What is Generative Design it’s Benefits and Applications

Generative Design is a tool to create and optimize 3D cad models autonomously by the CAD software itself. Engineers only need to provide input such as design goals, mechanical & cost constraints, material information, strength requirements and manufacturing method etc.

Compared to conventional design, generative design automates the complete CAD Design process to create more optimized designs. It is one of the driving factors in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Due to technology limitations, currently generative design software is mostly used for the design of 3D printing or low production volume parts. But these software are evolving with time. In future they may become capable enough to design parts for mass production as well.

Generative Design Software

Following generative design software are available in the market. Each of these software has their own advantages and limitations.

How Generative Design Works?

Compared to conventional cad tools in generative design software, users need to input design goals and constraints, as an output generative design software will provide you various design solutions according to given input. 

Some of the following design goals, inputs and constraints are required for new part design.

  • New part connections with other existing parts.
  • Product size and weight constraints.
  • Design interface requirements.
  • Load conditions.
  • Operating conditions.
  • Cost constraints.
  • Material information.
  • Manufacturing method etc.
This image shows the workflow of generative design process.

GD software helps in exploring all possible solutions and generates cad data for the given product according to given input. To achieve this generative design software does various iterations and learns from previous iterations. In this way engineers can select the best available solution according to the requirements.

During design, simulation runs in parallel and software also learns from previous solutions and user input. Users can also specify the manufacturing method or add design constraints.

Advantages of Generative Design

Existing design process requires domain specific knowledge to design products for manufacturing. For example, a plastic product designer has a limited knowledge of sheet metal product design and to verify and validate designs, simulation tools are used. This existing product design process is iterative and time consuming.

Compared to conventional CAD software, generative design software has the following advantages.

1. Reduced Product Weight

Simulation during the part design process helps in optimizing part weight while fulfilling other product design requirements.

2. Improved Performance

Inbuild simulation software helps in identification and elimination of weak design areas. Software learns from its own experience. As a result product design improves and optimizes with every iteration.

3. Part Consolidation

Generative Design helps in reducing overall part manufacturing and maintenance cost by integrating multiple parts into a single part.

4. Reduced Product Time to Market

It automates the CAD design process that results in solving complex design problems quickly compared to traditional approaches. As a result products are launched faster in the market.

5. Provide Various Design Options

Generative-Design software provides users with various design options for a given product. As a result engineers have various design options to choose from that are fulfilling product design requirements.

Generative Design Applications

Similar to cad design, generative-design has applications in aerospace, architecture and construction industry. But currently this technology is used only to design parts manufactured using 3D printing technology. Following are some of application examples where generative design is used to design new products.

tamu chair by patrick jouin
tamu chair by patrick jouin

French designer Patrick Jouin revealed a prototype of the TAMU chair, during milan design week. Prototype features a design that is completely foldable and uses less material as Possible. Solidworks was used to create TAMU chair design. Click This Link!! for more details on tamu chair design by patric jouin.

Airbus Cabin compartment Design in Collaboration with Autodesk

Airbus in collaboration with Autodesk used GD to create an airplane cabin compartment: a bionic partition used to separate the passenger cabin from the gallery. This helped in reducing overall part weight (approx. 45%). In the aviation industry, reduced weight means reduced fuel cost. Therefore a lot of fuel can be saved with this design. Airbus used fusion 360 for this design. Read this article for more details on airbus cabin compartment design in collaboration with autodesk.


General motor used autodesk G.D. approach to reduce seat belt bracket weight and improve strength. Previous design consists of eight pieces welded together. GD helped them in consolidating eight parts in one single part with reduced weight and better performance. Read this article for more details on general motor GD.

Generative Design vs Topology Improvement

These two are completely different technologies. Generative design software helps in creating new part design from scratch. Engineers only need to provide design goals and constraints as input. Whereas Topology improvement feature improves the existing design according to simulation results.

Fusion 360 has a generative design feature. Because it takes design input and gives various design options cad models as output. Whereas Solidworks has a topology improvement feature. It improves existing designs according to simulation results. For solidworks, input is a cad model. Therefore Solidworks GD is topology improvement only. 

To sum up, Generative Design is changing the way engineer’s design products. It helps in creating low cost, low weight highly optimized products. Advancement and affordability of cloud computing and machine learning technology has made this technology more affordable. We suggest you to read this article on what is CAD, its advantages and limitations.

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