Simulation Driven Design has gain traction in most industries. Before we dive into this topic, let’s examine the importance of simulation impact to design processes. The benefit of using simulation is enormous as it helps to optimize designs; creating better and higher quality products. Additionally, it generates more new and inspired designs and at the same time, it can greatly result in the shortening of your design cycles due to the reduction of material cost or prototyping cycles.
In short, conceptual validation in design cycle help companies to achieve cost saving, strengthen their competitiveness and in turn, strengthen their market positioning.
With the emergence of Generative Design Technology in today’s light-weighted design, it changes the way design engineers design their product. In a traditional design cycle, most of the design engineers will adopt the following workflow stages of concept, design, optimize and validate as illustrated in the following diagram below. And in most circumstances, product concept validation is performed in between the design to validate stages. However, there are still exist many iterations of trial or errors before the engineer arrives at their final design.
In a full fledge Simulation-driven design cycle, design engineers could now accelerate their design process by starting to optimize their design at the conceptual stage. (New design workflow below). Of course this may look challenging without the use of technology. However, with the emergence of Generative Design Tools, engineers can now conceptualize design and perform rapid simulation at the same time in the conceptual stage. This would result in a better and high-quality design emerging at the earliest stage and engineers could also further achieve a further more optimum design at the latter stage as well.
Design optimization in the conceptual stage may sound far fetch when an engineer may not know when to begin. The usual way will be to sketch concept on paper, then try to do a free-body diagram to study the possible loading and then translate to 3D cad model. Design that is done with this approach may still look far from the final design outcome then what it is intended for by the designer since multiple iterations of design-to-simulation loops to check the engineering integrity may still be required. With generative design technology, we could now move ahead in productivity curve, as designers can now do more at the earliest stage of the design process. For instance, at the initial concept stage, we can perform the following workflow. (Refer to the diagram below).
Designers can now start by defining the space required for design, define the loading conditions, set up the engineering goals, the system will then be able to compute and produce an optimum design outcome based on the space and conditions that the designer set up. Basically, the system is intelligent enough to generate design concept that is also virtually engineered and the designer, all he needs to do is to curate if this design concept matches his design intention. If the result is accepted, then the designer can prepare the part to be 3D printed or to pass on the model to 3D CAD system to study his system level of design. With this process, the design is definitely much closer to the final design outcome whereby possible iteration of design-to-simulation loops can now be greatly reduced.
By following this process, the designer will change the way they design and the design process will be shortened as a result. This brings great benefit to companies, not only allowing them to continue to deliver high-quality products to the marketplace but also enhancing their productivity, thus gaining a competitive edge.