Innovative Design for Manufacturing: Cutting Edge Techniques for Better Performing Products


Are you worried that one of the following challenges could destroy your company’s bottom line over the next five to ten years? 

  • Global competition is hotting up: Access to the internet and the removal of trade barriers have made it easier for offshore competitors to produce better products, enter your market, and steal your clients.
  • Customer needs and demands are evolving: Greater access to information about products and companies and the overall consumerization of B2B sales (clients now expect an Amazon-like experience even if they’re buying a piece of heavy equipment!) have raised customer expectations to new heights.
  • Technology is more advanced and complex: New tech is constantly emerging. Manufacturers implementing technologies like additive manufacturing, AI, and IoT into their products and operations are gaining a significant competitive advantage. Those that can’t face obsolescence.
  • Sustainability is becoming a major concern: If your products and processes are unsustainable, you’ll struggle to attract the customers and top talent you need to succeed in the marketplace.
  • Costs are skyrocketing: The price of raw materials, fuel, transportation, and more seem to rise every month.

If reading the above has brought you out in a mild sweat, then now is the time to take action! How? By implementing innovative design techniques like 3D design, generative design, and simulation to deliver long-term success. This article explains how and why.

Here’s what we cover:

3 Innovative Design Techniques to Set You Free

Generative design in the wild

Digital twins

How to Get Started with Innovative Design

3 Innovative Design Techniques to Set You Free

Move From 2D to 3D Design

Are you stuck in a world of 2D product design, dreaming of a 3D future? If so, you need to find a way to expedite the shift because 2D design is now insufficient. And 3D is the only way to meet the challenges of the modern manufacturing landscape head-on.

3D design is the foundation on which you can layer all other types of design innovation and technologies. Without 3D, there can be no simulation, generative design, rapid prototyping, and additive manufacturing (3D printing). Digital transformation is impossible.

How can you adopt 3D design in your business?

Unsurprisingly, it starts by implementing 3D design software that allows design engineers to create 3D models of products. Popular solutions include AutoCAD and Fusion 360. Once implemented, you can integrate 3D design software with your other systems and processes to get the highest ROI.

On the sales side, you can integrate your CAD (computer-aided design) software with a CPQ (configure, price, and quote) solution like Tacton. CPQ lets salespeople, end customers, and partners design products using a rules-driven visual product configurator. The configurator provides a 3D visualization of the finished product (along with a price and quote). It then feeds the data straight to your CAD system, removing the need for manual handoffs and automating the custom engineering process.

On the manufacturing side, you can integrate your CAD system with CNC and 3D printing technology for rapid prototyping, which is a game-changer for testing and refining product designs. It’s faster, less costly, and, because poor designs are filtered out early, less wasteful and more sustainable.

Use Generative Design as Your “Mind Multiplier”

Generative design combines CAD with artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to (as the name suggests) generate designs automatically. Product designers specify design objectives and constraints, such as material properties, functional requirements, and budget limitations, and press “Submit.” The design software then generates multiple iterations without any human input.

Generative design aims to automate and expedite the design process (saving time and money) so you can go from concept to product faster. But that’s not all. The real goal is to unleash innovative designs engineers might not have considered using traditional methods. Engineers can use one of these generated designs or, more likely, combine some aspects with their own, going back and forth until they produce something highly innovative. 

Innovative Design Example: Generative Design in the Wild

Hyundai used generative design techniques to develop Elevate–a “car that walks” designed for search and rescue. Part car and part robot, Elevate has innovative features like interior seats that turn into stretchers. But perhaps even more impressive, it drives like a regular car and remains affordable. 

Generative design was Hyundai’s “mind multiplier” when developing Elevate. The complex innovative design technique served up new design options and tackled complex problems independently. This way, product designers and engineers could see possibilities they could never have imagined alone and cycle through hundreds of iterations via digital prototypes in hours rather than days.

Make Faster, Better Design Decisions with Simulation

Simulation allows design engineers to test their products under any conceivable scenario before they create a physical prototype. Sometimes simulation is so thorough and accurate that it can replace physical prototyping altogether.

Designers can gauge potential product performance, durability, and safety under thousands of extreme conditions and weed out problems early. This way, they can avoid embarrassing, expensive, and environmentally-damaging mistakes.

Simulation = speed. It can have the most significant impact on the length of your design cycle. It enables engineers to run any number of virtual tests in seconds, slashing the time it takes to verify and validate designs and avoiding lengthy do-overs.

Simulation doesn’t just increase efficiency and productivity; it leads to the development of better products. Designers and engineers can iterate over and over lightning-fast. And the more they iterate, the more durable, high-margin, and safer products become. In short, simulation in design can get you ahead of your competition and keep you there.

A Digital Twin Allows for an Enhanced Simulation Experience

Thanks to advanced embedded sensors, manufacturers can now use simulation software for more than designing new products. They can create virtual models of physical assets and use these digital twins, as they’re known, to carry out product testing and optimize outcomes without interfering with the real thing. 

How to Get Started with Innovative Design

Here at KETIV, we have a long history of working with manufacturers to help them adopt innovative design practices and leverage the latest technologies to improve their product development and manufacturing process. 

We have a deep understanding of the unique challenges facing manufacturers today and have developed a range of solutions specifically tailored to meet these requirements. We’ll help you digitally transform your operations and become more innovative, profitable, and sustainable.

Whether you’re looking to implement 3D design, generative design, simulation, or a combination of all three, our digital transformation experts have the industry skills and expertise, and resources you need to succeed. If you want to talk about innovative design, give us a call.

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