Ways Product Design is Becoming More Intelligent and Automated

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Manufacturing design and production are rapidly changing. There is increasing pressure to get products to market in less time. Unfortunately, the process of product development has historically been rigid and iterative. Moving to computer-aided design (CAD) didn’t really impact design as much as it improved the way an engineer’s creative design was documented. The engineer still had to come up with design concepts, experiment with forms and materials, visualize, test, and modify designs until the resulting product met specifications.

Generative design, one study with four manufacturing options; image: Autodesk.com

Today, software tools are being developed to employ artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that can take design requirements into consideration and then come up with optimal product options.


If you need a partner to help you investigate or implement generative design, contact Applied Software, Graitec Group today. The experts of Applied will help you champion the solution that is right for your company.


One of those software tools is now part of the Autodesk Fusion 360 platform. This generative design technology enables innovation and productivity so companies can keep up with the changing needs and pressures in the industry. Powered by AI and enabled by the computing power of the cloud, generative design helps companies simultaneously generate multiple CAD-ready solutions based on product performance requirements in light of real-world manufacturing constraints.

From that pool of possible solutions, designers and engineers can filter and select the outcome that best meets the product requirements they are striving for. Generative design gives the ability to:

  • explore thousands of valid design solutions.
  • conduct built-in simulations.
  • determine manufacturability.

Since it impacts more than just the traditional notion of design, generative design covers the entire manufacturing process. New insights can help bridge the design to manufacturing gap – the difference between customer expectations of a product and what the manufacturer can actually produce.

This provides great opportunities for design and manufacturing. Companies can expand their imagination beyond the way they’ve done things in the past. They can make the best use of engineering and manufacturing expertise to design in a way that boosts productivity and keeps them competitive.

Volkswagen Type 2 Bus; image: BringaTrailer.com

Forward-thinking companies are already using generative design to solve engineering challenges. An Autodesk customer story describes how Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), based in Liverpool, England, used generative design to create one of the world’s lightest wheels for its street-legal race car. Weight influences balance and speed. With generative design, BAC was able to reduce the weight of its latest model by 10.5 pounds. In another customer story, Volkswagen used generative design to reduce mass in the wheels of its reinvention of the classic Type 2 Bus. The goal was to reduce weight while maintaining strength in the more modern model, which is electric powered. The result of the process, which is referred to as auto lightweighting, was 18% lighter wheel weight.  

As AI becomes part of work processes across all industries, generative design promises to become more and more common in product design.


Learn about generative design, computational design and AI in the Applied Software, Graitec Group “Ultimate Guide to Computational Design.” Download it for free today.


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