Design & Optimisation

Model-based design methods and supporting software ensure a better and faster realisation of optimal products and product designs.

“The ever increasing product complexity makes it more important than ever to support the design process with model-based methods and tools, particularly in the early stages” 

Paola Campestrini is head of the competence domain Design & Optimisation. In this capacity, she coordinates the activities of three core labs within Flanders Make: AnSyMo/CoSys lab (University Antwerp), CodesignS (Flanders Make vzw) and DMMS-D (KUL-PMA). Together we search for answers to the ever increasing complexity of the design process.

“Whereas formerly some products used to consist of mechanical parts only, we are now more and more evolving towards mechatronic/cyber-physical systems”, explains Paola Campestrini. “In addition, also the demand for mass customisation  increases, forcing companies to market not one single product but an entire product family. Furthermore, thanks to the digitisation, we can now develop adaptive products that are able to adapt themselves to the specific context in which they are being used.”

“You will immediately understand why this doesn’t really make the task of product developers or engineers any easier. The ever increasing product complexity makes it more important than ever to support the design process with model-based methods and tools, particularly in the early stages. Because the further you’ve come in the design process, the more expensive it will become to still make changes. How can one make the right choices in terms of performance, costs, assembly, maintenance and recyclability? Finally, speed also plays a part in a competitive market.”

Supporting developers

“Within Flanders Make, we are investigating how we can support developers in their design process through the use of design tools, focussing strongly on model-based methods and prototyping tools. For instance, we recently developed a tool that allows to generate concepts for an automated assembly cell. Based on the tasks to be executed by machines and robots, the tool calculates all possible solutions and compares them in terms of cycle time and costs. In this way, designers can rapidly explore different concepts and make better design choices. This is almost impossible when working manually. In a current research project, we are investigating how we can extend this methodology to production environments in which robots and operators work side by side.”

Paola Campestrini

“Within Flanders Make, we are investigating how we can support developers in their design process through the use of design tools, focussing strongly on model-based methods and prototyping tools.”

Paola Campestrini