Basic optimization in paretoworks

For this tutorial, we will need to load the ThreeHoleBracket.SLDPRT file from the ParetoWorks Examples directory on your desktop, then activate the ParetoWorks Add-in from the Tools menu of SolidWorks. After ParetoWorks is loaded, you should see an alert notifying you that ParetoWorks has initialized and is ready to use.

Figure 1 — Assigning a material.

step 1 — assigning a material to your model

The first step in optimizing in Pareto is to assign a material to the model. This is done in a few simple steps.

  1. Expand the Material section in the ParetoWorks menu.

  2. In the Select Body box, there will be a list of the different bodies representing the model. For the three hole model, there will be only one body listed. Click on Cut-Extrude1 (NoMaterial) to select the model. Doing this will highlight the 3D model. Note: Pareto can be set up to use metric or imperial units in the Units drop down. For this exercise, leave this set to SI

  3. In the Material drop down, ensure that AlloySteel is selected, then click the Apply button.

Pareto will allow you to assign one of many existing materials, or you can define a custom material by assigning values to the Elastic Modulus, Poisson’s ratio, Density, and Yield fields.

Finally, in multi body models, you may tell Pareto not to run optimization on certain bodies by checking the Do not optimize checkbox when assigning a material.

Figure 2 — Assigning fixed conditions

Figure 3 — Assigning a Force Condition

step 2 — Assign design conditions

In the second step to optimize this model, we need to assign some design conditions to the model. For this example, we are going to mark two of the holes as fixed and assign a force in the negative Y direction of 6000 N to the third hole.

  1. Expand the Design Condition section in the Pareto menu

  2. Assign Fixed conditions to two of the holes in the model (Figure 2)

    1. Ensure that the Type is set to Fixed in the drop down menu

    2. Select the inner surface of the upper hole, and the hole in the right angle of the model by clicking on that surface. Each surface will become highlighted as they are selected.

    3. Click the Apply button in the Design Condition section to assign the fixed condition.

  3. Assign a force to the remaining hole (Figure 3)

    1. Set the Type to Force in the drop down menu.

    2. Select the inner surface of the remaining hole. The inner surface will become highlighted when selected.

    3. Edit the YForce value to -6000

    4. Click the apply value to assign the force.

The Design Conditions section is where loads are assigned to models within Pareto. There is a help dialog that explains what each type does, and relevant fields will become enabled and disabled for each type. Finally, you may clear a load off of a surface by selecting the surface and hitting the Clear button.

Figure 4 — The FEA Section

Figure 5 — Three Hole Static FEA Results

Step 3 — Running Finite Element Analysis on a model

In the third step, we will use the Finite Element Analysis (FEA) tool to generate a mesh and do some initial load analysis.

  1. Expand the Finite Element Analysis section of the ParetoWorks sidebar.

  2. In this section, ensure that the inputs are set to the following values (see Figure 3)

    1. LoadSet: 0

    2. Mesh Quality: Medium

    3. #Modes: 1

    4. The following options are checked:

      1. Remesh

      2. Z Symmetry

  3. Click the Execute Static FEA button. The result should look similar to Figure 4

The important thing to note about the FEA section is the mesh quality option. This tells Pareto how many elements to split the models mesh into. A very coarse mesh will have few elements and may produce a very rough final model, but will create it very quickly. You can play with this setting to observe different models generated by Pareto and the time it takes to generate them.

Figure 6 — The Assign Constraints section

Step 4 — Assigning constraints

Pareto has many options for different manufacturing constraints when generating an optimized model. These options are split up into Manufacturing Constraints and Design Constraints. These options will be explained in further guides for ParetoWorks. For this example, we just need to ensure that the Keep Fixed Faces checkbox is checked to let Pareto know to leave those faces alone when generating the optimized model.

Figure 7 — Display Settings

Figure 8 — Optimize settings

Figure 8 — Optimize settings

Step 5 — Generating the optimized design

The final step in the Pareto process is generating the optimized models. We will also briefly look at the display options section to hide the original model and more clearly see the generated results.

First, lets set up the display options in ParetoWorks (Figure 7)

  1. Expand the Display section of ParetoWorks.

  2. Optional Set the Field dropdown to Displacement

Next, expand the Optimize section and and choose Max Stiffness as the Objective, and click the Optimize button. This will trigger ParetoWorks to begin optimization of the model. For each step, the optimize engine will generate a collection of models based on the StepSize option. In this case, each step will generate models with 2.5% less material than the previous model. When the optimization is complete, you should see a model similar to the model below (Figure 9).

When the Optimization is complete, an Optimization results section will become available. In this section, you can select different models generated in the optimization process by changing the value of the Topology@Vol option. This will display the generated results at different percentages of the original volume. You may also save these models off as .stl files for the different percentages.

Figure 9 — Optimized Model


Saving and loading Project files

ParetoWorks uses project files to save and load project information for a model that is being worked on. At the top of the ParetoWorks plugin, there is a section to generate project files, or load files for models you are currently working on. The Save button will open up a Save File modal window and give you the option to name your project file. This project file stores materials, load sets you’ve created for your models, as well as Constraints you’ve assigned. When a project file is loaded, it will ensure that the correct SolidWorks model is loaded for the project before loading the Pareto options.