How to use Surface Thickness in Design Optimization

During the design phase, an engineer may evaluate different design options using FEA and iterate using trial and error to refine the design for one or two key parameters. The problem with this manual approach is that other design parameters, outside of those the user is setting, can inadvertently be impacted. For example, a part modified to minimize weight by removing portions of the material may result in unacceptable changes in the part’s natural frequency. Optimization tools enable modifying multiple variables for iterative design changes while maintaining certain limits on other design parameters.


Parametric Optimization

Many current FEA software tools include the ability to perform optimization. Essentially, these routines automate the common trial-and-error approach of changing design variables and determining the impact of these changes. The advantage of incorporating these tools into an automated algorithm is that the software can “keep an eye on” other variables that may be impacted by changing the variable of interest.

Parametric optimization involves the following concepts:

  • Variables: These are the values that the user wants to modify from the part design.
  • Constraints: These are the limits that are placed on various parameters.
  • Goals: This is generally the parameter optimized. For example, minimizing weight on a part would be a common goal.


In this video we are going to see how the thickness of a surface can be included in the design optimization process.


3D Interconnect In SOLIDWORKS

How to enable and use SOLIDWORKS 3D Interconnect

Many companies use different CAD packages to implement their Designs. Solidworks 2017 introduces “3D Interconnect” option to change the workflow from Other CAD Packages.

Users can perform the following tasks in Solidworks 2017:

  • Designers can import other CAD files directly into the Solidworks assembly without converting it into Solidworks files.
  • Users can modify other CAD files in Solidworks without affecting the original files.
  • Users can also update their files if their original other CAD file modification happens

New Enhancement in Solidworks 2018:

In 2018, Solidworks provides much enhancement in ‘3D Interconnect’ option. Users can import STEP, ACIS, IGES and Other CAD Packages.

Solidworks 3D interconnect can also import Material Properties, Custom Properties, Unconsumed Sketches and Curves and the Reference axis.

The supported file format types are:

  • UG (NX software)
  • PTC® Creo
  • Solid Edge®
  • STEP
  • Autodesk® Inventor
  • CATIA® V5
  • IGES
  • ACIS

Solidworks 3D Interconnect reads only the material names and density attributes from the other CAD Packages. (Note: Only Solidworks Premium can open Catia files).

It reads unconsumed sketches or curves that are not consumed by any features.

Solidworks 3D Interconnect can also read Reference Plane and User Defined Attributes from the STEP, IGES, and ACIS file format.

Users can import STEP, IGES, and ACIS assembly files as Multibody files.

To turn on 3D interconnect option:

To turn on the 3D Interconnect option, click option from the Solidworks window. Then click system option and select the import option then select “Enable 3D Interconnect” in the general file format.

Option > System option > Import > Select “Enable 3D Interconnect”.

Enable 3D Interconnect










To import custom properties of other file formats:

Click the drop-down of file format option. Select “Inventor/ Catia v5/ Creo/ NX / Solid Edge” in the File format

Other file format










Then select the ‘Custom properties’ and ‘Material properties’:

Option > System Properties > Import > File Format > Inventor/    Catia v5/ Creo / NX / Solid Edge.

Material properties










To import reference planes and attributes of step files:

Change the file format drop down to STEP / IGES / ACIS.

Option > System Properties > Import > File Format > Select “STEP/IGES/ACIS”.

reference planes and attributes of step files