Product lifecycle students use new software to optimize their product designs

A CAD (computer aided design) model (left) can be optimized (right) to reduce weight while still meeting strength design criteria. (Image provided.)

Rosemary AstheimerStudents in CGT 20301 (Model-Based Definition) now have access to and will use software that optimizes student designs. MSC Apex Generative Design enables students to create the most efficient versions of the industrial product components they design in class. The software takes a CAD (computer-aided design) model and optimizes the design to reduce weight while still meeting the strength criteria required for it to perform its function while keeping the design within a restricted volume.

“Students in my class learn about all of the stages that a product goes through over its lifecycle,” said Rosemary Astheimer, assistant professor of practice in Purdue Polytechnic’s Department of Computer Graphics Technology. “The new software enables students to see how the engineering design model might need to change to optimize its design. I think students are surprised to see that what they design in CAD isn’t the only solution. Exposing them to such technology broadens their perspective of design and gives them a better appreciation for the possibilities for improvement.”

“We’re excited to build on our relationship with Purdue to provide hands-on experience of generative design to students,” said Thomas Reiher, director of generative design for MSC Software. “As the next generation of engineers, we hope that students will embrace MSC Apex Generative Design’s unique ‘engineering-minded’ capabilities to become more productive in their design processes and fully exploit the potential of the design space – especially optimizing for additive manufacturing processes.”

Astheimer points out that the having access to the software gives Purdue students a head start on what they’ll be working with, once they’re on the job.

“This is the same software that engineers use in industry,” Astheimer said, “so it gives students real-world experience.”

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