FEM (Finite Element Method)

CE Masters is a mechanical engineering firm specializing in product development. An important step in any development is verifying if the design meets the requirements (eg construction must not yield to a load of 10,000 N). Another important step is the optimization so that a design best satisfies conflicting requirements (eg product weight needs to be as low as possible and the product needs to be as rigid as possible). CE Masters can provide FEM analysis early in the process in order to verify and optimize the design.

What is FEM? 
FEM (Finite Element Method), also known as FEA (Finite Element Analysis) is a method in which a complex geometry is translated into simple, interrelated, elements. By applying the constraints and loads the real situation is simulated. In FEM software the design is calculated after which it becomes clear how every element behaves. This way one can judge the construction as a whole. It also becomes clear which regions in the design are most critical and how to optimize the structure.

FEM is a part of applied knowledge known as "Modeling & simulation". In order to simulate a situation properly and to interpret the results a lot of theoretical knowledge and experience is required. At CE Masters you are at the right place for FEM specialists. CE Masters can provide static and dynamic FEM analysis. Depending on the problem the best FEM method is chosen.

FEM or GEM? 
For most analysis CE Masters makes use of Pro/Mechanica of PTC. Originally this is not a FEM package but a GEM package (GEM stands for Geometric Element Method). In a traditional FEM package, the accuracy is achieved by applying more local (smaller) elements (this is called mesh refinement). In Pro/Mechanica, the accuracy is achieved by increasing the order of the elements (up to 9th order). Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. We do see both approaches appearing in modern packages. In Pro/Mechanica there are currently numerous possibilities for mesh refinement and the traditional FEM packages have more and more options for applying elements of a higher order.

Linear-static FEM analysis 
CE Masters can do static FEM analysis to verify the stiffness and strength of a product or to optimize the weight of a structure. Linear-static FEM analysis is not always enough.

Non-linear FEM analysis 
If the deformation behavior of the material is non-linear (eg plastics or composites), or if the deformations are relatively large, then CE Masters can provide non-linear FEM analysis.

Dynamic situations translate into static FEM analysis 
In dynamic situations, delays and accelerations of masses result in forces that vary over time. In many cases, the dynamic behavior of the structure can be determined by logical reasoning. Worst-case scenarios are simulated in FEM analysis with static load cases.

Dynamic FEM analysis, loads plotted in time 
If worst-case scenarios are not so easy to determine, then CE Masters can provide graphs for each part in which local deformations and local tensions are plotted over time. In this type of FEM analysis the stress peaks can be found. The construction can be modified in order to improve the surface pressures and wear properties. Often this kind of FEM analysis is the first step in a fatigue analysis.

Dynamic FEM analysis, dynamic simulations 
CE Masters can also determine the natural frequencies of a structure. This is important in some products, such as vehicles or machinery. Even shock-analysis are possible. In such simulations a momentum is applied for a brief time. Depending on the duration of the load and the natural frequencies the structure is brought into vibration, after which the vibration is dampened out.

Dynamic FEM analysis; fatigue analysis
In many products safety and reliability are very important. CE Masters can combine above mentioned FEM methods and combine them with a vast technical knowledge about constructions and materials, in order to analyze the fatigue. Again, the best approach is always determined based on the problem definition. The approach for a plastic product will certainly be different from the approach of a steel frame with nuts and bolts. For weld assemblies a lot of theoretical knowledge of materials is needed. All such knowledge is present at CE Masters.

FEM within CE Masters 
At CE Masters verification by FEM analysis is an integral part of the development process. This means that if you outsource design work to CE Masters, these activities (of course in consultation with you) are part of the standard service. This way you can be sure that the design meets all expectations.

Within CE Masters the so-called “Modeling & Simulation Team” is active. This is a group of enthusiasts that aim to achieve absolute mastery in the world of FEM and related methods.

This page is also available as a PDF. Would you like to know more about CE Masters, and how CE Masters applies FEM in its projects? You can request our extensive portfolio. For general information you can look at our services and projects.


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