Articles

Automation and artistry

January 10, 2019

AI and automation are advancing to the level where we can create a Rembrandt using robots and hear JFK’s speech that he never had the chance to read. These rapid improvements are undoubtedly going to change the workplace and are already influencing industries.  From transforming factory floors to sorting suitable candidates for a job role, automation is already streamlining processes. 

These advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning are enabling automated tech to match or outperform humans in a range of activities - including those that traditionally require human capabilities. In terms of the impact on workplaces, thoughts on the rise of automation generally fall into two camps. Those who are optimistic about the role automation can play, and those that fear that it will result in a vast loss of jobs. 

We are in the “techno-optimist” camp, as the Industrial Revolution proved, when processes are refined, this creates opportunities for more human creativity. 

As proponents of the advantages of automation, we work with a tool that frees up design engineers to work on more conceptual, creative projects. Our automated dynamic design software offers a quick solution to create multiple versions of similar assets and allows engineers to spend their time making more subjectively difficult designs, while the automated software will do the simpler, time-consuming work. 

We have used the tool when working with drainage design for water companies and it has proved particularly useful. The software created multiple options of an asset, in a fraction of the time, by building and tweaking the specifications and automatically complying with design codes and standards. 

Speaking on the application, Matt Sanderson, Product Manager for Atkins, explains: 

“The automated dynamic design function provided us with a 3D model of the asset and created a number of different design options that have various benefits and reduced the time it takes to create designs. The tool is more suited to designing assets where functionality, rather than aesthetic is the key driver. By stopping designers from having to spend a week working on these variations of one asset, it freed them up to do more bespoke, creative tasks.

The functionality can be applied across a wide range of industries and means tasks that would have taken a design engineer a week, can now be produced in 15 minutes. We often work with clients in a - “‘waterfall” - style where we are briefed on a project, then go away and design based on our interpretation of the clients’ needs. After we’ve spent considerable time working on the task, we go back to the client. Often risks materialize on a project which requires changes to the design and this takes more time and sometimes impacts the budget. By using the automated dynamic software, we can design quickly and efficiently and where changes are necessary - client costs are minimised.

For example, using the automated dynamic software a designer can select the performance characteristics required for the design over a handful of input parameters which selects a code compliant result from millions of possible outcomes, saving time and increasing accuracy.

Our aim is that the development of these tools will stop people having to spend time doing tasks that can be performed quicker and more efficiently by an automated piece of software. This will free up engineers to work on the more imaginative projects.”

If you would like to find out more about how automated dynamic design software can help you and our extensive range of additional tools and services, please contact matt.sanderson@atkinsglobal.com

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