Generative design software tools have grown significantly in recent years. The market for generative design tools is expected to expand 24% by 2030, reaching $44.5 billion, according to ABI Research. These sales include licenses and subscription revenues for computer-aided design (CAD) products with generative design tools or standalone generative design software products.
Generative design software tends to be a blend of simulation, topology optimization, and CAD tools, so the vendors in those categories were the early movers. Those vendors made up much of the market before 3D printing started growing. With the expansion of 3DP, new players started emerging.
Topology Optimization Versus Generative Design
These two terms are very similar. Topology optimization is a more specific process of removing material in areas that have less stress. Generative design reconsiders the design altogether. This video explains the differences in a very clear way:
Generative has become popular because its algorithms outperform human engineering teams. The tools can produce non-intuitive solutions that may never have been found using traditional engineering processes. The most common use for generative design is with structural optimization: creating parts that provide sufficient strength, stiffness, and fatigue resistance with the minimum of material.
McKinsey Identifies Several Generative Design Applications
- Internal structural parts for handheld tools (to improve ergonomics)
- Sports equipment (to enhance performance)
- Vehicles and aircraft (to reduce fuel consumption or increase payload)
- Any product where shipping weight is a significant cost driver.
In addition to the vendors listed in this article, there are also individual end-users who have added considerable research and development to generative design. Companies such as GM, HP, and Boeing have internal programs to develop the process.