Generative design is a relatively recent approach to design that involves creating a broad range of possible solutions in a short space of time. Thanks to the high-performance capabilities and speed of modern cloud technology, generative design software can examine all the geometrical possibilities and then return a wide selection of options - all based on the materials, production processes and performance requirements stipulated for the object in question. Designers and engineers using this approach can very quickly establish an overview of different potential solutions to a specific design issue and then choose the solution that best suits their project. All in all, the process saves time, money and resources. This innovative approach is also part and parcel of Fusion 360, a product development platform that combines design, engineering and production in a single software package - and which Munich-based Autodesk GmbH is exhibiting at EMO Hannover 2019.
One of the projects on show at the fair that demonstrates the Autodesk approach to design is the electric version of the well-loved VW transporter, known as Bulli in Germany. During this project, several components from the particularly popular Type 2 model of the transporter were optimized in a technical design environment before being produced. The designers were able to reduce the amount of materials used and thus achieve significant weight savings, which in turn have reduced the vehicle’s power consumption and increased its range. "The less a vehicle weighs, the less energy it takes to get it moving on the road," explains Karl Osti, Industry Manager Manufacturing at Autodesk. "This is precisely where generative design can deliver huge benefits. It gives us the option to minimize material consumption and therefore manufacture lighter parts, all while ensuring technical requirements are met and without compromising stability."