• Call us at +1 734.668.9922
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cimdata Logo

CIMdata Blog

Monday, June 26, 2017

“Generative Design” – What’s That?

Written by 

light weightingThe term “generative design” has been used in architecture and civil engineering for more than a decade. It is now gaining currency in the mechanical design (MCAD) world. See for example, https://www.autodesk.com/solutions/generative-design.

Generative Design is a term for a class of tools that create or modify design geometry based on non-geometric requirements or constraints on product performance. In this regard, Topology Optimization (TopOpt) is the poster child. In 2005, Dr. Kristina Shea, who is now a professor at ETH in Zurich, wrote: “Integrated performance-driven generative design systems are aimed at creating new design processes that produce spatially novel yet efficient and buildable designs through exploitation of current computing and manufacturing capabilities.”

In CIMdata’s view, Generative Design (GD):

  • is the use of algorithmic methods to transform requirements into product geometry and design
  • often includes optimization within constraints
  • is not necessarily based on physics (nor on natural organic processes)

So, yes, GD includes not only TopOpt, but also tools like rules-driven parametric CAD and a host of others for optimizing cost, weight, stiffness, strength, natural frequency, and other performance criteria.

This is extremely important, for it takes us out of the current paradigm of creating, and then evaluating, CAD. Rather than asking, “Does this shape meet the requirements?” we are asking, “Which shape best meets the requirements?”

Altair provides a stunning example of changing a fabricated, welded structure to a casting which somewhat reduces weight but substantially reduces manufacturing cost. See: http://www.altair.com/ResourceLibrary.aspx?translation_id=7538

This is real engineering, not just redesigning a component. It fits, exactly, what Dr. Shea described more than a decade ago.

Similarly, as we have noted before, GM has shaved an astonishing 400 lbs. from the weight of the new Chevrolet Equinox, while retaining all the interior space and vehicle performance characteristics. See earlier blog posting: http://www.cimdata.com/en/resources/cimdata-blog/item/7904-vehicle-lightweighting-a-triumph-of-up-front-engineering-optimization

Some, like me, believe that this move to Generative Design will revolutionize product design and development. In a relative sense, computing has become infinitely fast and vanishingly cheap, so we can now easily use heuristic, brute-force methods to search for optimums. Also, Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) promises the capability to make parts that were previously infeasible to produce.

Let me know what you think!

Keith

Keith Meintjes

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
ipad background image

Featured Cimdata Reports

ipadcontent
PLM Benefits Appraisal Guide

CIMdata’s PLM Benefits Appraisal Guide is designed to help potential PLM users evaluate the applicability and payoffs of PLM in their enterprise, and to help existing users of PLM monitor the impact it is having on their product programs.

ipadcontent
AEC Market Overview Report

The CIMdata 2017 AEC Market Overview Report presents CIMdata’s detailed analysis of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) market.

ipadcontent
PLM Market Analysis Reports

The PLM MAR Series provides detailed information and in-depth analysis on the worldwide PLM market. It contains analyses of major trends and issues, leading PLM providers, revenue analyses for geographical regions and industry sectors, and historical and projected data on market growth.

ipadcontent
PLM Market Analysis Country Reports

These reports offer country-specific analyses of the PLM market. Their focus is on PLM investment and use in industrial markets. Reports cover Brazil, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.

ipadcontent
Simulation & Analysis Market Analysis Report

This report presents CIMdata’s overview of the global simulation and analysis market, one of the fastest growing segments of the overall product lifecycle management market, including profiles of the leading S&A firms.

ipadcontent
CAM Market Analysis Report

This report presents CIMdata’s overview of the worldwide CAM software and services market. It also includes a discussion on the trends in the CAM industry and updates on the top CAM solution providers.