The cost of using AM is largely controlled by the weight/volume of the object to be produced and thus the time it takes to build the part additively. This means that complex geometric shapes are not more expensive to produce than simpler shapes, but the geometry and the AM process influence each other, so the AM process should be simulated in the design phase.
The quality and properties of an object produced by AM depends on a good interaction between the AM process, how the objects are oriented and packed in the building volume ("process plan"), the material behavior (in the printing process) and the geometric shape of the object. This means that material behavior and process plan are important factors when determining the object geometry, so the AM process should be simulated as part of the design phase.
In the research field "analysis-based design for AM", SINTEF develops a new geometrical basis for the numerical simulations, in order to establish effective communication between design software (CAD) and the simulation software.
The work on a new geometrical basis for the simulations utilizes geometry representations based on three-variable spline technology. This technology makes it possible to represent variable material properties in an object's interior, which very important for AM. Three-variable spline technology was published in 2018 as part of ISO 103030 (STEP) Part 42, and is also the basis of so-called Isogeometric Analysis (IgA), where B-splines replace traditional "shape functions" in finite element analysis (FEA).
See also the expertise description "Simulation tools for AM".