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nTop (nTopology) launches nTop 4

Realizing the full potential of additive manufacturing through Field Optimization and more

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nTop (nTopology), the company that created one of the most advanced software tools for designing highly optimized lattice structures ideal for additive manufacturing, is launching nTop 4, the next major release of the company’s software. Purpose-built to harness the vast design options enabled by additive manufacturing, nTop 4 allows designers to bring a new generation of products to market even faster.

Significantly accelerating over the past decade, additive manufacturing has unleashed a whole new world of design freedom, making it possible to produce complex parts that offer breakthrough levels of performance. But this complexity creates bottlenecks throughout the product development process – from design to manufacturing.

Applied to the NASA EXCITE bracket, Field Optimization simultaneously optimized weight and vibrational stiffness by fine tuning the local wall and gyroid thickness throughout the part.

As AM technology has matured, so has the sophistication of the problems engineers are trying to solve. Successfully turning complex geometry into highly engineered, production-quality parts demands much more. The design freedom enabled by AM coupled with complex engineering requirements makes it impractical or even impossible to design these types of parts manually. Without being able to fully utilize the design space, engineers are leaving performance on the table in applications where performance matters most. In traditional CAD, the approach might be to make a parametric sketch of a few key design variables – but how do you parameterize geometry where every point in space can be optimized?

nTopology launches nTop 4 to realize the full potential of additive manufacturing through Field Optimization and more
Applied to a hip implant, Field Optimization simultaneously optimized for strength, weight, and bone-like properties by locally optimizing the cell size and thickness of the Voronoi cells.

Applied to a satellite bracket for the NASA EXCITE challenge (image at the top), Field Optimization simultaneously optimized weight and vibrational stiffness by fine-tuning the local wall and gyroid thickness throughout the part. Applied to a hip implant, Field Optimization simultaneously optimized for strength, weight, and bone-like properties by locally optimizing the cell size and thickness of the Voronoi cells.

In nTop 4, nTopology is introducing a new capability called Field Optimization, which is a multi-objective, multi-scale, and closed-loop optimization capability that is a more effective and efficient way to design complex, high-performance parts. This new capability’s use is similar to that of traditional topology optimization. It allows engineers to focus on specifying the design intent and requirements of the part while letting the software automatically determine the complex geometric details such as lattice layouts, wall thicknesses, rib patterns, and/or other spatially-varying parameters.

Using the nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT, you can directly import complex nTop designs into EOSPRINT without having to deal with the challenges of mesh-based data transfer. This will become available with EOSPRINT 2.14 due to be released in June 2023.

Another new feature of nTop 4 is Implicit Interop to ensure engineers using nTop have a reliable and feasible path to production, even for their most complex designs. With Implicit Interop it is now possible to directly exchange nTop geometry in a compact file format (a new *.implicit extension in the software) which can be read and queried by other tools using a lightweight library now available to partners. With Implicit Interop, exchanging complex design data is now measured in kilobytes to megabytes, not gigabytes.

This capability is being introduced in nTop 4 in the form of two new products. First, the nTop Plugin for EOSPRINT allows mutual customers to directly import, set up, and print nTop designs on EOS printers natively from EOSPRINT software. This plugin goes live in EOSPRINT 2.14, scheduled for release in June of 2023. The second, is nTop Core, a simple and lightweight library for partners to open, use, and integrate nTop native geometry in their own tools and systems, enabling customers to seamlessly integrate nTop into their own product development process, and ultimately use the best tool for the job.

Using nTop Core, Inkbit was able to demonstrate the ability to read, query, and ultimately manufacture high-quality parts directly from nTop implicit files without any meshing.

To test this further, nTopology collaborated with Inkbit. The AI-driven high-speed photopolymerization hardware startup was able to independently incorporate the library into their software to read, query, and ultimately manufacture nTop parts directly from the *.implicit file itself (shown below), all without any meshing.

In order to deploy nTop at scale, nTopology is also launching nTop Automate, allowing nTop workflows to be programmatically executed for use cases such as design space exploration, batch processing, and mass customization. With support for both Windows and Linux, customers can now deploy nTop workflows on more powerful computing hardware and/or cloud environments using more cost-effective infrastructure.

More detailed information about nTop 4 is available on the company’s blog.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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