Thought Leadership

Generative Design for Electrical Systems Part Two – Summary

By Quinn Foster

The Talking Aerospace Today podcast continues its introduction to generative design in the context of digital transformation maturity. In the previous episode, Todd Tuthill, Vice President of Aerospace and Defense for Siemens Digital Industries Software, and Anthony “Tony” Nicoli, Senior Director for Aerospace at Siemens, introduced the concept and what generative capabilities exist for electrical systems today.

In this episode, Todd and Anthony discuss how people can learn to trust generative design, what factors in the A&D industry can encourage its adoption, and why A&D companies should start investing in it now rather than later.

Building trust

Generative design has enormous potential to revolutionize the A&D industry. Although the industry has yet to simply click a button and generate design artifacts for electrical systems, the previous episode identified some of the benefits generative algorithms already bring, such as a 94% reduction in time spent creating technical manuals. If what is available today could make that big an impact, imagine what full generative design could do in the future.

However, there is still an understandable amount of skepticism toward generative design, not just in A&D, but across industries in general. The benefits are certainly attractive, but some may not trust in its capabilities to generate working designs. This is perfectly understandable, especially in A&D. After all, many aerospace products face some of the most difficult missions humanity has known, so the degree of safety for those products must be greater than most other industries.

The key, according to Todd, is keeping an open mind, because adopting generative design is not unlike adopting previous technologies that transformed work processes. For example, he describes a time when his father brought home their first calculator decades ago, and ever the curious engineer, his father would spend a lot of time testing the calculator to make sure it did math as well as he did. Todd had similar experiences himself later in his career with computers. Generative design will follow a similar trend to the technologies we now take for granted. The more people keep an open mind, learn about the technology, and continue to use it, the more they will learn to trust it.

The case for generative design

In any case, current conditions in the A&D industry are likely to push the adoption of generative design, namely those surrounding workforce. As discussed in previous episodes, there is a growing shortage of engineers in the industry, with one in ten positions remaining unfilled today and an expectation of that growing to one in five positions by 2030. Additionally, according to a PWC/AIA workforce study, “Over 29% of the industry’s workforce is over the age of 55, creating waves of retirement impact that will last ten to twenty years into the future.” The A&D industry has so many exciting things to work on in the future, from sustainable aviation to space travel, but it may not have the engineers to bring them to fruition.

Generative design builds on the earlier stages of digital transformation maturity and multiplies the impact of the current workforce by taking on more mundane tasks for engineers. Designing components for aerospace products is a complex, tedious process, especially for electrical systems. By delegating these sorts of tasks to generative designs, current engineers can have more time to focus on higher-level and more creative tasks, allowing new programs to be carried out without worry of filling empty positions.

Start investing now

With all that said, there is no reason companies cannot start investing in generative design now. There are plenty of generative capabilities right now for individual engineering domains, and they can be used in conjunction with a comprehensive digital twin and digital threads. What’s more, this technology is continually improving, especially with the advancement of AI, and companies will be able to reap the benefits as it does. For example, as generative design improves within single engineering domains, companies can one day expand it across multiple domains and enable multidomain optimization, which will be the subject of later episodes.

Generative design has incredible potential to transform the way electrical systems and aerospace products are made. While people may not trust it fully for the moment, the workforce issues the industry is currently experiencing demand a change to traditional engineering processes, and people will learn to trust it as they did with calculators and computers. By investing in generative design now, companies can learn to trust it sooner, as well as learn how to maximize its potential and secure their future engineering processes.

Tune in for the next episodes of Talking Aerospace Today, which will delve further into generative design within the mechanical domain.

Siemens Digital Industries Software helps organizations of all sizes digitally transform using software, hardware and services from the Siemens Xcelerator business platform. Siemens’ software and the comprehensive digital twin enable companies to optimize their design, engineering and manufacturing processes to turn today’s ideas into the sustainable products of the future. From chips to entire systems, from product to process, across all industries. Siemens Digital Industries Software – Accelerating transformation.

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at