Open Design Optimization Platform (ODOP) - Coil spring design app; mechanical springs; compression spring, extension spring, torsion spring
ODOP Seek provides powerful facilities for asking "What if ... " and "What's best ?" kinds of questions. In order to do this, Seek utilizes the concepts of mathematical optimization. Specifically, the program can seek the constrained extreme of any variable, independent or dependent.
For example, within the context of coil spring design ODOP:Spring can be asked to find the lightest material weight (or lowest spring rate, least solid height, greatest factor of safety, greatest cycle life, etc.) while maintaining specified objectives for force-deflection characteristics, stress, diameters, etc. This "goal seeking" capability makes ODOP:Spring much more than a spring calculator and one of the most powerful and intuitive coil spring design alternatives available.
When Search terminates with a strictly feasible solution (i.e. OBJ = 0.0), the resulting solution point is only one of many possible solution points. The entire collection of feasible solution points is referred to as a "feasible region". The boundaries of this region are formed by the various constraints.
The ODOP Search feature will terminate when it finds its first feasible solution. Since we have not asked the search to "optimize" anything, it does not have any way to determine that one specific feasible design is better than any other feasible design. The search will simply stop and allow the user to examine the results. This is the reason why the feasible result of a search may be very close to one constraint, yet very far away from others.
Seek will require a feasible design as its starting point. In the case that a Search has terminated without finding a feasible point, use of the Trade feature may be appropriate.
Seek will automatically invoke SEARCH to maximize or minimize the indicated variable subject to the prevailing constraints and FIXes.
When examining the results of Seek, you should expect that multiple constraints are violated by a small amount. In this situation, the design may be classified as "CLOSE TO FEASIBLE" or even "NOT FEASIBLE". This is normal and expected. The solution algorithm is finding a balance between the rewards and penalties of violating those constraints
In the world of linear programming, optimal solutions are found at the intersection of constraints. While ODOP deals with problems that are potentially highly non-linear, many of those linear programming principles still apply. You should expect the optimal solution to be at the intersection of multiple constraints. Having multiple constraints violated (by a small amount) is an indicator that the solution is correct.
Seek functions by forming a "merit function" from the indicated variable and adding that into the "objective value" that the search process normally operates on. In order to blend these two functions in a way that will produce the desired results, it is necessary to have an estimate of the optimum of the merit function. SEEK will form this estimate by executing a preliminary search.
Adjust internal control settings with the File : Preferences menu item.
The value of the internal variable MFN_WT will have some impact on the results produced by SEEK. Refer to Search for additional information on adjusting internal variables with the File : Preferences menu item.