In: Proceedings of the "2004 modeFRONTIER Users´ Meeting", 30.09.-01.10.2004, Trieste, Italy
Generally design optimization is used in the final phase of product design, when the overall configuration has already been defined in earlier development phases. To utilize the potential of a design in an optimal way, it is preferable to expand optimization to early design stages where also the configuration of the system under consideration is to be optimized. This often leads to discrete, multiscale and combinatorial tasks for the optimal topology of components, their dimensioning and their materials to be selected as well. This means the consideration of
- topology, geometry and material of the basic geometric and structural components
- proper placement of components and equipment
- multiple criteria, constraints and design parameters giving rise to multi-disciplinary interaction
- consideration of a certain fuzziness in requirements (constraints) including qualitative statements and (at least partly) lack of precise models
So the engineering team shall be supplied with a set of feasible and at least close to optimal configurations satisfying the main requirements. These then can serve as good starting points for further detailed optimization in next design steps. In this paper the approach for a set of conceptual design optimization methods will be presented, which have been investigated and applied at the Institute of Lightweight Structures (LLB) of TU Munich. In addition, some specific aspects are discussed regarding discrete-continuous design optimization tasks especially in configuration as well as regarding possibilities to include fuzzy and qualitative knowledge into the optimization models. Our experience with modeFRONTIER follows and different demonstration examples will be presented at the end.