Generative Design that makes sense.

Drastic improvements in design require the development of new innovative concepts. In the concept phase of a product development process, the degree of freedom is typically very high, whereas – on the other hand – the knowledge on the product to be built is rather limited. This makes the evaluation of new concepts challenging, even more so when new designs, materials and/or joining technologies are involved. That’s why we have developed the ConcEval (Concept Evaluation) Workbench, a concept development and collaboration platform that offers a generic, CAD-based workflow to build designs and compare them objectively, for a variety of technical and non-technical attributes, including Cost, Manufacturability and Robustness of design. Additionally, the ConcEval Workbench also offers dedicated functionality for automatic generation of beam-based structures. Let’s see how it all works for the reinforcement structure of a passenger car door.

Automatic concept generation.

Built-in constraints programming within the ConcEval Workbench allows to generate a large number of beam structures that follow certain design rules within minutes. In this demonstrator, about 1800 beam structure variants were generated, spanning the design space from the door hinges towards the opposite end.

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Concept evaluation and ranking.

The automated workflow enables to quickly evaluate each concept on a number of relevant criteria, i.e. concept attributes. With 1800 designs generated, some will obviously perform better on some criteria and worse on others. But which design performs overall the best? This is where the ConcEval Workbench filtering and ranking functionalities come into play: it is up to the design team not only to specify all design requirements, but also to assign a specific importance to each of them, i.e. a weight factor . The Workbench then instantly provides you with the design that is objectively the best - Try it out yourself by moving the sliders! You can also compare scorecards by clicking on the best alternative designs.






Load case 1 - stiffness:

Load case 2 - strength ratio:


Cost: 0
Robustness: 0
Load case 1
Load case 2

In this demonstrator, the following criteria are considered:

  • Cost – includes raw material and production costs;
  • Mass – is a key design driver for many applications, in automotive sector and beyond;
  • Manufacturability – gives a relative assessment how suitable is the design when taken into production;
  • Robustness of design – provides a metric for interconnectivity of the design’s components (degree of modularity of the concept), which tells you e.g. how easily the parts in the concept can be changed or modified.

On top of this, many engineering/technical attributes may be relevant. Usually products need to be designed to serve concurrently in various loading scenario’s (load cases), in which stiffness, strength and/or fatigue behaviour may be critical. In this example, we are investigating:

  • First eigenfrequency of the structure – important to avoid resonance behaviour of the structure;
  • Stiffness(LC1) - Stiffness of the structure when pushing down the structure (Load Case LC1);
  • Strength(LC2) – The Strength Ratio gives the highest occurring stress relative to the load-bearing capacity, within the whole structure for Load Case LC2: a central impact load onto the door.

For Cost and Mass, the adage is: “the lower the better”, while for Manufacturability and Robustness, it is the other way around. To avoid resonance, the first eigenfrequency in this application is best as high as possible. At the same time the stiffness respons under vertical load (LC1) should be sufficiently high , while the stress-to-strength ratio under impact loading (LC2) needs to be as low as possible .

A glimpse into the Workbench.

The Workbench has been developed as an extension to a free available CAD-CAE software (FreeCAD). You can have an impression of the workflow and some of the functionalities in this video.

What can we do for you?

Would you like to know more on the ConcEval Workbench for early concept design? Do you have a design challenge? Every feedback or question is welcome. Get in touch with us!


The ConcEval Workbench has been originally established within the framework of the ConcEval ICON project.
The demonstrator was developed in partnership with
Antwerp Design Factory