Bionic Bracket for Additive Manufacturing

For our ELISE software, we have been inspired by nature and for a given component, therefore, its technical DNA is always created first. Similar to a biological DNA, the technical one contains the specifications like how the component can be designed and in which areas it has to withstand a load. Our innovative algorithms then calculate how much material is needed at which places.

Since every gram of weight counts in space travel, it was particularly important for our colleagues from the Ariane Group to use our software in a pilot project in order to develop a bionic lightweight bracket. In this case, too, the user of the ELISE software did not create the component itself, but rather the technical DNA of the component from which the component is automatically created on the basis of intelligent algorithms. At the beginning of this process, called Generative Engineering, it is not clear how the component will look like. This only becomes apparent in the course of automated development, during which the design is continuously optimised. The software adapts it to the given conditions, which engineers can easily modify to have influence on the component.

Until now, changes of the boundary conditions during the ongoing development were often a reason for necessary restarts or iteration loops in the process. With ELISE, such modifications don’t result in manual work anymore – as the existing technical DNA is used for automated adjustments. This saves a lot of time during development. For instance, if loads are modified, the software will respond to it with changes in e.g. material thickness, number of ribs or the material to it within the limits of permitted freedom. From the many possibilities calculated, the user selects the best one.

The result of the pilot project: a bionic lightweight construction whose design a human engineer would probably never have developed on his own. Manufactured in a 3D printer, these parts consist only of exactly as much material as is actually needed. Moreover, this process resulted in a weight reduction of 56%, and in case of a change in boundary conditions, a new design iteration takes place in just a few minutes if the technical DNA is used and no additional manual work is needed. This novel approach will turn the design process upside down!