WHEN DO YOU NEED A FEM ANALYSIS??
The advent of the FEM Analysis allowed the designers to quickly explore an unthinkably vast range of technical solutions for a single system, cutting costs and times due to prototyping. And yet industrial products of all kinds have been successfully developed even without this tool, and today many see FEM analysis as a superfluous support for conventional design.
Well, if you think so, Phi Drive blog has the goal of making you change your mind.
The possibility to study the behavior of a system before its construction, and perhaps to compare the performances of different designs, gave the development teams (armed with FEM calculation tools) an undoubted advantage on the competitors. The number of prototypes needed to obtain a product that can be successfully presented to the market is drastically reduced, as well as the relative processing costs, supplier waiting times, hours dedicated to drawings, experimental checks, the drafting of reports, and eventually all the workload of classical development methodologies.
But it would be a mistake to think that an advanced tool like FEM is the prerogative of businesses with high technological content.
The practical applications of FEM are innumerable in many industrial fields. Even the most established companies can benefit from integrating FEM into their product development cycle. But those who do not know the potential of this tool can hardly imagine its immediate benefits. So we want to present a roundup of generic applications to stimulate your curiosity.
Structural FEM: when lighter it means sturdier.
When an object has a complicated form, applying the classic analytical formulas to calculate the distribution of stresses and strains is simply impossible. The only way to discover criticalities is to build the piece and use it until it breaks. The only way to avoid it is to redesign it by adding mass, changing the material, or revolutionizing the design. All this costs so much time and money that sometimes technicians have to resign themselves to the idea of designing a system with very limited operational life, and plan maintenance accordingly... or prepare to receive countless complaints. But with the FEM we can look inside objects, understand where they are most stressed and correct them locally in the most efficient way. And above all we can understand where the superfluous material is and remove it. In one step we can obtain a more solid, reliable and light mechanical component.
Computational Fluid Dynamic: FEM for fluids.
No one can doubt that to get reliable information on the behavior of a fluid the safest solution is to experiment. Visual methods such as the use of powders and varnishes, or measurements by means of pressure probes and anemometers will always be more reliable than any FEM calculation.
When they can be used, of course.
What can we do when the probe is too large for the current and alters the physical quantities we want to measure? What happens in closed systems, where the eye cannot see? The only possibility we have left is to use FEM. If we want to understand where vortices, separations, and in general the pressure and velocity losses occur and look inside the fluid itself, point by point, then this is the best (if not the only) instrument available.
Thermal FEM: when temperatures alter the mechanics.
In many cases the mechanical interactions between moving components are affected by their thermal expansion. What is worse is that if the system is complex and closed, understanding what is happening inside it is practically impossible. The development of heat sources and transfer can alter backlash and interference of the original design, but FEM can tell us how this is happening and how to correct geometric tolerances accordingly. If your mechanism tends to seize or lose performance when used for a long time, the thermal FEM can tell you why.
Dynamic FEM: if vibrations become a problem.
Especially in the world of mechanics, vibrations can be much more than just noise. They can affect the quality of machining, the lifetime of a structural component, the comfort of the operator and in general undermine the efficiency of a mechanism: vibrations are after all wasted energy. FEM, through modal analysis, FRF, energetic and dynamic analysis, can help us to understand the onset of these phenomena, and consequently how to break them down.
These are just the most immediate and intuitive applications of the FEM analysis, but they can make you understand how this tool can be applied successfully to virtually any type of product, extending its operational life and increasing its performance and efficiency.
Continue to follow the Phi Drive blog to find out how the FEM can help your company grow, and if you still have doubts do not hesitate to ask their technicians and analysts.