Artificial Intelligence

How Generative Design Is Transforming Manufacturing

Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley
July 6, 2022
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When combined with 3D printing and AI, generative design is accelerating innovation and changing the way things are made.

What is Generative Design? And what are the benefits?

Generative design is an intelligent iterative process that allows engineers to test unlimited design options. Using advanced algorithms and AI to find the best solution, generative design is transforming the world of production and challenging what’s possible.  

Today, many manufacturers are capitalizing on the efficiency and flexibility of generative design. The process can not only help create optimal products, but can also do so rapidly and at much lower costs, reducing time to market.  

Leveraging AI and 3D printing, generative design allows manufacturers to create custom products that are more difficult to create with traditional manufacturing methods. By starting with software and an iterative design concept, manufacturers can ensure that the product is designed with the user in mind from the very beginning. Another significant benefit of generative design is that it’s being used to create more sustainable products.  

Generative Design’s Growth in Popularity  

Generative design has already had a major impact on the automotive industry. For example, BMW has used generative design to create a new type of car door that is much lighter and stronger than traditional doors. This has led to a significant reduction in the weight of the car, which improves fuel efficiency.

One company that is using generative design to transform the auto industry is Czinger Vehicles. As we previously shared, Czinger Vehicles is manufacturing an end-to-end workflow that begins with generative design to optimize parts that are then produced using 3D printing and assembled in a robotic cell. The first vehicle to be released by Czinger Vehicles is a hyper-car made of 3D printed metal parts.

Generative design is also being used by Airbus to create aircraft parts that are lighter and stronger than those made with traditional methods. This is important because it can help to reduce the weight of the aircraft, which can lead to fuel savings. Additionally, using generative design to create parts can also help to reduce the amount of time and money that is needed to produce those parts.

Generative design has been used in a number of different fields but is particularly well suited to medical manufacturing. This is because medical devices are often very complex, with many different parts that all need to fit together perfectly. Generative design can quickly generate several potential solutions, which can then be tested and refined until the perfect design is found. Philips Healthcare, for example, has used generative design to create a new CT scanner that is lighter and more compact than previous models. This means that it can be used in a wider range of settings, including in developing countries where space and resources are often limited.

What’s Next?

Leveraging 3D printing and AI, generative design has become an extremely powerful tool that can save companies significant time and money. It is also a very versatile process that can be used to design anything from simple products, to intricate circuit boards, to complex medical devices. But, until recently, these technologies were limited to the very largest companies. We are now seeing a radical shift as the hardware and software associated with generative design comes down in cost and becomes more readily available to smaller manufacturers. This democratization of generative design will only continue to spark innovation.  

Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley
Nicole Kampe, Automation Alley

Nicole Kampe is Digital Editor at Automation Alley, a World Economic Forum Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. Nicole is responsible for the strategy and development of Automation Alley’s digital platform. Nicole builds relationships and collaborates with various internal and external stakeholder groups, including Automation Alley members and partners, to position them as subject matter experts through the development and curation of engaging content around advanced manufacturing and digital transformation. Nicole also leads the development of Automation Alley’s annual Technology in Industry Report and content development around other key organizational positions. Nicole graduated with honors from Oakland University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Nicole has worked at Automation Alley for 10 years, serving previously as Communications Copywriter, Manager of Communications and Media Relations, and Manager of Global Content Strategy and Development. Nicole is an award-winning journalist and worked previously at The Oakland Press as a writer, copyeditor, and page designer, and was honored on multiple occasions by the Society of Professional Journalists. ‍Ask Me About: Blogs, white papers, case studies, video, and other thought leadership opportunities.

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