The world of product design is constantly changing. With advanced technologies like 3D printing and computer-aided design, designers and engineers can use generative design software to advance their design process. By utilizing artificial intelligence, this methodology overcomes time constraints and limitations.
This technology makes it possible to create extremely complex structures that would otherwise be difficult and inconvenient to design. If you’re not familiar with the benefits of this technology, we have you covered.
In this article, you’ll discover the importance of generative design software, as well as what it is, and how it works. Let’s get right to it.
What is generative design?
Generative design is an approach to designing that uses AI-powered software to generate designs that adhere to certain constraints.
Unlike traditional design approaches, in which the process begins with a model based on an engineer’s knowledge, generative design starts with design parameters and uses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate models.
Difference between generative design and parametric design
While generative design and parametric design may appear to be similar, they are actually different.
Parametric design gives the designer the ability to make changes in real-time while generative design uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to generate multiple iterations.
The parametric design approach is iterative and allows the designer to create designs based on input parameters such as building materials, site constraints, etc. while generative design combines both algorithms and parameters to find the best solution.
How do generative design softwares work?
The use of generative design software simplifies the design process and saves time and effort. In using generative design software, the following steps are involved:
- Initial human input – To begin with, the designer or engineer will enter a great deal of information. It will be this data that will guide artificial intelligence. An example of data to include would be the goals, constraints, and limitations of the design. In addition, the engineer would include information about the material, weight, cost, and strength of the product.
- AI in action – Once all the basic parameters have been entered, the AI-based program will begin to operate. As a result, computer systems and artificial intelligence (AI) will create thousands of possible designs based on the data provided.
- Human corrections – Once the computer has created the initial designs, the designer or engineer reviews them. During this step, they may make changes to the constraints and goals. If necessary, the process will be repeated until a satisfactory outcome is achieved.
- Prototype development – When the designer or engineer is satisfied with the design, they will create a prototype. Upon evaluating the prototype, the designer will decide whether to approve it, put it into production, or go back to stage three for more variations.
Why is software for generative design important?
Software for generative design utilizes both human input and artificial intelligence alongside an immense computing power to generate hundreds of design variants.
Therefore, engineers and designers can reap multiple benefits from generative design software. Here are some of the most relevant ones.
Streamlining the product design process
Artificial intelligence-powered systems are capable of generating multiple design variations within a shorter period of time than humans. As such, generative design can significantly decrease the overall product design process time, thereby improving productivity and optimizing the employed time.
Enhancing design creativity
Generative design software can produce numerous design variations within a short amount of time, allowing creativity to flourish. Having access to numerous product designs will remove the limitations imposed on creativity by traditional design methodologies.
Reducing environmental impact
Environmentally friendly and energy-efficient manufacturing is a high priority in today’s manufacturing industries. However, this can be difficult to accomplish manually. Rather, the generative design ensures that you will never lack design solutions to achieve this goal.
The structural logic behind it reduces material waste with algorithms designed to build sustainable systems. Moreover, by optimizing the weight, it reduces fuel consumption.
Cutting design costs
Traditional design processes require extensive testing and evaluation. As a matter of fact, after each design is created, it needs to be tested – a process that is both expensive and time-consuming. In generative design, this testing and simulation process occurs during the AI computation. As a result, only viable and efficient designs will be produced. This eliminates the need for costly design changes in the manufacturing process.
Getting rid of traditional design limitations
When using traditional design methodologies, machines and programs are limited to basic geometric shapes. Through generative design, AI can overcome these limitations, allowing designers and engineers to create complex geometric shapes that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
Applications of generative design
Several industries make use of generative design, including aerospace, architecture, manufacturing, and consumer goods. Let us examine the most common applications.
Automobile design calls for multifunctional optimization. From chasing lightwethening, car safety, manufacturing operations to industrial design and environmenetally sustainability.
Generative design technology allows companies to create structural and mechanical components that reduce the overall mass of skeletons while maintaining their strength.
Sports equipment industry
Design teams in the sports equipment industry utilize generative design to achieve new levels of product performance while minimizing production costs.
Costs associated with air travel are high. It has always been the aim of aviation engineers to reduce an aircraft’s mass as much as possible without compromising its strength. They can now accomplish such goals quickly and easily with generative design technology.
The use of generative design can also help medical engineers develop high-efficiency implants and devices and improve traceability for regulatory compliance.
The use of generative design software for architectural design is common for solving design problems and finding solutions tailored to specific needs and preferences.
Best generative design software
In addition to generative design-specific software, many CAD programs now include integrated generative design tools.
Some of the most popular software programs with generative design capabilities include:
nTopology is a popular and widely-used generative design software. Designers and engineers can streamline the design process by taking advantage of some of its key features. nTopology, for instance, enables engineers to produce reusable workflows tailored to the unique needs of their application using state-of-the-art generative tools and offers full control over the optimization process and its outputs. Other generative design tools provided by nTopology include unbreakable modeling and latticing operations, field-driven design capabilities, and mechanical and thermal FEA simulations.
2. Fusion 360 from Autodesk
Fusion 360 is a cloud-based solution for 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, CAE, and PCB design and manufacturing. With its generative design tools, users can identify design requirements, constraints, materials, and manufacturing options, while leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence to review cloud-generated design outcomes based on visual similarities, plots, and filters.
3. NX from Siemens
NX software from Siemens is an integrated generative design tool that helps engineers and designers create more efficient products. Supporting all phases of product development, from concept design through engineering and manufacturing, NX provides a comprehensive set of integrated tools that coordinate disciplines, preserve data integrity and design intent, and streamline the entire design process. Among its key features are design interoperability, design validation, knowledge reuse, workflow-based solutions, and many others.
4. MSC Apex Generative Design from MSC Software
The MSC Apex Generative Design solution provides designers with a complete end-to-end solution for high-precision, industrial components. It combines the simplicity of a graphical design program with automation, import, validation, and direct output. MSC Apex Generative Design software includes some key features such as intelligent smoothing, automatic mesh generation, lattice structure optimization, stress constraint-based optimization, and more.
5. Creo Generative Design from PTC
With Creo Generative Design software, users are able to generate optimal design concepts while simultaneously exploring and testing multiple design iterations in real-time.
Based on the design parameters that users set, it highlights iterations that best meet their objectives. As part of the Creo design environment, this software promises to deliver high-quality, low-cost, and manufactured designs.
Is generative design the future?
Generative design is an evolutionary way of approaching engineering and design in the digital era. Today, designers and engineers can use AI-powered generative design software to generate many different design variations, enhancing the design process. Throughout this article, it is shown that such programs can have a lot of benefits for both the users and industries involved. Due to this, the use of such technologies is certain to increase in the near future, displacing traditional techniques drastically.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. Hopefully, you found it informative and helpful.
If you want to read more, please check out this article on how AI is redefining the ‘human touch’ in fintech industry.
Flavia Silipo is a skilled SEO copywriter and digital marketing specialist with over two years of experience. You can find her on LinkedIn.