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" Open Structure Mobility Concept (2016) "

The 'Open structure Mobility Concept', a micro electric mobility that can be customized through 3D printing and be expandable by platform sharing, offers possibilities opened to the individual users, businesses and society.

Q1. What’s the meaning of Open Structure Mobility Concept?

[ A : Jeongche Yoon, Design manager at KLIO ]

“An open structure” literally means an open structure. It means a flexible architecture which allows applications such as expansion or reduction. In a broader sense, it is “open possibilities” than merely a structure with flexible material.

In a broader perspective, “Mobility” can mean all the means of transportation associated with the system in a social or urban environment, and in a narrower sense, it can also mean those with specific purposes by adding some words to it like “Micro mobility,” “Smart mobility,” “Electric mobility,” or “Autonomous mobility.”

Open Structure Mobility Concept is a combination of the two meanings above. In other words, it means “the mobility concept with possibilities of application."

Q2. Could you explain the meaning of “possibilities of application” more specifically?


[ A : Jeongche Yoon, Design manager at KLIO ]

The purpose and scope of the "application" we think can be explained in terms of environmentally friendly and socially friendly perspectives. We think environmentally friendly vehicles shouldn’t only mean vehicles with zero emissions, but vehicles minimizing the waste and destruction of environment throughout the whole product life cycle. In order to avoid making the error of scrapping existing products by promoting a new consumption with partially changing the form and function of them, we need modularization. Modularization can minimize the waste by partially changing the function or form of a product.

In the same context, "social-friendly" shouldn’t only mean consideration of the transportation vulnerable (the elderly, the handicapped, etc.), but also mutual and sustainable progress of everyone involved in the development, manufacturing and sales of the product.

To sum up, "applicability" means improving some parts of a product with minimized waste, seeking diversification of purpose rather than promoting the consumption and making them all sustainable.  

Standardized E-mobility platform which can be applied to various purposes (KLIO DESIGN)

Q3. What was the purpose of this project?

[ A : Jeongche Yoon, Design manager at KLIO ]

Since the invention of it, with constant innovation of technology, the automobile hasn’t only become a fast and convenient means of transportation essential to our lives, but also become a luxurious goods which shows one’s social status and personality. At the same time, the environment destroyed by car emissions and market imbalance caused by the technological and capital gap have emerged as a major challenge.


Automobiles will be more intelligent and luxurious with advanced technologies such as smart cars and autonomous driving. They will also be shared-use (through services such as public transport or vehicle sharing, etc.) for efficient mobility within a vast social system, rather than be privately owned.

Also, by the future users who no longer regard cars as luxurious goods, for expanding choices in more than half of the world with under-developed automobile manufacturing technology, and for autonomous mobility services such as unmanned delivery or information collection, the user needs for L6(e) and L7(e) segments (the legal categories of vehicles lighter than cars and heavier than bikes) will grow and the mobility market will be more segmented.


This means of transportation should be created in a different way from the existing design/engineering/manufacturing/sales methods which have been a way to maximize profits by stimulating the consumption. They must be environmentally friendly as well as socially friendly. This project was carried out through cooperation between domestic SMEs and universities, and its aim was to research and present a vision on how a micro electric mobility with characteristics of a public goods can be a sustainable product in the future market which demands sharing economy and manufacturing innovation.

For the advanced design study of open structure platform,

this miniature model of 1-seater micro EV was 3D-printed in 2014. (KLIO DESIGN)

Optimized lightweight body frame concept (KLIO DESIGN)

Q4. The first thing that catches our eyes is its organic frame design. How was it designed?

[ A : Junghwan Kwak from KLIO ]

First, we roughly built the basic structure. After that, we used Inspire, a program from Altair, to transform it into a topology-optimized shape which only leaves the minimum mass needed to sustain the load. This shape resembles the bones of an animal, and we refined it to make the final model by carving and adding some mass based on the bone-like shape.

The process of leaving the minimum mass needed to sustain the load by topology optimization of base frame

(Junghwan Kwak from KLIO (left), Researcher Aaron Park from PMRC (right))

​Q5. What is “Topology Optimization?”

[ A : Researcher Aaron Park from PMRC ]

Topology Optimization is one of the structural optimum design methods and is commonly used to lighten the structure. In general, the process of it is as follows. First, the design domain is discretized using finite elements method and finite element analysis is performed. Then remove the less dense elements using SIMP(Solid Isotropic Material with Penalization). Assume that the density of the material is 1 at this phase. Then, the density of each element is represented by the relative density (from 0 to 1) of the material through analysis and the element with a relative density of 0 is removed.

After that, update the remaining elements and iterate the previous steps. At this time, the morphogenesis form-generation method is used in updating the elements. Morphogenesis, a combination of the Greek words morphê and genesis, is a mathematical method of generating structural patterns inspired by the various forms of life. The iterative operation is performed until the relative density of all remaining elements is 1. In other words, it is the determination of optimal material distribution.


Design case of Generico Chair by Marco Hemmerling utilizing topology optimization : determination of optimal material distribution through iterative operation ​(source : google)

Q6. How was topology optimization applied to this concept? 

[ A : Researcher Aaron Park from PMRC ]

The boundaries between the design and engineering industries are now collapsing. The design of the new bodywork must be properly integrated with the design intent of both the designer and the engineer. However, designing the initial shape of a structure requires creative thinking and many trials and errors. This project used topology optimization, one of the structural optimization design methods, to solve these problems and to provide designers and engineers with guidelines for designing the initial shape of the structure.


In this project, topology optimization was performed to find design variables (density of finite element) satisfying the objective function (minimum mass) by considering the constraint (safety factor) within the design domain. Based on it, we created the shape of the optimized (mass-minimized) structure where the external force (load on the body in the driving situation) acts, and presented guidelines for initial shape design. At this time, the external force applied to the design area of this concept was calculated considering the static situation, running at a constant velocity, going over speed bumps, accelerating or braking, and even extreme situations like rollover. We then performed topology optimization for each driving situation and united the results. By simplifying and analyzing this shape, we have created guidelines for designing the initial shape of this concept.

The guidelines for designing the initial shape of this concept was created through topology optimization. (Researcher Aaron Park from PMRC)

Actualizing the idea by refining the shape (sketching) based on the guideline(data) (KLIO DESIGN)

Body frame design concept of 'Open Structure Mobility Concept' for personal use (KLIO DESIGN)

Open Structure Mobility Concept Movie

Q7. For what purpose and how was the model made?

[ A : Jeongche Yoon, Design manager at KLIO ]

This concept has upper and lower bodies divided. The upper body can be diversified according to the purpose. For example, it can be diversified according to the number of passengers, such as 1-seater, 2-seater and 3-seater, and it can also be diversified according to the purpose such as personal, public and commercial uses. The upper body can also further subdivide its usability with custom parts.

[ Under Body ]

[ Upper Body ]

[ Custom Part ]

Concept diagram of 1-seater utilization of Open Structure Mobility (KLIO DESIGN)

The underbody, on the contrary, has a standardized structure which can combine various upperbodies. Also, the powertrain integrated to the underbody is composed of a simple EV system. Its components are minimized for the ease of upgrade of performance and range as required, and are controlled by an integrated inverter/converter control unit.

Underbody design concept (KLIO DESIGN)

Making of electric drive system and underbody ​(Almecs Co., Ltd., ARK Automotive Ltd.)

Both the scale and actual size model were 3D-printed. The scale model was made of nylon powder material with exceptional strength, abrasion resistance and chemical resistance by using a SLS (Selective Lasers Sintering) equipment. It will also be useful for actually building an irregular-shaped lightweight structure frame via topology optimization.


The actual size model was made of plastic powder material (PMMA). The 3D printing equipment used to make this model has the highest level of printing speed and resolution, material loss rate close to zero, and is mainly used for casting. It can quickly make a shape that cannot be made by conventional CNC method, which is suitable for design reviews, therefore, it is expected to be widely used in design field in the future.​

Due to concerns about damage resulting from the material properties, the body wasn’t colored and test drive wasn’t conducted with the upper body assembled. The initial prototype was completed by assembling the upper body and the underbody which had gone through the test drive.

During editing the mesh data for 3D printing with 3-matic software of Materialise ​(Junghwan Kwak from KLIO)

The scale model 3D-printed with nylon material by EOS 3D printer ​(DigitalHands)

Actual size parts 3D-printed with plastic powder (DP-TECH)

Completing the entire vehicle by assembling the fabricated parts (ARK Automotive Ltd.)

Making video of the initial prototype of Open Structure Mobility Concept

The initial prototype, which was completed in collaboration with various fields, was exhibited at '2016 Seoul Smart Mobility International Conference/Exhibition' held at DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza) in September 2016 and at '2016 Design Week Daegu' held by Daegu Gyeongbuk Design Center in November 2016.

Q8. For what purpose was 3D printing used in the conventional car design process?

[ A : Seungdae Baek, CEO of DP-TECH ]

There are two types of models in automotive industry: emotional models created by human hands and artificial models created by machines. It takes an incredible amount of time to create an emotional model, but designers get a lot of inspiration when they watch the shapes and touch the  materials. The modeling process itself is a design process. On the other hand, when designers need to check their ideas quickly, it is much more efficient to create artificial models. Even if you put emotions in the model later, 3D printing is very suitable when you need to verify your idea through quick fabrication.

Q9. What effect do you think can the advance of 3D printing technology give to the manufacturing method and design of automobiles? 

(Junghwan Kwak from KLIO)

RP (Rapid Prototyping) concept has been used in automotive industry for a long time, and 3D printing has been widely applied for cost and time saving in the development phase of prototypes. Recently, the application range of parts that can be produced only by 3D printing is expanding to explore a new form for concept or production cars. When 3D printing technology develops more, perhaps it will be possible to combine two or more materials to compose a single part with gradually changing material, to manufacture customized components tailored to each consumer, or to make very tiny holes or layers of air with specific functions. I also expect that the design constraints of the past resulting from manufacturing method or the cost will disappear, and that a wide variety of design expressions will be possible. However, I don’t think that the availability of 3D printing will lead the design trends to suddenly become organic and complicated. What the users want is more important.

[ A : Seungdae Baek, CEO of DP-TECH ]

The spread of 3D printing will change the paradigm of manufacturing industry in a short time. 90% of Korea's manufacturing industry still uses the existing machining method, however, about 20% of global manufacturing companies are moving to 3D printing method. We believe that innovations will be possible when we establish the 3D printer manufacturing technology advanced enough to satisfy perceived quality and achieve the localization of materials.

Q10. What do you think are the future challenges of this project?

[ A : Researcher Aaron Park from PMRC ]

Because the body presented as a result of this study considered only a simple load condition, it is necessary to redesign the body of the vehicle based on fatigue analysis, dynamic analysis and collision stability review. By further collaboration, we will be able to provide the guidelines for an aesthetically pleasing and unique body shaping, engineers will be able to obtain design ability and designers will obtain engineering ability.

[ A : Jeongche Yoon, Design manager at KLIO ]

This project is an initial concept to study the possibilities of manufacturing micro EVs. We still need to do a lot of research on the overall process of design, cost, time, teaming, and collaboration. We have already identified many key issues in our early prototype, and there are a number of issues that we couldn’t deeply study due to the circumstances.

In the short term, it will be necessary to check whether the 3D printing method can approach the standard of a more refined product via further prototyping, and in the long term, it will be necessary to continuously improve the design and engineering, and to review the driving stability and productivity to make a more realistic product. We need the best advices from experts in each field to enter the market with innovative products and services which can meet the needs of small quantity production and sharing/customizing needs.

[collaborating consortium]
• Lightweight frame structure research and topology optimization : PMRC (Hongik Univ. Personal Mobility Research Center)
• Industrial Design : KLIO design
• Package layout, underbody frame design : GAUS

• 3 matics software education : Materialise
• 3D printing of scale model (SLS, Nylon) : DigitalHands
• Development of electronic units, powertrains and interworking : ALMECS
• Fabrication of hard model : DTC
• 1:1 actual size 3D printing (Binder Jetting, PMMA) : DP TECH
• Fabrication of underbody and final assembly : ARK automotive


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