COMPACT: A structured way-of-working towards an optimal design

The unique AIMMS-based design optimization tool COMPACT leads to better designs in less time.

Business description & background

Nowadays, products are more and more often designed on the computer using Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools for product modeling and Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) tools for product simulation. Although much faster than real prototyping CAE simulations are still very time-consuming. Due to freedom in design, there usually are an astronomical number of alternatives.

What’s more, products have to meet many, possibly conflicting, design requirements originating from diverse engineering disciplines. As a designer you want to make the right design choices based on facts, while maintaining the balance between quality and development time. The unique design-optimization tool COMPACT leads to better designs in less time.

The COMPACT approach

has been successfully applied in various markets including automotive, ship-building, and consumer electronics.

The challenge

When time consuming simulation models are involved, the challenge is to effectively use the tight simulation budget to explore the design-space. This becomes even more challenging when several conflicting objectives and constraints, often originating from multiple disciplines, are present. In this context, getting insight in the relations between adjustable parameters and the quality of the design is just as important as finding the optimum.

The solution

CQM developed a unique structured way-of-working for design space exploration. The way-of-working is implemented in the software COMPACT, which helps the engineer in four steps. In short, the steps are:

  • Problem definition: identify the relevant design parameters that are input to the simulation model and the relevant quality characteristics that are output of the simulation model.
  • Design of computer experiments: COMPACT describes the settings for the design parameters for which a simulation must be executed.
  • Simulation runs: The simulation tool calculates the quality characteristics that correspond to the design parameter settings that were created in the second step.
  • Compact modeling: COMPACT creates a model for each quality characteristic that approximates the simulation tool output for any new setting of the design parameters. These so-called compact models can be evaluated very quickly.
  • Analysis and mathematical optimization: by substituting the compact models in the optimization problem, the design optimization problem can be solved. Furthermore, various 2D and 3D graphs give insight into relations between quality characteristics and design parameters.

The benefits

Using COMPACT means:

  • A shorter development time, since less simulation runs are performed.
  • A structured way-of-working for design space exploration.
  • Multi-disciplinary design: integral optimization of multiple engineering disciplines.
  • Insight in relations: compact model plots give the engineer insight in relations leading to design rules.
  • Optimal design: the optimal settings of the design parameters can be found quickly.
  • What-if-analysis and trade-offs: by changing the objective or constraints in the engineering problem in small steps and re-solving it, several optimal scenarios can be compared quickly.

How did AIMMS add value?

Important part of COMPACT is optimization with compact models. Our experience is, that quality characteristics may be quite non-linear and integer design parameters are not uncommon. That’s why professional NLP and MINLP solvers are a necessity. Therefore, COMPACT has been implemented in AIMMS, in which a number of state-of-the-art solvers are already available. Another important added value of AIMMS is its Graphical User Interface, which enabled CQM to make COMPACT easily accessible for users with varying backgrounds.

About CQM

The consultancy firm CQM was founded in 1979 and provide a service to industry, the government, and research establishments. Its high-quality knowledge of quantitative modeling enables it to operate in the following areas:

  • Manufacturing
  • Research & Development
  • Supply chain modeling
  • Transport and distribution
  • Traffic and public transportation
  • Financial services

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More details

Erwin Stinstra, CQM