Hybrid ants: A new approach for geometry creation for additive and hybrid manufacturing

Wesley Essink, Joseph Flynn, Steven Goguelin, Vimal Dhokia

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11 Citations (SciVal)
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This research presents a novel and disruptive approach to the simultaneous design and structural refinement of parts manufactured using purely additive, purely subtractive and hybrid additive-subtractive manufacturing processes (HASPs). This research is responding to the increasing need to be able to state with confidence that a particular part design can be manufactured by a particular process. This is viewed as a major barrier to the profitable exploitation of additive and hybrid manufacturing processes. By describing the known part constraints and the mechanisms (limitations) of constituent manufacturing processes, parts are designed using a bio-inspired multi-agent system called ‘Hybrid Ants’. By abstracting manufacturing processes into a set of rules that limit how and where material can be processed, all part geometries created by the Hybrid Ants are inherently ‘manufacturable’ under the current description of the manufacturing capability. The possibility that new knowledge may be elicited from this system is an exciting new paradigm, which could change the way design for additive (or hybrid) manufacturing processes is developed in the future. As will be shown throughout this paper, Hybrid Ants is a closed-loop system, which generatively creates part geometries and then appraises these geometries for structural performance using the finite element method. Stress values are then used in the next loop iteration to refine the geometry ad infinitum. This system is akin to ant (or termite) nest morphogenesis, where nest layouts are optimised for thermoregulation and ventilation. In this research, thermoregulation is analogously exchanged for stress for structural optimisation of engineering components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-204
JournalProcedia CIRP
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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