A multi-objective sequential method for manufacturing cost and structural optimization of modular steel towers

  • Paolo CicconiEmail author
  • Vincenzo Castorani
  • Michele Germani
  • Marco Mandolini
  • Alessio Vita
Original Article


This paper proposes a methodological approach for the multi-objective optimization of steel towers made from prefabricated cylindrical stacks that are typically used in the oil and gas sector. The goal is to support engineers in designing economical products while meeting structural requirements. The multi-objective optimization approach involves the minimization of the weights and costs related to the manufacturing and assembly phases. The method is based on three optimization levels. The first is used in the preliminary design phase when a company receives a request for proposal. Here, minimal information on the order is available, and the time available to formulate an offer is limited. Thus, parametric cost models and simplified 1-D geometries are used in the optimization loop performed by genetic algorithms. The second phase, the embodiment design phase, starts when an offer becomes an order based on the results of the first stage. Simplified shell geometries and advanced parametric cost models are used in the optimization loop, which present a restricted problem domain. In the last phase involving detailed design, a full 3-D computer-aided design model is generated, and specific finite-element method simulations are performed. The cost estimations, given the high levels of detail considered, are analytic and are performed using dedicated software.


Sequential optimization Multi-objective optimization Engineering-to-order (ETO) Manufacturing cost estimation Numerical simulation Tubular steel towers 



  1. 1.
    Zheng P, Xu X, Yu S, Liu C (2017) Personalized product configuration framework in an adaptable open architecture product platform. J Manuf Syst 43:422–435. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lim LL, Alpan G, Penz B (2017) A simulation-optimization approach for sales and operations planning in build-to-order industries with distant sourcing: focus on the automotive industry. Comput Ind Eng 112:469–482. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kristianto Y, Helo P, Jiao RJ (2015) A system level product configurator for engineer-to-order supply chains. Comput Ind 72:82–91. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sylla A, Guillon D, Vareilles E, Aldanondo M, Coudert T, Geneste L (2018) Configuration knowledge modeling: how to extend configuration from assemble/make to order towards engineer to order for the bidding process. Comput Ind 99:29–41. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    André S, Elgh F, Johansson J, Stolt R (2017) The design platform—a coherent platform description of heterogeneous design assets for suppliers of highly customised systems. J Eng Des 28:599–626. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Duchi A, Tamburini F, Parisi D, Maghazei O, Schönsleben P (2017) From ETO to mass customization: a two-horizon ETO enabling process. In: Bellemare J, Carrier S, Nielsen K, Piller F (eds) Managing complexity. Springer proceedings in business and economics. Springer, Cham, pp 99–113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Elgh F (2012) Decision support in the quotation process of engineered-to-order products. Adv Eng Inform 26:66–79. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Trentin A, Perin E, Forza C (2012) Product configurator impact on product quality. Int J Prod Econ 135:850–859. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Raffaeli R, Savoretti A, Germani M (2017) Design knowledge formalization to shorten the time to generate offers for engineer to order products. Lect Notes Mech Eng. Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Caron F, Fiore A (1995) “Engineer to order” companies: how to integrate manufacturing and innovative processes. Int J Proj Manag 13:313–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Willner O, Gosling J, Schönsleben P (2016) Establishing a maturity model for design automation in sales-delivery processes of ETO products. Comput Ind 82:57–68. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brière-Côté A, Rivest L, Desrochers A (2010) Adaptive generic product structure modelling for design reuse in engineer-to-order products. Comput Ind 61:53–65. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pahl KHGG, Beitz W, Feldhusen J (2004) Engineering design: a systematic approach. Springer, Berlin. Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Myrodia A, Kristjansdottir K, Hvam L (2017) Impact of product configuration systems on product profitability and costing accuracy. Comput Ind 88:12–18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Gholizadeh S, Baghchevan A (2017) Multi-objective seismic design optimization of steel frames by a chaotic meta-heuristic algorithm. Eng Comput 33:1045–1060. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cicconi P, Germani M, Bondi S, Zuliani A, Cagnacci E (2016) A design methodology to support the optimization of steel structures. Procedia CIRP 50:58–64. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Uys PE, Farkas J, Jármai K, van Tonder F (2007) Optimisation of a steel tower for a wind turbine structure. Eng Struct 29:1337–1342. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Cicconi P, Raffaeli R, Marchionne M, Germani M (2018) A model-based simulation approach to support the product configuration and optimization of gas turbine ducts. Comput Aided Des Appl 15(6):807–818. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Duverlie P, Castelain JM (1999) Cost estimation during design step: parametric method versus case based reasoning method. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 15:895–906. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Papavasileiou GS, Charmpis DC (2016) Seismic design optimization of multi-storey steel-concrete composite buildings. Comput Struct 170:49–61. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lagaros ND, Karlaftis MG (2016) Life-cycle cost structural design optimization of steel wind towers. Comput Struct 174:122–132. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Giagkiozis I, Fleming PJ (2015) Methods for multi-objective optimization: an analysis. Inf Sci (Ny). zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Nguyen A-T, Reiter S, Rigo P (2014) A review on simulation-based optimization methods applied to building performance analysis. Appl Energy 113:1043–1058. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Castorani V, Vita A, Mandolini M, Germani M (2017) A CAD-based method for multi-objectives optimization of mechanical products. Comput Aided Des Appl 14(5):563–571. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Martini K (2016) Multiobjective structural optimization of frameworks using enumerative topology. Comput Struct 173:61–70. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Arnout S, Lombaert G, Degrande G, De Roeck G (2012) The optimal design of a barrel vault in the conceptual design stage. Comput Struct 92–93:308–316. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hao P, Wang B, Li G (2012) Surrogate-based optimum design for stiffened shells with adaptive sampling, AIAA J. Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Brown NC, Mueller CT (2016) Design for structural and energy performance of long span buildings using geometric multi-objective optimization. Energy Build 127:748–761. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Tort C, Şahin S, Hasançebi O (2017) Optimum design of steel lattice transmission line towers using simulated annealing and PLS-TOWER. Comput Struct 179:75–94. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zou XK, Chan CM, Li G, Wang Q (2007) Multiobjective optimization for performance-based design of reinforced concrete frames. J Struct Eng 133:1462–1474. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kaveh A, Laknejadi K, Alinejad B (2011) Performance-based multi-objective optimization of large steel structures. Acta Mech 223(2):355–369. CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Shin H, Singh MP (2017) Minimum life-cycle cost-based optimal design of yielding metallic devices for seismic loads. Eng Struct 144:174–184. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Liang JC, Li LJ, He JN (2015) Performance-based multi-objective optimum, design for steel structures with intelligence algorithms. Int J Optim Civ Eng 5:79–101Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Negm HM, Maalawi KY (2000) Structural design optimization of wind turbine towers. Comput Struct 74:649–666. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Karpat F (2013) A virtual tool for minimum cost design of a wind turbine tower with ring stiffeners. Energies 6:3822–3840. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Bazeos N, Hatzigeorgiou G, Hondros I, Karamaneas H, Karabalis D, Beskos D (2002) Static, seismic and stability analyses of a prototype wind turbine steel tower. Eng Struct 24:1015–1025. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Kaveh A (2013) Optimal analysis of structures by concepts of symmetry and regularity. Springer Vienna, Vienna. CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Zou X-K (2012) Optimal seismic performance-based design of reinforced concrete buildings. In: Structural seismic design optimization and earthquake engineering, IGI Global, Pennsylvania, United States, pp 208–231. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Ozturk M, Kocaoglan S, Sonmez FO (2016) Concurrent design and process optimization of forging. Comput Struct 167:24–36. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Bruno D, Lonetti P, Pascuzzo A (2016) An optimization model for the design of network arch bridges. Comput Struct 170:13–25. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Steponavičė I, Ruuska S, Miettinen K (2014) A solution process for simulation-based multiobjective design optimization with an application in the paper industry. Comput Des 47:45–58. Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Li G, Zhou R-G, Duan L, Chen W-F (1999) Multiobjective and multilevel optimization for steel frames. Eng Struct 21:519–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Amrani A, Zouggar S, Zolghadri M, Girard P (2010) Supporting framework to improve Engineer-To-Order product lead-times. IFAC Proc 43:102–107. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Vasconcellos JM, Harduim M, Araujo P (2014) Multi-criteria optimization applied to tankers preliminary design. In: Maritime Technology and Engineering. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 309–314.
  45. 45.
    American Society of Civil Engineers (2006) ASCE STANDARD ASCEISEI 7-05 minimum design loads for buildings and other structuresGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    American Institute of Steel Construction (2010) ANSI/AISC 360-10: specification for structural steel buildings, specification for structural steel buildingsGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Australian Standard (2011) AS1170-2011: structural design actionsGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Australian Standard (1998) AS 4100-1998: steel structures designsGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    CICIND (Organization) (1999) Model code for steel chimneys, CICINDGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering and Mathematical SciencesUniversità Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly

Personalised recommendations