Using the Finite Element Method to develop Single Purpose Calculations
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NAFEMS Conference 2005
The finite element method is a very powerful approach to solve and analyse complex field problems. On the other hand, a specific computer equipment in combination with specialised personnel is required. FE-software is already widely distributed and used in large companies with own R&D or calculation departments. In small to medium sized enterprises the FE-method is hardly applied because of the high costs in combination with possibly low utilisation, of course, the latter being not true for branches like the aerospace or the automotive industry.
A specific aspect can be retrieved from many industrial applications, where similar field problems only with different parameters have to be solved on a daily basis. In such cases it may be very economic to use simplified, but highly specialised, tailor-made calculation models which can be implemented in a standard office software.
In this paper an approach is presented, in which a research or calculation department elaborates the finite element calculation including comprehensive parameter studies and the lay out engineer in the application obtains the results in a form he can use in his daily work. The advantage of this approach is, that the application engineers need FE calculations only at the beginning, though very intensively and comprehensively, and hence, engineering costs are minimised because of the selective use of an expensive FE environment.
The outlined procedure is very useful for co-operations between competence centres or universities and small to medium sized enterprises with no FE experience, no FE software and no research or calculation departments.