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How Finite Element Analysis Can Help with Product Development

An engineer performing a simulation

When it comes to developing new products, it’s important to get off on the right foot. Companies that don’t carefully consider their product designs during the development phase often run into a variety of issues down the road. These problems typically hurt both design costs and time to market, which is why companies must use the right tools during the initial stages of product development. One such tool is Finite Element Analysis.

What Is Finite Element Analysis?

Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is a key tool that can help companies develop better products faster. Using FEA, engineers can virtually test various aspects of a design and compare different design scenarios to determine which options are best. It enables them to optimize designs early in the process, which helps avoid costly redesigns once the development phase is complete.

Today, Finite Element Analysis is used for product development and architecture across many industries and fields, including the aerospace and automotive industries. Through  FEA, engineers can predict how their designs will perform in the real world by simulating real-world conditions on the computer. The process uses complex algorithms to approximate the behavior of a physical system across a range of inputs.

Here are some ways Finite Element Analysis can help with product development.

Aerospace industry

Design Optimization

One of the biggest advantages of using FEA is that it provides engineers with information they can use to optimize their designs. This information may include load distribution throughout the design, areas that are likely to fail or other characteristics that need to be considered during the design phase. With this insight, engineers can modify their designs before moving forward to improve performance and reduce costs.

Virtual Testing

Engineers use Finite Element Analysis software to help them make design decisions in the very early stages of product development. The software allows engineers to create virtual prototypes of mechanical designs that can be analyzed without the need for expensive physical prototypes or lengthy testing periods.

With hundreds of material types and loads available in the software, FEA can be used to simulate virtually any design scenario. Using FEA, designers can predict a product’s real-world performance before manufacturing. Finite Element Analysis reveals whether a product will break, wear out or work the way it was designed.

This allows engineers to analyze design concepts earlier in the development cycle, identify potential problems, fix those problems early, and shorten development time.

Reduce Development Cost

By virtually testing your products using FEA software, you can reduce the number of physical prototypes that need to be built. This can help you save a lot of money in terms of material costs and manufacturing costs.

Finite Element Analysis

Improve Performance

You can use FEA software for performing various types of analyses on your products, such as stress analysis and vibration analysis. This will help you identify potential problems in your design and then fix those problems before actually building any prototypes.

Applications of FEA

Structural Design

The main goal of structural design is to ensure that the design will remain safe during use. FEA is used for predicting product behavior under given load conditions. Engineers can readily modify the product design to meet the required strength and stiffness requirements using FEA.

Thermal Analysis

Thermal analysis helps determine the thermal stress distribution in any solid body due to temperature gradients. Engineering designs may have different thermo-mechanical properties that can cause warping, deformation or dimensional variation during operation. Hence thermal analysis allows engineers to identify errors and make necessary changes to prevent such problems at a later stage of design.

Industries that use FEA

Automotive Industry

FEA has been used extensively in the automotive industry for crash simulation and noise vibration, fatigue and durability analysis.

For car manufacturers, safety is a top priority. As a result, car makers perform rigorous simulations using FEA to make sure their designs meet regulatory requirements. Engineers simulate crash tests and other types of impact on vehicle components to understand how they will respond to real-world conditions. Using FEA, engineers can build safer cars that pass regulations without having to spend money on expensive physical testing.

Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry faces some of the most extreme conditions a product can endure. Engineers must be certain that their designs will hold up under these conditions to ensure passenger safety. In addition, weight-saving is important in aircraft because it can significantly reduce fuel consumption and operating costs. To achieve this, engineers use FEA to optimize their designs so they are as light as possible while maintaining strength and durability.

The applications of FEA in the aerospace industry include aerodynamic design and fluid-structure interaction. FEA can be used to predict the aerodynamic characteristics of aircraft wings and fuselages. The effects of aerodynamic loading on the structural behavior of an aircraft can also be evaluated using FEA.

Biomedical Engineering

The applications of FEA in biomedical engineering include bone modeling, implant modeling, dental modeling and prosthesis modeling. FE models help engineers understand how bones respond to various loads during normal activity or injury, which helps them design safer automotive structures.

A simulation being performed

Get Finite Element Analysis services

As a business owner, bringing your products to market can be an expensive process. This is where FEA services can help. At Connekt, LLC, we help fast-track your product development process.

We help you save time and money by identifying problems earlier in the design process. We also reduce physical prototypes by eliminating unnecessary testing. Through our FEA services, you can better predict the behavior of a product, component or system when subjected to certain physical forces. We provide affordable FEA consulting in Northern California including Auburn and Grass Valley. Our comprehensive portfolio of services includes electro-mechanical packaging design, rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and plastic injection molding.

Contact us today.

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