What is Generative Engineering?
In nature, DNA represents the "blueprint" of organisms. In order to adapt to the environment and external conditions such as sun, wind and water, each organism can develop individual expressions according to its "blueprint", which can result in multiple variants of the same species. We imitat this principle with the ELISE software. By defining a kind of "DNA" for a component with the help of rules, objectives and requirements (e.g. material properties, design space, stress limits, etc.), the creation of a component is automated and algorithm-based. This type of product development process is called "Generative Engineering".


How does Generative Engineering work?
In contrast to the conventional approach for product development, which is based on a serial process (define requirements, develop concepts, design, evaluation using simulation, etc.), Generative Engineering takes all requirements into account right from the start and bases the development on algorithms and simulations. The ELISE software enables us to integrate the entire development process, including requirements specification, development and design, simulation and optimization, and evaluation, into an automated, end-to-end workflow. While the software takes care of the construction of the component, we create the design principle and thus have the ideal link to apply the bio-inspired lightweight structures and design principles we have developed, which can be described mathematically in the form of algorithms and applied to a wide variety of components.


Advantages of Generative Engineering?
The conventional technical development process shows some weak points: it runs manually, sequentially and iteratively, involves different people and areas (design, construction/CAD, simulation/FEM, costs, etc.) and is thus characterized by many repetition and waiting loops. In addition, independent software solutions may be used in each development step. New results from the individual development steps as well as changes in the boundary conditions therefore lead to a high workload in order to adapt preceding or subsequent development steps accordingly. Especially with regard to non-automated design and simulation, this results in a lengthy, cost-intensive and not very straightforward path to the new component.
The novel approach of Generative Engineering allows us to make the development process much more efficient and to benefit from many advantages compared to the conventional approach. The design of a construction principle in the form of a DNA enables quick and uncomplicated adjustments to the component, the boundary conditions or the development goals. This is of great importance, since changes can be made at any time during a development process. In addition, individual sections or the entire DNA developed can be incorporated into the development of another component (regardless of the industry) and integrated into the new DNA. Thus, an already existing development process for a certain component often allows a faster build-up of the DNA for another component.
Another advantage of generative engineering is that a variety of design variants can be created in a very short time, producing not only numerous good and predictable proposed solutions, but also new, "unexpected" solutions not considered by the designer. In the next step of the integrated development process, the different variants are simulated and compared with each other, so that in the end the best version of the component is available. In summary, the development process is accelerated enormously by the use of algorithm-based, automated component creation.
With the help of generative engineering and the ELISE software, we are able to develop complex and advanced bio-inspired lightweight structures and incorporate them into the component design as well as the component optimization.