Light-weighting is critical for aerospace applications and highly relevant for automotive, machine tools, robots and other high-end products to reduce material and energy costs as well as to mitigate their environmental impact. The opportunities for weight saving for structural components are best realized during early concept development phase once the package space, loads and performance target become available. For stamped sheet metal parts, topography optimization can be utilized at the concept development phase to insert features such as beads and swages to maximize the stiffness of the structure without adding mass. The challenge is to adapt the predicted bead pattern for manufacturing feasibility. Topology optimization is now well recognized as an invaluable software tool to estimate optimal distribution of material in a structure that minimizes weight while meeting or exceeding the stiffness targets. To design high performance stamping dies, topology optimization may offer significant advantage with regards to reduction of material and handling costs. However, bionic shapes resulting from topology optimization may pose challenges for manufacturing.
In this study, a methodology is discussed to integrate topography optimization to stiffen stamped parts and topology optimization for light-weighting of related tooling while considering manufacturability.