Blog | | by Sebastian

Digitalization as a partner for sustainability

Sustainable acting is not a choice - it is a must. The urgency is now well known, which is why a rapid dissemination of applicable methods is necessary. The digitalization of design processes can make a major contribution to this.

Current challenges in design

The difficulties that companies have in implementing sustainability guidelines are often heard these days:

There is a lot of time pressure. When prioritizing the many projects and topics, sustainability tends to take lower priority, even though awareness of it is greater than ever. The prevailing shortage of skilled workers is intensifying this problem.

In addition, design is becoming increasingly complex - necessary functions, manufacturing feasibility, economic requirements and sustainable design rules need to be combined. Expert knowledge is required, which is still assigned a minor role in teaching at universities regarding sustainability. The know-how is usually bundled up within a few designers in the company. Due to demographic change, this will also decrease in the coming years.

Digitalization overcomes hurdles

It is even more important to overcome these hurdles and find a suitable long-term solution. The digitalization of processes in manufacturing is one way of approaching this important issue.

On the one hand, the ability to analyze data provides better insights into input and output factors. Forecasting an ecological assessment over the entire product life cycle during product development can be the starting point for reconsidering in the objectives of mechanical engineering design departments.

On the other hand, digital solutions are essentially scalable and can be made available to a large user group quickly. The contribution digitalization can make is therefore immense in terms of its impact.

However, it should be noted that digital solutions must also be used in the processes along the value chain where they can have the greatest impact. Digitizing something just because it can be digitized should not be the incentive. Rather, the decision in which processes digital tools shoule be used, must be based on its impact on sustainable action.

Sustainability in the sheet metal industry

The sheet metal industry has a sustainability advantage. This is because sheet metal is already a basis for production that can be formed into the intended shape very flexibly and with little waste.

While material is removed with high energy consumption during machining, sheet metal can have a multitude of potentials:

  • Digitally optimized nesting minimizes waste and thus the ratio of material that can be used for the final purpose
  • Forming processes such as bending can be achieved with relatively low energy use
  • Tools in classic sheet metal processing are non-specific. This means that they can be used independently of the design to be produced, making the production setup itself sustainable

Enormous potential can be exploited simply by using a sustainable production process such as sheet metal processing instead of alternative technologies.

With just one click to a more sustainable solution

At Optimate, we have made it our mission to address precisely the points mentioned above.

As already mentioned, expert knowledge is the basis. This has been developed at our parent company TRUMPF over the past 100 years and has been passed on by top performers.

However, sustainability can only succeed as a collective. This knowledge must therefore be able to break out of the silo and be made available to every design engineer. We want to start this small revolution and that is what drives our team every day. Our AI concentrates the knowledge and can apply it directly to our customers' CAD data. This means that the wealth of knowledge from 100 years of sustainable sheet metal experience can be transferred with just one click.

To overcome the second hurdle, the lack of time, it is just as important for Optimate to make the application as simple and timesaving as possible through the handling of the software. We therefore not only describe how alternative designs can be created more economically and sustainably. We also apply this directly to our customers' components and have them automatically redesigned by our algorithms. As a result, you immediately understand what needs to be changed, generate new ideas in seconds and can apply them directly.

We can also save time during production. Our AI automatically recognizes weld seams and attempts to reduce them by redesigning the parts with the same stability just by bending. This not only saves an additional step, but also the energy required, material, chemical processes and, of course, costs. Even if a weld seam cannot be entirely eliminated, our software tries to keep the seam as short as possible.

It is simply "just one click". And since there is always time for this click, sustainability can never again slip through day-to-day business if it is used consistently.

Written by

Sebastian Beger


Back to the news overview

| by Sebastian

We no longer have a choice when it comes to sustainable practices, the urgency is well known. But what is the best way to do this right from the design stage and how can we overcome the hurdles? Our blog post provides an answer as to how digitalization can contribute to this.

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| by Patrick

Where in the past technical drawings and the spatial imagination of experienced employees were used to assess the bending process, today bending simulations are the order of the day. We show how these make everyday work easier.

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| by Jonas

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