Frustum Inc., developer of what it calls the industry’s first interactive generative design solution, this week announced a new release of its Generate software. According to the company, Generate represents a new paradigm for design, interactive generative design, which fundamentally alters how products are modeled for manufacture by allowing engineers to interact and iterate in real time with generative design models. As a result, engineers can develop multiple well designed and optimized models to identify the best solution literally in minutes versus hours or days.
The origin of the company’s name was kind of intriguing to me because a frustum is a mathematical term and is the portion of a cone or pyramid that remains after its upper part has been cut off by a plane parallel to its base, or that is intercepted between two such planes. Frustum examples include:
On the back (the reverse) of a United States one-dollar bill, a pyramidal frustum appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, surmounted by the Eye of Providence.
The John Hancock Center in Chicago, Illinois is a frustum whose bases are rectangles.
The Washington Monument is a narrow square-based pyramidal frustum topped by a small pyramid.
Buckets, lampshades, and shot glasses are examples of conical frustums.
Rolo brand chocolates approximate a right circular conic frustum.
If all the edges are forced to be identical, a frustum becomes a uniform prism.
OK, enough of the fun with math, let’s get back to Frustum’s technology . . .
A General Electric Bracket With Frustum’s Generative Design and Topology Optimization Applied To It
Designed to meet the complex needs of design for manufacturing, Generate is a 3D design software that provides interactivity with generative design models. It combines the creativity of the engineer with artificial intelligence to significantly shorten the time of designing products – effectively delivering a near real-time interaction with a generative design model, generating designs by functional requirements and producing a result that is ready for manufacture. Parts and products designed through this process are [theoretically] lighter, stronger, and use less materials than those designed using traditional CAD software.
Although I’m not much of a fan for Las Vegas per se, I do enjoy attending Autodesk’s annual spectacle that attracts at least 10,000 attendees to Sin City — Autodesk University.
This year’s event was markedly different than ones in the recent past. Different because:
This was the first AU presided over by Autodesk’s new President and CEO, Andrew Anagnost
The attention the Forge development platform received
AEC and construction seemed to take center stage for much of the event and the exhibit floor
Generative design and Fusion 360 were emphasized on the manufacturing side of the business
The Internet of Things (IoT) is getting a lot of attention fro Autodesk and will be coming out of the shadows very soon
The “cloud” was everywhere, including the addition of AnyCAD into Fusion 360
I’ll briefly discuss each of these bulleted items, but will cover each of them in more detail in coming weeks
Words From The New CEO
Having been the President and CEO of Autodesk since June, Andrew Anagnost took the stage the first day of AU in his relatively new role to talk about the theme of this year’s AU, which was designing more things, designing better things, and accomplishing this with less — materials, staff, resources, and time.
Andrew Anagnost, AU 2017 Keynote
Anagnost said the panacea for making this happen is automation that will actually increase jobs and productivity. We shouldn’t be so concerned about if automation take our jobs as we should be of the opportunities of where automation will take us. With so much happening so quickly on the automation and technology fronts, the problem is not so much a scarcity of jobs as it is a scarcity of skills to benefit from the opportunities.
An interesting numerical comparison he made that back in the day there were approximately 300,000 drafters in design, manufacturing, and architecture. Compare that to today’s approximately 10,000,000 design software users and you appreciate how things have changed by the sheer number of people involved on the creative design side.
This week Autodesk also announced that it has formed a new partnership with Village Capital to fund the creation of their workforce development and transition initiative, focused on entrepreneurship, job training, and upskilling in a world of automation. The company is also teaming up with LinkedIn Learning to offer free access to more than 40 courses in multiple languages, relevant to the architecture, infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing industries.
Technology can accelerate solutions to our most pressing problems, such as anticipated global population growth of 30 percent by 2050, but only if people are prepared work with machines in new ways. These are the latest moves in Autodesk’s efforts to prepare the workforce to thrive in a future that will require people to make and build more, do it better, and with less negative impact on the world.
Well, another Labor Day has come and gone, and summer is almost over, but that means that a new version of SOLIDWORKS is about to launch. It actually and officially launched earlier this week.
I spoke with Kishore Boyalakuntla, SOLIDWORKS Vice President, Portfolio Management and Brand UX Leader about what was new in SOLIDWORKS 2018, and there was a lot to cover. Keep in mind, though, that I’ll just be touching on what I consider to be the highlights in SOLIDWORKS 2018 this time around. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be going into much more detail on the new version’s features and capabilities
Design To Smart Manufacturing
This time around, SOLIDWORKS says its design-to-manufacturing process provides the tools needed to implement a comprehensive design-through-manufacturing strategy, all inside the SOLIDWORKS environment. These tools let you work without having to export and import data from one system to another. With IP embedded in the 3D design model, and at the center of the model-based definition (MBD) process,, and thanks to associativity, changes from design or manufacturing are automatically reflected in all related CAD models, CAM programs, drawings, and documentation.
Additionally, all the information for manufacturing, inspection, and simulation and verification is directly linked to the design, so it always reflects the current design iteration (which is always a good thing).
Last week at the Siemens PLM Connection 2017, I was introduced to several new products and technologies, and was reintroduced to a product that I had prior experience with, but needed a refresher as to where it stood today — Solid Edge ST10.
The latest release brings just about every aspect of product development forward with new design technology, enhanced fluid flow and heat transfer analysis, and cloud-based collaboration tools. Solid Edge ST10 makes it easier to optimize parts for additive manufacturing (AM) and obtain quotes, material selection and delivery schedules from AM service providers. Newly integrated topology optimization technology, combined with Siemens’ Convergent Modeling technology, improves product design efficiency and the ability to work with imported geometry.
Originally developed and released by Intergraph in 1996 using the ACIS geometric modeling kernel it later changed to the Parasolid kernel. In 1998 it was purchased and further developed by UGS Corp (the purchase date corresponds to the kernel swap).
Solid Edge ST10 Preview (Video Courtesy of Nancy Johnson).
In an effort to appeal to SMBs with Solid Edge ST10, John Miller, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Siemens PLM Software, said, “Digitalization is leveling the playing field, providing unlimited opportunities for small-to medium-sized businesses to disrupt industry.”
Along with almost 10,000 other attendees, I was in Las Vegas this week at Autodesk University and am still trying to comprehend if I’ve just seen the future of manufacturing.
To a large extent, Autodesk’s vision for the future of making things stems from what it calls generative design.
So what is generative design? According to Autodesk’s official definition, generative design mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design.
AU 2016: The Future Of Making Things
In the digital realm, designers and engineers input design goals into generative design software, along with parameters, such as manufacturing methods, materials, and cost constraints. Using cloud computing, the software quickly explores all possible permutations of a solution, generating design alternatives. The software then tests and learns from each iteration what works, what doesn’t, and what works best.
In other words, with generative design, there is not necessarily a single solution to a problem, instead, there are potentially thousands of solutions that address the initial problem.