Dassault Systèmes introduced a new workflow to optimize generative design.
Generative Design Challenges
Generative design is the process of allowing an algorithm to create the 3D structure, rather than building it manually. The idea is that the algorithm can explore many more possibilities than can any human, and thus result in an optimized design. Often these generated designs are quite unusual and clearly something no sane human would have come up with on their own.
The problem in using generative design is that it’s typically an add-on to existing CAD tools. This creates a bit of a workflow problem, as designers must bounce between tools to achieve the end goal of a completed design.
Dassault Systèmes recognized this issue, and in fact was in a position to do something about it. Over the course of the past several years, the company has developed or acquired a number of different design and manufacturing software tools. Thus they are able to “see” this issue first hand from their overarching position among their various tools.
Here is a representation of a typical workflow to design a part using generative approaches with the required set of Dassault Systèmes tools.
As you can see, this typical workflow can take as long as five days to execute. There is considerable bouncing between tools, and this requires a number of import / export file operations to pass the required data along to the next step. This results in a good design, but it’s not as efficient as it could be.
Flow-Driven CAD Workflow
Dassault Systèmes has now developed a workflow to optimize this process, at least for flow-driven designs.
The new workflow, which you can see in action in their webinar, offers a vastly simplified interface that seems to tickle the right tools at the right times, without the need to visibly bounce between tools.
They call it “requirements based design”, where the designer simply inputs the desired specifications. Then the generative systems behind the scenes attempt to develop a design that can meet those objectives. Dassault Systèmes says the new workflow, shown here, can achieve the same result in only half a day.
Dassault Systèmes Advantage
This is possible only because Dassault Systèmes has direct access to all the tools. Their 3DEXPERIENCE platform uses a single data model behind the scenes, making it very easy to integrate the systems, and in this case, provide for automatic generation of flow-drive shapes.
From what I saw in the webinar, it’s vastly more user friendly and the user doesn’t have to deal with many complexities aside from the task of designing the part, which is what it should be.
In the end, the workflow literally generates B-REP geometry that can be used for further manual enhancements as required.
The new workflow system seems impressive in its ability to make the process far more efficient for the designer. This is something that would be very challenging for other separately-owned products to achieve, but more natural for Dassault Systèmes.
Anything that makes generative design better is also good for additive manufacturing.