The design of functional products is a job that goes beyond the aesthetic part. In fact, an attractive design is of little use if at the time of manufacture the final product is unusable. This is mainly reflected in the final resistance of the product, a direct consequence of the wrong choice of materials, configurations or parts, among other factors.
It is normal to see on the web and in social networks spectacular designs a great variety of products that never see the light of day because at the time of manufacturing them they are inefficient and represent a loss at a commercial level. This is something that can be avoided if the phases of product design for manufacturing are taken into account from the beginning.
In well-executed product design, concept generation is responsible for offering variants of a product whose main objective is to solve the needs of a client or project. But once the appropriate concept has been selected, it is necessary to optimize it so that it meets the mechanical requirements necessary to make it resistant and durable. This is achieved thanks to the analysis of the parts or parts to be manufactured and installed.
In this post, we are going to teach you about finite element analysis. An engineering technique that is used to test designs in 3d before manufacturing them and thus check their feasibility under load or service conditions. Let’s first define what finite element analysis is:
At an engineering level, all existing structures and products in the world are subjected to forces that interact with them. A load, the weight of a body, the impact force of the wind, vibrations, everything influences a product. These forces affect the general resistance of any element, partially or permanently deform them and, in case of excessive force, destroy the product. This of course is undesirable for a manufacturing process and represents material losses that are not worth it.
Finite element analysis is the ideal technique to avoid these unwanted errors. It is a set of steps executed on a virtual model that allows it to be subjected to the equivalent loads to which the product will be subjected in reality. This allows analyzing the response of the model to the loads posed without the need to build a concept to destroy it.
It is important to clarify that finite element analysis refers to the applied steps, but that it is the finite element method itself that is responsible for applying these steps in the analyzed 3D model. This is usually done through 3D engineering modeling programs that allow the generation of exact representations of the parts to be analyzed, with their respective assigned materials and their physical and mechanical properties. To understand this better, let’s talk about the finite element method:
The finite element method is a numerical method of great importance in engineering. This method is used to solve highly complex mathematical and physical problems that would be very complex and tedious to solve manually. This is largely due to the shapes of the parts in which the loads are applied and distributed. It is extremely complicated to calculate the effects of a force on a slender element and to do so this method offers an adequate solution.
The finite element method works like this: It takes an element or piece with a defined volume and subdivides or parts it into a finite amount of smaller parts. This is done with the aim of individually studying the action of the forces applied to each part separately, to later unite the results and calculate the total value. This task is executed in an automated way by means of engineering modeling programs in which it is not necessary to make the individual calculation on each fragment or element of the generated mesh.
Of course, in this post we explain the finite element method in a simplified and general way. In reality, the series of calculations applied by FEA analysis programs are complex and require a thorough study of mathematics and mechanical engineering to understand all the variables that are involved in carrying out this method.
The finite element method is executed identically regardless of the 3d model to be studied. This with the objective of offering a series of consistent steps that allow obtaining objective and precise results after the analysis. Below, we briefly present the main stages of the finite element method:
– Definition of the problem and its domain.
– Identification of state variables.
– Problem formulation.
– Mesh generation.
– Application of loads.
– Border or border conditions.
Each phase or stage has its own phases and allow a detailed analysis of each part of the element to be manufactured. The results obtained from the finite element method allow us to determine the maximum load that the element supports and combined with a dynamic simulation we can calculate its useful life and therefore make decisions regarding the design, materials used, manufacturing feasibility and others.
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