Design space exploration and design optimization software tools let engineers systematically and automatically investigate very large numbers of design alternatives to identify those with the most optimal performance parameters. Many of the quantitative and algorithmic methods that underpin design exploration and optimization have been long known—and sometimes applied—in cases where the attendant costs in expertise, time and labor could be justified. What’s changing now is the way that fresh software technologies are transforming these powerful but formerly difficult-to-apply methods into practical, everyday engineering aids. Continue reading
These issues will be the topic of my presentation at the NAFEMS 2016 Americas Conference, June 7-9, Seattle.
Design space exploration today is enjoying ever-increasing levels of recognition, adoption and successful application to help solve some the world’s most difficult engineering problems. Nevertheless, there remain significant impediments to the even broader deployment and usage that champions of these tools and methods believe will be possible, and indeed imperative, to meet the product development challenges of the near future. Continue reading
These issues will be the focus of my Analyst Briefing session at COFES 2015, Scottsdale, Arizona, April 16-19. Hope to see you there!
Design space exploration, design optimization and process integration technologies are creating value for manufacturers around the world, delivering results that weren’t practical or even possible with older tools and methods. Yet few of these vendors have matched the robust double-digit growth of mainstream CAE in recent years. Can the move by engineering organizations toward model-based systems engineering (MBSE) serve as a platform to accelerate adoption of design space exploration? Continue reading
Onshape went public with avidly anticipated details of its full-cloud 3D CAD system that lets everyone on a design team work together using any web browser, phone or tablet, and has data management and collaboration built in at its core. While this groundbreaking technological approach has generated high excitement in the run-up to today’s unveiling, Onshape’s pricing model is an equally disruptive component of its strategy to make professional-grade CAD radically more accessible than ever before. Continue reading
Most often applied to manufactured product development, design exploration and optimization also hold potential to improve—some would say, bring long-overdue transformation to—the engineering of constructed assets: commercial and residential buildings, discrete manufacturing facilities, process and power plants, offshore platforms. While some EPC firms serving process/power and offshore markets have made substantial progress with these tools and methods, the A/E industry still has far to go in tapping their considerable potential to improve building design and manufacturing facility engineering. With the mounting economic, environmental and public-policy pressures to deliver higher-performing built assets, we expect to see DOE, MDO, Pareto optimization and robustness/reliability optimization increasingly utilized by firms engaged in architecture, engineering, construction and asset operation. Continue reading
Making design exploration software speak the language of engineers and not mathematicians has been a focus of development since the industry’s inception. Even so, our recent case study was typical in referencing the Latin hypercube design-of-experiments method, the radial basis function for generating a response surface model, the non-dominated sorting evolutionary algorithm to generate a Pareto front—all prompting this look into some of the quantitative methods that drive design space exploration. Continue reading
Discussions of how to simulate early in product development fixate too often on FEA, overlooking the power of systems modeling and 0D/1D simulation for studying, exploring and optimizing designs at the beginning of projects, when product geometry is seldom available for 3D CAE but engineering decision-making can have its greatest impact and leverage on project success. Continue reading
The foundational business value of design space exploration is the ability it confers on engineering teams and organizations to gain more complete, higher-fidelity visibility into product performance earlier in project schedules than was possible or practicable with older technologies and approaches. In essence, it does this by enabling more efficient, effective and revealing application of simulation, analysis and digital prototyping assets—tools, expertise, methods, work processes—to the perennial business drivers for any organization’s investments in those assets:
- To become more competitive by gaining increased capability to explore, create and innovate.
- To apply that capability to create better performing products.
- To improve product quality and reliability—yielding expanded opportunity and customer appeal at the same time as lowered warranty expenses, liability exposure and lifecycle costs.
- To control or, better yet, reduce product development schedules and budgets by supplanting costly, time-intensive physical testing with digital prototyping.
In conceptual and preliminary design, many aspects of mechanical products are most efficiently modeled for simulation using 0D/1D/rigid entities. In vehicle drivelines, for example, these include beams, bushings, bearings, point masses and the like. Combining these models with other product components best represented by 2D/3D CAE models can yield systems models that are highly revealing in design exploration activities such as parameter studies, design of experiments and optimization runs. But bringing multiple levels of fidelity together in a single model has conventionally been a labor-intensive manual process, severely limiting the number of design variants able to be studied this way when not precluding the practice altogether.
While mainstream CAE vendors are beginning to progress on this front, breakthrough technologies addressing the problem are available today that work with the industry’s leading solvers. Continue reading