Taxal – Next Generation Design
[00:00:07] Hello, my name’s Alan Barens from Texas and I’m joined by Aldine from Develop 3-D. Hi, Al. Hello, Alan. How good. So we want to talk today about next generation design. This is a topic that I know you’ve written about. A lot of people are very interested in, certainly your views. I don’t think many are interested in my views, but very, very much in your views about what’s happening in the world of design and what’s what are we sort of potentially looking at in the future. So if it’s okay with you, I’ll let me start off the conversation. And, you know, we’ve all heard about designers as a topic of computer generated experiences. But, you know, I think one of the things that certainly you’ve mentioned that you wrote an article earlier this year about this is about automation and design moving into automation of design. What are your thoughts on that?
[00:01:07] I think there’s there’s two approaches that are coming to the fore at the moment. Automation is one of them. There are a great deal of tasks in design and engineering that could be automated, that maybe don’t need quite so much manual input. But give us an example. If you take there was a fantastic example at Hanover Fair this year of polymer based Brackett’s for fuel tanks. There’s no real need for someone to be certain the design of designing that that could be given the boundary inputs, the machine could do the work for them and the machine could spit the part out at the other end with a little validation in between. I think that automation could take care of a lot of the mundane tasks, leaving the more challenging parts for designers and engineers.
[00:01:55] Right. I think one of the other things that you’ve obviously talked about this before and in other environments, what are your thoughts in terms of things like convergent technologies? You know, this is the challenge of people designing for a purpose like prismatic parts or surface models. I mean, what do you what do you think’s going to happen there?
[00:02:19] I think there’s there’s a convergence is one of those interesting phrases where you bring together a bunch of different things and interesting things happen at the point after the convergence or just leading up to it. And we’ve got a set of design technologies that are new and bringing together traditional solid and surface modelling and a lot of which has been driven by pre-existing manufacturing methods. Then we bring in some mesh based modelling or the output from computational systems, bring that together with some some new and novel methods of production that’s converging into a point where we have the potential to change how we design and build products. Yeah, yeah.
[00:03:12] Because I think in the past, I don’t think I’ll be speaking that line by saying we’ve got to use computer technologies to describe things which are actually manufacturing processes and we have to deal with these problems of, well, a solids model that couldn’t really deal with surfaces in the way that we need to deal with surfaces and we can’t take scan data and do things that we really wanted to do with it and then link it to solons models. I mean, these sort of limitations have existed because of the technologies and some of that’s disappearing, isn’t it?
[00:03:43] There is. You look at some of the systems that are out there now, you can have solid surfaces, meshes, points or quite happily coexisting. They might not interact a great deal at the minute. Bermann that points coming. So it’s something.
[00:03:56] Yeah, that’s that’s going to make life easier for the engineers. What about looking at trends and things like new materials and processes and supply chains? What do you think is going to happen there?
[00:04:12] I think for the majority of things, not a great deal is going to change. But there are specific use cases or interest issues yet to be built or to explore new production methods. If you take aerospace and automotive, a lot of those companies are interested in additive. The interesting thing about additive is that there’s an industry built around it that’s trying almost to crack every nut with one particular nutcracker. And I think a smarter approach is to combine the benefits of that with some of the more traditional things. And there’s a whole bunch of design theory around how you can do that.
[00:04:53] I mean, do you do you think there’s enough of a collaboration between the three different companies and the design software companies to to make it seamless?
[00:05:05] That’s. To happen now, um, I don’t know whether it’s a forced collaboration, but I think the customers will start to demand that, uh, there’s so much held up in particularly with additive is the process of building it to success, for that comes not just from the shape, but from the production of it. So it’s repeatable. Right. Um, and it can’t just be designed for a vague process. You have to design for a specific material on a specific machine. Otherwise it’s it’s not going to work.
[00:05:38] It’s interesting because there’s this whole these new paradigms of use. I mean, they’re even spreading to new supply chain models. Manufacturing is a service being one of them, which is really like the Uber ization, although people use the word Uber, but the liberalisation of of manufacturing.
[00:05:57] So you distance it from the the design in the manufacture by third party. And you need to come up with these sort of new models to cater for different print machines. You know, you just want to be able to say, here’s a design go and printed on something of this characteristic and you have to have some way of standardising that interaction.
[00:06:20] I think it’s not just standardisation, it’s it’s validating and regulating. And if you look at how the aerospace industry works with its certification programmes, you’re not just saying build me this part in this fake material. It’s this part built to these specifications with this powder, with this metal, this machine, and tell me the parts back. And not every industry is going to be as rigorous as that. But that needs to be something that’s addressed.
[00:06:45] Yeah, interesting, because because that sort of validation also goes to the paperwork return because obviously you need the audit trail that that’s of that manufacture. That’s interesting. So so what about, uh, the whole task of so we’re looking at the future design deskilling, the whole design task, and you know, what’s going to happen to design? Is it going to be as complex as we have it at the moment?
[00:07:14] I think design is always a complex process to to think that you might be able to automate some of the easy part, but the the difficult parts of the VMware the challenges. And for that, you might be able to throw computational resources at it. But sometimes you need humour behind a computer with a piece of paper and a pen doing the hard work.
[00:07:37] Yeah, I mean, I remember a quote that I heard at a recent conference by Tony Hebel gone about, um, technology.
[00:07:48] The real change is going to be in making technology invisible. Um, I mean, do you agree with that? I mean, is that a concept you agree with or as a concept.
[00:07:59] Yeah. You look at what Donald Norman wrote. Was it ten, fifteen years ago about the invisible computer and how technology, as it progresses into a product and then just becomes part of everyday life and that’s how things work. But at the cutting edge, the engineering and design and manufacture always is. I don’t think it’s going to disappear, know change, um, and probably change a great deal from what we know now over the next five, 10, 15 years.
[00:08:27] What do you think of this sort of shorter term changes that are going to happen? I mean, sort of say one to three years and then three to five years?
[00:08:37] I think a lot won’t change in terms of design, tech and engineering technology. What might happen is tools become more accessible. Um, but what’s going to need to change is how those tools are developed at the minute. We’re kind of stagnating. I think if you look at simulation, there’s always been talk of every engineer using simulation and that to date hasn’t really happened. And we can make it as cheaper, as plentiful as we like. But what hasn’t changed is the fact that some of these tools are quite hard to use, rightly so, because it’s there. It’s a difficult process simulating something in the physical world, in a digital realm. But we I think we can ease the transition between the two and maybe link up some of the some of the words and terminology that simulation systems use and make it more realistic while we’re trying to set up those studies.
[00:09:29] I mean, do you think he’s going to have a big part to play in in that sort of transition?
[00:09:36] Kind of sceptical about I I think we have to wait and see. There’s potential there. Yep. I could see a series of agents in your design system maybe looking at prior work that your company has done or generally shared information. You know, if you’re designing this part with this kind of loading, you might want to consider this. Um, but letting a computer do all the work, I think it might be a bit of an idea.
[00:10:05] Well, you know, I from a personal point of view, I like to think of the word augmented design because I’m exactly the same as yourself.
[00:10:14] I do. I’m sceptical about computers doing everything, but there’s no reason the computer couldn’t assist or suggest. Hmm. Which I think is great useful for some of these new technologies. And we’ve got the horsepower now as well with the Cloud. You know, I think certainly getting earlier insights and suggestions, particularly as as, you know, some of the sophisticated designs, you know, you don’t haven’t got the humans. You know, we know that there’s this problem of people retiring, you know, and that there’s fewer and fewer engineers and in the pools that are available to us, especially in complex tasks. So how do you allow the youth or the younger generation to have that knowledge that is required for these complex designs? Um, automotive and aerospace. You mentioned aerospace. You know, some of these designs are, you know, many, many decades old. You know, who knows why things were done? It’s an interesting one.
[00:11:16] Definitely. I mean, what about goal driven design? I mean, it’s a concept of, you know, you talked about things happening that are going to improve. But some people I’ve spoken to have talked about this thing about let’s design for AIX, you know, design for 3D print, design for manufacturability, those sort of things. I mean, you’ve got any thoughts on that?
[00:11:41] I think what’s more interesting is the idea of designing to solve the engineering challenge. That part or a system of parts is designed to solve and overcome and then letting the system work out the best way to do it. Right. You know, there’s a couple of things that you typically know up front. You know, if you’re manufacturing in-house, you know that you’ve got a certain amount of machine tools. You’ve got knowledge of materials in that instance or the context of your product. Why not let the system have a go at seeing what it can come up with? I think the idea of trying to tie it to a specific manufacturing thing is is good. But why not open the field a little and and see what can come out? And you don’t have to do it that way. You can always go back to doing it the old school.
[00:12:31] Right, doing it manually. I think you’re right.
[00:12:34] I mean, again, it comes part of this comes down to the amount of computation capability we’ve got in the background, you know, whether whether we can allow the computer to infer and look at what’s been done, prior art or prior machinery capabilities, things like that. And we have that Welspun. I don’t we I mean, especially with the Cloud.
[00:12:56] I mean, do you think that the way that we view applications, design applications in particular at the moment is still is what we’re going to see in the future, this sort of monolithic single applications with lots of capabilities? Is that is that going to change or is that something that’s due to be radically reformed?
[00:13:15] I think it may. I think to the availability of computation is an interesting point. You bring up, um, there’s a few challenges there of how available and how costly that can be, particularly in engineering and manufacturing. It just tends to be quite an iterative process. So you want to churn quickly and make mistakes and then build on those mistakes and successes and do necessarily need to have a financial cap on that. That’s that’s an interesting thing. Monetising design decisions is it’s always part of the process, but.
[00:13:53] It could be more so. I mean, I think one of the that is an interesting one, because established companies have got a monetary model and they and that’s how they develop their revenues. But if you start outperforming, for instance, or cutting up these sort of more monolithic design processes as they exist as apps today into smaller chunks, you know, how do you then monetise that and make sure that you have enough revenues? I can understand a small Start-Up will do it because they’ve got nothing to lose but bigger companies. It’s more of an interesting challenge, I suppose.
[00:14:27] Oh, I think it’s when you start a project, a budget is set. Yes. And if you have a line item in that budget for computation and you get to the point where you think you’ve got a breakthrough and there’s no budget left, that’s that’s going to be hard to take. I guess you maybe have to think about it like it’s probably a very old school concept, but I have a company car and the lease agreement, you know, you get a certain amount of miles and after that you have to pay. Yeah. So you’ve got your your engineering or design rep. Trying to keep it in his mileage right now.
[00:15:05] Interesting, yeah, that’s going to be interesting, especially for the younger generation who who are not used to these camps. They just use whatever they use, you know. Interesting. Any any other thoughts about the future of design as we know it today?
[00:15:20] I mean, what you know, if you were to to give some sage words of advice to the listeners about what to expect or how to accept it, wouldn’t you say?
[00:15:30] I think we’re at a point where. People that have trained in design and engineering have the potential to take advantage of these tools, even if it might not be immediately apparent on that project that they work on. Um, but now is a good time to get in on the ground because the knowledge and expertise that they have makes them perfectly placed to use those tools in the future and maybe do things differently, maybe change the world a little.
[00:16:00] Yeah, they have changed the world. I like that. That’s that’s certainly I think what we’re hoping to see over the next years.
[00:16:07] We rely on the vendors. Thank you very much for your your wise words and your interesting observations.
[00:16:15] We’ve come to the end of our discussion. I hope you found it interesting. I’d like to thank our obviously from the developed 3D. If anybody wants to get in touch with our obviously developed 3D has a contact point, we’ll also put some information whereby you can contact him online. He’s also available on Twitter as Alice Dean, Dean know just yesterday.
[00:16:44] I’m Alan Barens contact. So thank you very much for listening to. See you next on.