Flow driven generative designer is a new application from Dassault Systèmes. Its intended use is to give users or designers access to simulation capabilities for fluid optimization.
As many designers know, the process of creating a part is typically based on experience and intuition. Generative design, however, offers a different approach. Generative design programs use boundary conditions, set by the designer, to drive and simulate how a part should look. Applications for flow driven generative design include powertrain design, HVAC, jet propulsion, injection molding, and valve and piping design.
Within the program, designers are encouraged to ask different questions. For example, rather than ask, ‘Does this shape meet the requirements?’, the question changes to ‘Which shape best meets the requirements?’
According to Colin Swearingen, generative design expert at Dassault Systèmes, “optimizing fluid flow for a particular component is a difficult process as it incorporates a number of aspects of engineering.” These aspects create an “over-the-wall” process where various engineering disciplines such as CAD, analysis, simulation, manufacturing, PLM and so on, are siloed and there is little collaboration.
One of the risks of siloed engineering is an increase in the number of data translation errors that can compromise a design. Another drawback is the lack of expertise in more than one engineering discipline. Few companies have designers who are experts in CAD, CFD, and analysis.
Thus, in a typical traditional design process, a designer begins with a design space and sets up boundary conditions. In the case of fluid, what are the inlet conditions and what are the outlet conditions? Are there any other restraints that need to be applied to the model? Then the design is handed off to an analyst, who must then mesh the data and prepare it for a CFD model run.
The new shape also needs to be validated. In a typical design process, that’s a different tool that is used to compute the flow analysis as opposed to optimizing the shape to begin with. So, designers do their best version of the design. However, it quickly becomes an iterative process every time a change is made.
The flow driven generative program is in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which also includes other engineering tools, such as CAD, simulation, analysis, optimization, and manufacturing. All of these are unified into one environment so that a designer can streamline the design process. This platform makes the process intuitive, helping users optimize the design earlier and eliminates all the data translations required in other tools and platforms.
In Flow driven generative, once the designer is satisfied with the initial iteration of the design, they simply click a button to begin a simulation. Then, they can run a flow analysis without leaving the design program.
File exchange is not needed in this process, and no data translation is necessary. Said Swearingen, “It’s intuitive, easy to use, and we really streamline the process. What we see is about a 10-times faster turnaround time.”
The program includes a design assistant that prompts the designer to answer specific boundary questions that help the program create a design.
Noted Swearingen, the program leverages best in class TOSCA fluid technology in the background. Tosca fluid and many of the Tosca applications are typically known as an expert tool. However, that’s being run in the background here. The designer is getting access to this simulation capability without needing to be a full-fledged expert in the program.
The goal of the Flow driven generative program is to remove the bottlenecks that make it cost prohibitive to explore optimized parts. Another goal is to develop a seamless collaboration with design and simulation departments. “In a unified environment,” said Swearingen, “it’s enabling collaboration and opening doors for users in a much more streamlined and efficient manner, to tackle the problems that arise with this type of workflow.”