February 18, 2021

Transforming Design with Topology Optimization

EngineeringSpot article: Elise: Parametric design, taken to the edge

Elise, a software developed by a Bremen-based startup, offers a groundbreaking approach to component development through topology optimization. Unlike the traditional image of an engineer working in isolation, Elise allows developers to define and manage boundary conditions while letting the computer calculate the optimal shape and parameters. The software draws inspiration from nature, specifically the adaptive building rules found in the DNA of living organisms, as observed at the Albert Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

The acronym Elise stands for Evolutionary Light Structure Engineering, reflecting its methodology. Released in September 2020 as version 2.0, the software provides a user-friendly interface where developers can assemble generators and function blocks from a comprehensive construction kit. These blocks, representing geometric and physical elements, can be interconnected to facilitate the flow of data. For instance, a geometry generator for cuboids can be linked to a module controlling Altair Hyperworks for simulations.

One of the software's notable features is its flexibility. By simply swapping a cuboid generator with a cylinder generator, the geometry changes while maintaining the same boundary conditions and calculation structure. Elise extends beyond geometric and physical considerations, incorporating blocks for defining production techniques and costs. This enables the creation of a network of property generators that comprehensively describes a component or machine, reacting to specific inputs and generating optimal solutions.

The article highlights a demonstration by Dr. Moritz Maier, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Elise, showcasing the real-time simulation capabilities of the software. The brilliance of Elise's concept becomes evident as it accommodates a variety of parameters and building blocks, making it a versatile tool for complex product development.

Several prominent companies, including EDAG, Hyundai, BMW Group, Ariane Group, and Volkswagen, have successfully tested Elise in practical applications. As the world becomes more complex, the article suggests that technologies like Elise, which enable a collaborative and adaptive approach to development, will become increasingly prevalent. The traditional image of an engineer, epitomized by the fictional character Gyro Gearloose, is evolving into a role where designers act as programmers, incorporating their ideas into a product's DNA through innovative software solutions like Elise.

Read the full article

Would you like to learn more about Elise? Read the full article in EngineeringSpot (in german) and discover the benefits of this innovative approach.

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