required for an optimization project compared to its benefit?
  • What are the consequence-, synergy- or interdependency-effects which may come up during the optimization project?
  • What are convenient or realistic development targets?

At a recent NAFEMS event a colleague of mine, Adrian Wischnewski of Altair ProductDesign in Germany presented a session on developing a screening process for the strategic application of optimization technology into a product development cycle.

You can view a 15 minute recording of the presentation below which gives a great insight into the process and its potential impact on a product’s weight.