Back in the 1950s, engineers developed a new way to solve the complex mathematical equations that go into designing tools and machines. The finite element method (FEM) that they created breaks down highly complicated math problems into several smaller problems or “finite elements.” Solving those smaller problems can provide a practical solution for the engineering task at hand.
As the speed and computational capacity of computers accelerated, an additional process called finite element analysis (FEA) developed. This computer-assisted modeling process uses the mathematical principles of FEM to create FEA simulations that can predict how a tool, machine, or materials will react under various real-world, physical conditions.
Like FEM, FEA breaks the item being analyzed down into smaller sections in a type of mesh structure where engineers can analyze each section under different simulated conditions to give a picture of how the item as a whole would react.
At Wedin, we use FEA simulation in its manufacturing operations to assess how our ball screw assembly, reversing screws and housings, gears, and splines will react in the conditions they’ll encounter during regular use. This process yields a three-dimensional simulation that adjusts as the conditions applied to it change. This takes a lot of computing power, as the process requires multiple calculations about how each section of the “mesh” reacts next to each section that borders it.
With the correct programming, FEA simulation provides highly accurate results, informing the engineering and design process for the products we manufacture. It also saves money in the long run, reducing or eliminating the need for multiple prototypes. FEA simulation speeds up the production process and creates far less waste in both materials and time than the traditional development process.
Contact Wedin to learn more about how we use FEA simulation in product design for ball screws, gears, splines, and more.