Renishaw is an established world leader in engineering technologies, with a strong history of innovation in product development and manufacturing. Since its formation in 1973, the company has supplied leading-edge products that increase process productivity, improve product quality and deliver cost effective automation solutions.
Renishaw's laser melting process is an emerging manufacturing technology with a presence in the medical industry, as well as the aerospace and high technology engineering and electronics sectors. Laser melting is a digitally driven additive manufacturing process that uses focused laser energy to fuse metallic powders into 3D objects.
Inspire in the Design Process
Chris Williams from Empire Cycles had been using Additive Manufacturing components in production for many years, but wanted the opportunity to test it out on a full bicycle product. He contacted Renishaw and explained the situation. The team at Renishaw thought that a standard simple part of the bicycle like the seat post would be the best fit for additive manufacturing and weight reduction, as this is a known entity and simple enough to validate and test.
In order to design the seat post component with less material and weight, Renishaw used solidThinking Inspire to perform concept generation. Inspire allowed Renishaw to quickly and
easily generate the ideal part shape in the concept development stage of the design.
A tool such as Inspire goes hand in hand with additive manufacturing by generating component designs that maximize the benefits afforded by the freedom of the process. This
leads to stronger and lighter components that can often not be produced with traditional manufacturing techniques.
The original CAD data was imported into Inspire, and retaining bolts and the seat post were modeled. This enabled the retaining bolts to be fixed and acting forces applied to the end of the seat post. The part was defeatured to maximize the design space, allowing Inspire maximum design freedom. Next, the ideal part shape was generated using Inspire. Then a second iteration was carried out using a smaller design space to further refine the shape.