Planning for Finite Element Analysis – Part II of IV

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GATHERING PERTINENT DATA

Based on the industry, each customer has stringent requirements that are to be met by either the design, or the Finite Element Analysis results, or both. For example, a customer A can have a requirement that states that the factor of safety of the design should be at least 2, and that the maximum deflection on the design should not exceed 0.10 inches upon full-load application. Customer B might require the design to be within a certain dimensional volume based on overall length, width and height, while satisfying a stress criterion of less than 60,000 psi.

It is thus imperative that all conditions laid out by the customer are gathered in order to come up with a complete solution to the problem. These include the correct geometry, relevant material information, accurate load and restraint conditions, any contact conditions, details on deliverable deadlines and review dates, and format of results to be presented.

Since FEA relies heavily on accurate model setup, each extra specification contributed by the customer to the analysis will help in reduction of errors, and removal of simulation unknowns. This will also keep the analyst from having to guess the correct constraints and loads on the model. Spending sufficient time during initial investigation is bound to lay the groundwork for accurate model setup and consistent results.

Often, there are situations where stipulations set by the customer can be conflicting with either theoretical observations, or preliminary solutions (For instance, models built for manufacturing may have too much detail in them, which can be simplified during analysis). In such scenarios, it might be worthwhile in communicating with the customer. This might help re-align the analysis objectives, or even relinquish certain specifications.

(…To Be Continued)