Section: Application Domains

Geometric modeling for Design and Manufacturing.

The main domain of applications that we consider for the methods we develop is Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing.

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) involves creating digital models defined by mathematical constructions, from geometric, functional or aesthetic considerations. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) uses the geometrical design data to control the tools and processes, which lead to the production of real objects from their numerical descriptions.

CAD-CAM systems provide tools for visualizing, understanding, manipulating, and editing virtual shapes. They are extensively used in many applications, including automotive, shipbuilding, aerospace industries, industrial and architectural design, prosthetics, and many more. They are also widely used to produce computer animation for special effects in movies, advertising and technical manuals, or for digital content creation. Their economic importance is enormous. Their importance in education is also growing, as they are more and more used in schools and educational purposes.

CAD-CAM has been a major driving force for research developments in geometric modeling, which leads to very large software, produced and sold by big companies, capable of assisting engineers in all the steps from design to manufacturing.

Nevertheless, many challenges still need to be addressed. Many problems remain open, related to the use of efficient shape representations, of geometric models specific to some application domains, such as in architecture, naval engineering, mechanical constructions, manufacturing, .... Important questions on the robustness and the certification of geometric computation are not yet answered. The complexity of the models which are used nowadays also appeal for the development of new approaches. The manufacturing environment is also increasingly complex, with new type of machine tools including: turning, 5 axis machining and wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining), 3D printer. It cannot be properly used without computer assistance, which raises methodological and algorithmic questions. There is an increasing need to combine design and simulation, for analyzing the physical behavior of a model and for optimal design.

The field has deeply changed over the last decades, with the emergence of new geometric modeling tools built on dedicated packages, which are mixing different scientific areas to address specific applications. It is providing new opportunities to apply new geometric modeling methods, output from research activities.