The time is right for generative design in manufacturing to blossom: The growing need for manufacturers to transition to a more sustainable economy is converging with the rise of smart factories and Industry 4.0. Products spawned from generative design have proven to use significantly less materials and fewer parts while retaining or improving upon characteristics like strength and durability. This reduces waste all along the supply chain and can extend product lifecycles.
With generative design, humans and computation become cocreators. Designers input goals, priorities, and constraints for a product’s dimensions, weight, materials, manufacturing methods, cost, etc., and the generative design software uses artificial intelligence and unlimited cloud computing power to suggest thousands of potential solutions.
Visually, generative-design outcomes famously harken to some of Mother Nature’s own biological and geological forms, but designers are not limited to such options. Once generative design automates the bulk of the data-crunching and routine tasks of forming its design possibilities, the human team is freed up to explore the creative choices and iterations concerning style, aesthetics, and user experience. Already, generative design—often in combination with additive manufacturing—has improved outcomes in vehicles, prosthetics, brain-computer interfaces, and other innovations.
Here are the top 11 generative design in manufacturing stories Redshift published in 2020:
1. Walk This Way: A Car With Legs Offers a Glimpse Into the Future of Mobility
Flying cars, take a hike. Hyundai and design studio Sundberg-Ferar have conceived of Elevate, a car that can drive normally but also walk on four legs in reptile, mammal, or omnidirectional modes. Elevate could serve in search and rescue missions, pick up people with mobility challenges, or help in many other ways and uses generative design for durability and reduced weight. Watch the video.
2. Can Generative Design Propel Sustainability in the Manufacturing Industry?
With 2030 looming as a de facto deadline for major emissions reductions, generative design offers engineers and designers a powerful way to make parts and products lighter, as well as to reduce part counts. That decreases material and energy usage throughout the supply chain. And there’s still a long way to go to realize generative design’s potential for creating efficiencies in work environments and manufacturing processes. Read the article.
3. These Custom Harley Parts Are Born to Ride With Generative Design
MJK Performance makes aftermarket Harley-Davidson parts to make the machines more like racing bikes, and generative design satisfies both the company’s and its customers’ need for speed. It helped make MJK’s triple clamp as light, strong, and visually stunning as possible, and the small shop went into production on the part within a week of its design. Read the article.
4. AI-Based Generative Design Is the Ultimate Collaborator [Infographic]
Unclear about the concept and benefits of generative design? Seeing (and reading) is believing. This infographic outlines the human-computer collaboration process of generative design and how it can help you meet many project goals—whether it’s a product designed for manufacturing or an architectural space. Read the article.
5. Injection-Mold Cooling and Generative Design Save Panasonic Engineers’ Sanity
Designing cooling systems for injection molding is difficult and time consuming—even for skilled engineers. Panasonic’s Life Solutions Company in Japan tried generative design to create water-cooling channels and achieved 20% shorter cooling times than conventional methods. Read the article.
6. Generative Design: Redefining What’s Possible in the Future of Manufacturing [E-book]
In this jam-packed yet digestible e-book, you’ll read about the significance of a technology—generative design—becoming a cocreator rather than just a productivity tool. Along with that, seven of the most remarkable examples show how generative design was a partner in the creation of prosthetics, auto parts, safety equipment, furniture, and more. Read the e-book.
7. Concrete Forms Get Stronger, Lighter, and More Sustainable With Generative Design
When the mandate of sustainability meets with the AI of generative design and the robotics of additive manufacturing, the built world of the future could look physically quite different from today’s. Hone Structures is getting the ball rolling with concrete deep beams devised through generative design and 3D printing that use just 55% of the material needed for the traditional beam. Read the article.
8. How Honda Ditched Conventional Thinking to Design a Lighter Crankshaft
The crankshaft is one of an engine’s most crucial parts and needs to be extremely strong and durable. In an effort to lighten multiple automotive components, Honda R&D turned to generative design for the crankshaft. The process yielded design options that its engineers would not have conceptualized, and the 50% reduction in weight exceeded its goal. Read the article.
9. Generative Design Accelerates the BAC Mono Street-Legal Race Car Into the Future
At less than half the weight of a Toyota Corolla for about a quarter of a million dollars, the BAC Mono supercar is not priced by the pound. To help make this sleek beauty as light as possible, BAC used generative design to create Mono’s aluminum wheels. Constrained by weight-bearing, material, manufacturing, and—most importantly—aesthetic requirements, the wheels still turned out 35% lighter. Read the article.
10. Massive Hybrid Manufacturing Machine in Europe Pushes Boundaries of 3D Printing
As part of a collaborative project to prove the concept that commercial-scale additive manufacturing can contribute large components for urban architecture, the LASIMM—a hybrid-manufacturing machine with metal additive and subtractive capabilities—produced a 5-meter-long additive-steel building truss in sections. The team used generative design to plan the beam with shape, dimensions, and load-bearing constraints. Read the article.
11. How a Custom EEG Headset Could Transform In-Home Brain Rehabilitation
When victims of spinal-cord injuries or strokes experience limb paralysis, a brain-computer interface along with electrical stimulation can help restore mobility. But to get adequate EEG signals from the head, the EEG headset must fit properly, and off-the-shelf headsets just won’t do. Learn how a PhD candidate in Glasgow imported 3D head scans into generative-design software and then 3D printed custom-fit—and potentially life-changing—EEG headsets. Read the article.