Concurrent design and evaluation based on structural optimization using structural and function-oriented elements at the conceptual design phase

Akihiro Takezawa, Shinji Nishiwaki*, Kazuhiro Izui, Masataka Yoshimura, Hidekazu Nishigaki, Yasuaki Tsurumi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Computer-aided engineering (CAE) has been successfully used in mechanical industries such as automotive industries. CAE enables us to quantitatively evaluate the mechanical performances of products and to propose an effective way to improve their performances using optimization techniques without building physical prototypes. However, CAE tools are usually utilized not at the conceptual design phase, but at the evaluation phase following the detailed design phase. This is because current CAE tools require detailed design data that does not yet exist at the conceptual design phase, and such tools also inhibit the provision of useful design suggestions that, ideally, match the way of thinking and insight of design engineers. Thus, at present, no CAE tools exist that can assist the conceptual design decision making process of design engineers. On the other hand, conceptual design processes are of great significance when seeking to create innovative and high-performance products and to shorten their development time. In order to fulfill the designer's needs during the conceptual design phase, a new type of CAE method must be constructed, one that enables concurrent design support and evaluation, and fits the way design engineers think and explore design insights. This article presents a ne w structural optimization method that supports concurrent decision making so that design engineers can work to obtain innovative designs and evaluate the mechanical design details of mechanical structures at the conceptual design phase. This method is developed based on the concept of product-oriented analysis and discrete, function-oriented elements, such as beam and panel elements, since these can provide design suggestions concerning the structural evaluation of reasons as to why certain design ideas obtained are reasonable or optimal in the design sense. The basic ideas and specific ations needed to construct the method are explained and the construction of the structural optimization design method is discussed. The optimization algorithm is developed using the ground structure approach and CONLIN sequential convex programming. The examples provided demonstrate the utility of the proposed methodology for supporting design engineers' concurrent decision making, so that innovative mechanical designs can be evaluated at the conceptual design phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-42
Number of pages14
JournalConcurrent Engineering Research and Applications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-aided design
  • Computer-aided engineering
  • Conceptual design
  • Decision support system
  • Structural analysis
  • Structural optimization
  • Topology optimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Concurrent design and evaluation based on structural optimization using structural and function-oriented elements at the conceptual design phase'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this