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AI Designed Products for Higher Efficiency

 2018-12-05 By: Elroy Yao


The shape of an object is more than just a matter of aesthetics. Among other things, it also affects the weight and performance of the object. Conventional designs are usually inspired by existing structures, both natural and artificial to make a new design. However, AI based generative design can actually bring forth new designs which might be unthinkable for human designers and impossible to build with conventional methods.


This will be beneficial for two major energy consumers: transportation and construction as products created through generative design and additive manufacturing. Automobile, both in the manufacturing and operation need high amount of energy and materials; including from fossil fuel which add to the greenhouse gas emission. Buildings also consume a lot of energy during operation, especially for climate control or air conditioning in addition to powering any electric appliances or electronics used by the occupants. While generative design might not be able to solve all of these problems, it can most certainly mitigate some issues and increase efficiency.


Generate, Add, and Drive


In generative design, parameters are entered to create the optimum design that fulfills certain requirements. As generative design explores, learns, and tests each possible iterations; this can potentially save time and cost for R&D purposes. By imitating nature's evolutionary approach to design, a new version of or a completely new product can be designed with minimum material usage but optimum performance. Less material usage always reduces costs and makes the finished product cheaper, but at the same time it also means less carbon footprint for each individual product. Enforcing the fact that green tech can be good for businesses and the environment.


Generative design (GD) can be used for automotive design to improve its aerodynamics; reducing fuel consumption and improving its performance. As the resulting designs can number in the thousands, the main job of the human operator would then be to select which design fits the criteria best. For example: designing a car that weighs less than normal but still offers a higher level of safety, balance, and aerodynamics. This might then require a new set of tools to machine the components required which can be costly, but offers no further usage beyond it. Instead, if the parts are manufactured through additive manufacturing; the component can be created through general purpose equipment which can be repurposed for any number of possibilities.


Focusing on the increased efficiency and green tech, this new design and manufacturing process can reduce wastage on many aspects. During the production time, it can reduce the R&D time, raw materials for both prototyping and production, and more. During operation, the improved design can reduce the fuel usage and with a better design; repairs or part replacements can also be done easier. Finally when the car can no longer be used and needs to be disposed of, a smarter design can also make the car more efficiently disassembled for parts and recycled.


Evolve, Build, and Occupy


Buildings need to offer safety and comfort in equal measure without sacrificing any of the two if possible. In recent years, as climate changes become more extreme; more energy is spent on climate control and air conditioning. However, buildings can be designed better to be energy positive and make even more energy than they use. Generative design can certainly help in this regard; by inputting design goals along with parameters it will be possible to increase the efficiency and efficacy of the building designs. It can also remove the trial and error or guesswork, as well as saving time and effort in the design process.


Building construction is additive by nature, but the more complicated designs produced by the generative designs will also require a different method to manufacture. The goal to achieve to make a sustainable building should include that the building require less energy in its operation, use less material, and can withstand more than a building with conventional design would.


Conclusion


Many products will benefit from green design; but for certain objects, coming up with an improved design might be more difficult for common design methodologies. Generative design can help companies to create better, more improved designs that can achieve multiple functions at the same time. In terms of green design, the main benefits that can be achieved are cost saving and increased efficiency. With the proper design & material, many products can operate more efficiently, be easier to repair or replace, and also their disposal can be more environmentally friendly as the products' parts can be reused or recycled. In the end, the entire purpose of a green design should be to remove or reduce waste as much as possible. If humans cannot achieve this on their own, perhaps employing AI in the endeavor will be the way to go.


See More Green Tech in InnoVEX 2019


Green tech is increasingly becoming a popular industry and also one of the main topics of InnoVEX 2019. Relating to this growing trend, InnoVEX will have a dedicated theme pavilion on green tech & its applications. Startups interested in joining can register here


In addition, InnoVEX will host a saloon networking event on December 19 focusing on green energy. Register here to join the saloon.

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