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Optimize Design Process for Sustainability with Generative Design

Posted by Zhenhua Dai

Home > Blog > Optimize Design Process for Sustainability with Generative Design

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    Traditionally, the human input from the designer play an essential role in design process. The design is mainly based on established practice and experience of the designer. The design variants depend on the previous design shapes. In comparison, with Generative Design, computers generate the optimal shape. Requirements for installation space, material and manufacturing process are considered. The function of the component determines the results.

    This blog will be illustrating the redesign of a hydraulic manifold with an almost 40% percent average improvement in pressure drop and 80% savings in mass. In comparison, the stiffness of part was not affected. Furthermore, the optimized shape was achieved directly by a designer using a new design process with “Generative Design Methods”.


    The main different between traditional design and generative design is, that we do not ask, does the design meets the requirements than we ask which design meets the requirements.

    The Generative Design process can be applied both to optimize the flow pressure drop and to lightweight the structure design. Both applications can be used cooperatively in multiphysics-domains, like in our example, but also separately in one domain.


    The development of Generative Design can be traced back to business and design challenges for sustainability. The lightweight design will reduce the CO2 Emissions both in production and operation through light weight, better performance and less material The part should be as light and compact as possible and at the same time always supports the higher load safely and long fatigue life. The development time should become shorter and shorter to meet customer requirements and to bring new products to market as soon as possible.

    Furthermore, the development of Generative Design is accelerated with easy access to increased computing power and additive manufacturing. The time for the simulation and optimization is shortened dramatically with the improvement in local hardware like CPUS and GPUs, as well as the introduction of cloud computing. Moreover, the spreading of 3D printing enables the reduction of production cost at the same time.

    Structure and Flow Driven Generative Design processes are realized within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. 3DEXPERIENCE Platform, as its name suggests, is not a fixed application like CATIA and Abaqus, but a software infrastructure that integrates software solutions for every area in the company - from marketing to sales to technology. The different functions such as CAD, FEM, etc. are distributed in the form of roles.

    The 3DEXPERIENCE compass in Fig. 3 describes four major areas of business operations and the solutions that Dassault Systèmes provide for these disciplines. Depending on which quadrant of the compass we are in, the accessible apps are displayed to us. The lower quadrant is available for simulation roles and apps.
    Within 3DEXPERIENCE, all roles are conditioned with a unified user interface.

    Most importantly, the data can be managed not in the form of files but through a database. This enables seamless data transfer between all areas of the company. In addition, either on-premise or cloud solutions are possible during installation.


    The design workflow or evolution of the hydraulic manifold begins with the Flow Driven Generative Design to minimize pressure drop. The design spaces for the optimization are firstly partitioned and each pipe will be optimized separately. After that all the optimized fluid pipes are merged and the design validation is performed.


    After the fluid optimization, the structure optimization of the hydraulic manifold is performed with the aim of reducing weight. The design space to optimize and frozen area to keep are defined first after the load case validation for different load situations the topology optimization is submitted. Finally, the organic shape is rebuilt to achieve a parameterized geometry.

    The result from Generative Design can be used not only for additive but also the traditional manufacturing processes. It is possible to define the intended manufacturing process like injection molding, stamping or milling. Depending on the manufacturing process, different constraints will be considered.

    In summary, Generative Design is a new method for organic shape development (both for flow and structural optimization). It enables non-specialists to automatically generate optimized conceptual parts from a functional specification at the push of a button.

    Simulation Driven Innovation.

    TECHNIA Simulation provides top tier FEA, Non-linear, and Advanced Simulation Software, Training, and Consultancy. Our dedicated team of more than 65 Simulation experts across 16 countries advise and support your innovation with a wealth of specialist knowledge and experience.

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