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Robust Design Optimization in Virtual Product Development

This NAFEMS publication reviews the state of the art in the application of Robust Design Optimisation (RDO) methods for virtual product development. Further valuable insights on RDO are provided in the NAFEMS publication “How to Optimise Under Uncertainty” by Mariapia Marchi.

The authors surveys the rapidly evolving discipline of CAE-based Robust Design Optimisation that has been made possible by the phenomenal increase in computer processing power seen over recent decades. The complexity of component design originates from a number of interacting factors. The design engineer has to find a practical resolution to the following questions, while satisfying the budget/time/computing resource constraints of a project:

  • What is the best representation for the model input parameter uncertainty given the current state of engineering know-how? (Are parameter distributions known, or only ranges are known? Are uncertain parameters spatially correlated?)

  • How can the design degrees of freedom be reduced to a manageable level so that the optimisation problem can be resized based on the available computational resources?

  • What is a good choice of a meta-model and how can the uncertainty of point-wise predictions of such models be consistently combined with input uncertainty?

  • What are the most appropriate measures of component design robustness and/or reliability?

  • For a given Uncertainty Quantification (UQ) method, up to which precision levels are the robustness measures evaluated?

  • How can component design optimisation be performed in the presence of uncertainty? What feasible approaches are available and how to select the most appropriate one for a specific problem?

This publication highlights the importance of adopting a systematic approach in the use of modern computational design tools for virtual product Robust Design Optimisation.

Nadir Ince
NAFEMS Optimisation Working Group Chairman


  1. Introduction

  2. Global Sensitivity Analysis

  3. Multidisciplinary Deterministic Optimization 

  4. Robustness Evaluation

  5. Robust Design Optimization 

  6. Illustrative Example: Robust Design of a Steel Hook 

  7. Summary and Conclusions

  8. Acronyms 

  9. References 

  10. NAFEMS PSE Competencies Covered in This Publication 

Purchasing Details

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Johannes Will, Thomas Most, Stephanie Kunath

First Published 

October 2017
57 Pages