Generative Design

Classifying Generative Design

Different iterations of the optimization of an aircraft bracket
Different iterations of the optimization of an aircraft bracket

Generative Design is a new disruptive technology that delivers a paradigm shift for the design and engineering of new products. The conventional design cycle has well-defined steps that include definition, research, specification, design, development, test, revise and revise again until a suitable product is developed. Generative Design is an innovation that significantly alters this way of thinking. It leverages topology optimization, artificial intelligence, and advanced simulation which automatically creates multiple viable design alternatives by specifying simple design criteria.

Engineers are no longer limited by their imagination, experience level, or legacy designs. They are freed from routine design work as advanced algorithms take over actual geometry definition and can now use their skills to evaluate the various concepts generated. Not only are all design concepts smooth organic topologies that satisfy design criteria, but they overcome the most challenging task of being ready and optimized for Additive Manufacturing.

Typical industries and application fields

The aim of Generative Design is to find an optimal geometry for defined requirements with the least possible use of materials. The typical field of application of Generative Design is therefore lightweight design, often in combination with additive manufacturing as the production technology due to the resulting complex structures. The characteristic branches therefore include

  • Aerospace industry & suppliers
  • Automotive industry & suppliers
  • Mechanical engineering (e.g. turbines, special machines)
  • Medical industry (e.g. orthopaedics, implants)
  • Transport and packaging technology as well as robotics

Challenges in product development

Overlay of the final geometries with the simulation result
Overlay of the final geometries with the simulation result

With increasingly complex products, a growing importance of efficiency in production and operation, and shorter development cycles, product development is faced with the challenge of uniting all requirements and implementing them efficiently. The decisive factor here is the combination of a part that is excellently designed for production and at the same time optimally constructed for use. With additive manufacturing, a production technology exists which supports the last aspect in particular through the high freedom of geometry, but which also requires special adaptations to the manufacturing properties. This creates a multitude of challenges in different areas.

Challenges from an economic perspective:

  • Production costs
  • Time-to-Market
  • Increased efficiency in product development
  • Lack of skilled workers
  • Production waste

Challenges from a technical perspective:

  • Existing software cannot exploit the geometric freedom of additive manufacturing
  • Manual design very complex and time-consuming
  • Distinct expert knowledge required for production and design
  • Previous optimizations require special expertise and are very time-consuming

MSC Apex Generative Design: A Product solution of MSC Software

MSC Apex Generative Design is an almost fully automated solution for the optimization of technical parts. Intelligent and efficient algorithms generate complex, organic lightweight structures in a very short time, which are optimally adapted to additive manufacturing. The structured and simple user interface in combination with a high degree of automation of the entire optimization process makes it possible to generate precisely fitting geometries even without special knowledge. Essential features are:

  • Simplicity - No expert knowledge is required to carry out optimizations through a particularly user-oriented software design.
  • Automated Design - Several design candidates are generated almost fully automatically.
  • Optimal design - The generated variants meet all design criteria and minimize weight at the same time.
  • Import and validation - Import existing geometry or meshes, find optimized design candidates and perform design validation - all in a single CAE environment.
  • Direct output - Export high-quality geometry that can be produced directly and used immediately without manual post-processing.
  • One process - Import the resulting geometries into Simufact Additive (Metal) or Digimat AM (Polymer) to achieve a cost-effective first-time-right approach for each part.

With MSC Apex Generative Design you can efficiently generate optimal part geometries, freeing the engineer from tedious routine work and allowing more time for creative solutions and concepts.

MSC Apex Generative Design