Automating design through parametric evolution for welding fixtures

Welding fixtures are applied to clamp, support, and locate the components to be welded, in order to meet product tolerances by minimising deformations due to welding. The design of welding fixtures is one of the many engineering domains requiring a continuous reduction in their lead-time processes to keep up with the industry’s demand. A large proportion of the lead time results from repetitive tasks and analyses performed for each new design. In an attempt to reduce the designer’s efforts during the execution of these tasks, an automation solution can be realised.

The Fraunhofer Innovation Platform for Advanced Manufacturing at the University of Twente, in collaboration with MechDes Engineering B.V., have worked towards a design automation prototype capable of producing feasible design concepts. The welding fixture design concepts generated were based on the designer’s criteria and product standards.

Industry partner

Logo MechDes Engineering


The process followed the current practices and design approach of MechDes Engineering B.V. to tailor the design automation industrial designs. Preliminary implementation and testing have shown that automatic design is possible by using a step-by-step plan during design conceptualisation. This establishes the foundation for future automation developments toward real-time design conceptualisation of complex engineering design problems.


The solution is based on formulating the design problem into a multi-objective parametric design simulation with the support of CAD Software. The simulation was then subjected to an algorithm that aims to optimise the fixture’s geometrical parameters toward minimising collisions among dynamic and static bodies. A design expert can adjust the importance across multiple objectives and provide a suggestion (initialisation) for the fixture design.
The project was funded by the Top consortium for Knowledge and Innovation – High Tech Systems and Materials and has developed a transferrable knowledge approach to developing design automation solutions that can be applied in broader engineering applications.

“The project was a stepping stone for us towards a hybrid solution for the configuration of welding jigs.”

Henk van Ommeren
Managing Director MechDes Engineering B.V.

For more information on the MechDes project, feel free to reach out to

Vasos Arnaoutis

Vasos Arnaoutis

Research Engineer