Design Optimization and Part Reduction of Components in a Monorail Ceiling Structure

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Nucci, Michael
Design Optimization , Topology Optimization
There is a growing need in transportation industries for design tools and methodologies that can quickly and effectively assist designers in developing designs that are lighter and simple to manufacture. This research outlines a methodology using existing advanced design tools to re-design a series of components in a monorail ceiling structure. The goal of the redesign was to reduce the mass, manufacturing complexity and manufacturing cost to the ceiling structure while maintaining structural performance. For the redesign, structurally critical components in the center web structure were selected for optimization. These components were a cross-beam, and the bracket that attaches the cross-beam to the roof. Initial finite element analysis was completed on each component and the entire center web to obtain a baseline performance metric. Optimization was then completed in two stages. First a topology optimization was completed for the entire center web area to assess placement of components. Secondly topology optimization was completed on each of the component of interest. The optimization of the components was completed multiple times with alterations to the design space and objective function optimization to yield improved results. This process yielded two potential designs for each component. From the results in the optimization stage, re-designed components were created for both the secondary and tertiary topology optimized component designs. Using these re-designed components, an updated center web was created based off these designs and the initial optimization. Finite element analysis was completed on the updated components and the updated center web. These results were compared to the original finite element analysis results. From this result, the updated components and center web were found to be lighter and were easier to manufacture than the original designs, while meeting performance criteria. In the center web structure, the number of components was reduced by 30%, and the mass was reduced by 43%.
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