The machine manufacturing sector faces increasing global competition. Cost reduction plays a key part in maintaining an edge in the competitive market. Lightweight technology can make a significant impact by reducing material requirements and the associated costs. A recent German study has shown that the production costs of a static component can be reduced by up to seven percent by using topology optimization.
The subject of the study was the standard design of a static heavy machine component, namely a needle bed in an industrial flat knitting machine. A topology optimization study was carried out on the needle bed to evaluate the part through a linear static and modal analysis. By using topology optimization, the amount of original material used could be reduced by about 30 percent. This amounts to a weight reduction from 251.2 kilograms down to 173.8 kilograms.