What is Finite Element Analysis (FEA), why do we use it and, what are the benefits for product and medical device development?
Chartered Design Engineer, Jack, discusses how FEA can support the New Product & Medical Device Development Process…
What is FEA and why use it?
When designing a new product or medical device, having the ability to make prototypes means issues can be identified early in the process. However, not all projects have this luxury so must be right first time – a challenge we’re used to seeing!
What are the benefits of using FEA services and simulation software?
By using FEA throughout the process, it is possible to greatly reduce development times. Creating 2D and 3D models and quickly running load case scenarios ensures components are correctly selected/sized and the overall design meets the product specification – before anything needs to be physically manufactured. This saves time and money by eliminating numerous loops of prototyping and testing. One key advantage of using HD for your FE Analysis is that we interpret results to provide practical design advice and guidance to overcome issues identified in the process.
We’ve optimised many designs and used simulation to:
Using FEA can be hugely beneficial to a project as it will typically reduce costs, save time and improve product performance. Further FEA advantages are lower environmental impact by using reduced material usage for optimised rigidity / flexibility / weight. Effective use of FEA throughout the process will ultimately ensure your design is fit for purpose.
Here’s a quick explanation of the different types of analysis that can be utilised:
Linear & Non-Linear FEA:
Materials can either be linear elastic (where the relationship between stress and strain in the material is linear – for example aluminium or steel), or non-linear elastic (where the relationship between stress and strain in the material is non-linear – such as in polymers). Linear elastic materials are typically linear up to a point, and then start displaying non-linear elastic behaviour beyond it.
Linear FEA is carried out when a part is made from a linear elastic material, and there is not excessive deformation caused by the forces being applied to the part. Where the material is non-linear elastic or the forces being applied can cause large displacements, a non-linear FEA must be performed instead.
Our advanced Non-Linear FEA software ensures plastics can be thoroughly analysed, allowing designs to be finely tuned and verified for high volume manufacture and ultimate performance. With plastic waste currently a hot topic, Haughton Design can analyse designs and then provide advice or redesign the product to reduce weight and material volume to lower environmental impact and material usage. Where material properties are available, we can test sustainable alternatives too.
If you need any advice or guidance on the effective use of FEA to speed up your product or medical device development process, please get in touch and we will be glad to help.