General Motors’ next ambition is to develop lighter alternative propulsion and zero emission vehicles. To achieve this goal, the cars manufacturer needs to integrate advanced software design technology which it found in Autodesk’s expertise.
The software company made its generative design accessible to the 3D Printing industry in June 2017.
The generative design aims at helping the engineer/designer to discover a wide range of functional and manufacturing design options. It consists in using algorithms based on machine learning and advanced simulation to obtain smart design solutions. The user sets goals regarding size, weight, strength, style, materials, cost, and any number of other criteria. Thereafter, he/she makes use of cloud computing to create as many solutions as possible. In this case, at the end the customer is the one who chooses the best part design option.
GM Vice President Ken Kelzer, Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems sees in the software a real potential to exploit in the design of future vehicles: “When we pair the design technology with manufacturing advancements such as 3D printing, our approach to vehicle development is completely transformed and is fundamentally different to co-create with the computer in ways we simply couldn’t have imagined before.”
Before using the design in the manufacturing of cars, both companies first designed a seat bracket using the generative design. The seat bracket is 40 percent lighter and 20 percent stronger than the original part. It also consolidates eight different components into one 3D-printed part.
“Eliminating mass in parts where material is not required for performance combined with parts consolidation yields benefits for vehicle owners including the potential for more interior space and vehicle content, increased range, and enhanced vehicle performance. It also paves the way for new features for customers and provides vehicle designers a canvas on which to explore designs and shapes not seen today.”
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