As one of the hot topics at COExperience in New Orleans, generative design is becoming more and more relevant as time goes on. COE spoke with Rani Richardson, director of CATIA technical sales light weight engineering and Brayley Bazzelle, CATIA NAM lightweight engineer at Dassault Systèmes (DS), about where generative design stands today, what changes she’s seen in the way companies are using it and what the future may look like.
COE: Can you give a brief overview of generative design and how it has picked up even more steam in the industry over the last year?
Richardson and Bazzelle: Functional generative design is an engineering efficiency tool for topology optimization that generates optimal design concepts while respecting functional requirements and specifications. Generative design captures all of the best practices from a previously disjointed process and reduces the amount of time for engineers to identify new shapes that can maximize their business needs.
Over the past year, generative design has really picked up steam as more and more companies invest in the “Factory of the Future” and “Industry 4.0” because, as they see the benefits associated with automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, the same benefits and principles are clearly seen for design and simulation in generative design.
COE: What specific changes have you seen in the last year in terms of how companies are using generative design?
Richardson and Bazzelle: When generative design was first released, companies were mainly using the tool as a smarter way to design parts and assemblies for additive manufacturing. Now, we are seeing companies that are taking steps to adopt generative design as their principal design tool for all of their new component designs and even tooling and fixtures.
One of the biggest reasons we are seeing this change is due to some of the newer enhanced quick reconstruction tools for machined parts that generative design offers. Once companies begin to experience some of the values of using generative design in an additive manufacturing context, like reduced design & validation time, lighter & stiffer designs, and less material waste, they then want to expand these benefits to all aspects of their design and validation process for traditionally manufactured parts as well.
COE: What have you personally learned about generative design in the last year related to the work that you do?
Richardson and Bazzelle: In the last year, I have learned that adopting new technology can sometimes be a daunting or intimidating task, but the technology its self is not always what presents the challenge. The business transformation necessary to change the way we think and function is essential to realizing the most success, and those that acknowledge this hurdle sooner are quicker to adopt generative design. Additionally, engineers do not have the skillset required for generative design as it is a relatively new technology thus preventing mass adoption.
COE: Why should COE members educate themselves about generative design?
Richardson and Bazzelle: Generative design is a fresh new way to look at an age old problem. How can I make this “thing” lighter and stronger? Generative design repackages complex tools in a simpler way that makes sense, so that both design and analyst engineers can leverage tools that they normally would not before and communicate at a common level. Generative design also leverages some of the CATIA skills they have like part design and surface reconstruction.
COE: Any thoughts/predictions about where generative design is headed in the next five years?
Richardson and Bazzelle: Generative design is a major step in redefining what CAD stands for as we transition from computer aided design to cognitive augmented design. Time is a very valuable resource and as the generative design process becomes even more automated with co-bots, machine learning, or AI, the end user benefits will be maximized while consuming a fraction of the amount of time.
Explore more about generative design at COExperience in New Orleans, February 24-27 by using the search tool and choosing “Generative Design” in the conference hot topics section.