While Finite Element Analysis (FEA) has the capability to solve complex engineering problems, I have discovered during my career that FEA training actually fails many engineers.
Often FEA courses don’t provide FEA logic and don’t show designers how to complete analysis from the beginning to end to solve real world engineering problems.
I experienced this firsthand in 2012, when I became a Certified Autodesk Instructor and started training engineers and designers in Autodesk Simulation. For my first class, I was given a thick training manual and felt quite relaxed and confident. I quickly discovered that a training manual was not completely adequate for the needs of modern designers.
While these textbooks provided detailed instructions on how to use FEA software, there was minimal guidance on how to apply it in design practice and assist with Finite Element Modelling (FEM).
I realised my first class was about to turn into a disaster. Designers in the class didn’t care about the theoretical and purely software information in the manual. They just wanted to know how to get their jobs done!
So I had a choice that day – to teach from the manual, or attempt a different approach. What I decided during that class formed the basis of the next phase of my career.
Instead of teaching from the manual, I prepared a finite element model. It was based on one of the models a designer had brought to me during the class. My completed FEA included step-by-step instructions on how to make it and interpret results, which I then used to help my students complete the training.
Over the years I have learned that the power of FEA applied earlier in the design stage can become a true game changer. I have since developed and delivered a range of FEA courses that help solve real world problems.
I believe it’s vital that designers and engineers are equipped with the processes and practical steps to create their own finite element models.
Courses should demonstrate FEA process logic when approaching a new design problem. They should also guide participants on how to apply FEA to their own situation.
Based on my skills and experience across a wide-range of engineering environments, my FEA course offers-
Clear FEA workflow that can be applied to any engineering problem
Comprehensive modules and easy-to-follow instructions
Practical exercises based on real world examples
A wide-range of professional tips and tricks learned over a lifetime
Eye Opening FEA Training – INSPIRATION
Nik ran FEA workshops with me to test his Easy Path to FEA training model. Before the training, mastering my FEA skills has always been challenging as it is not easy to find good FEA manuals or guidance – online materials are fragmented and don’t give a full picture.
Nik’s training gave me a clear practical FEA process – starting from preparation of CAD model through its refinement to finishing with reliable stress results.
Nik’s provides a holistic and hands-on approach to the simulation of reality from a stress perspective. The training shows how different aspects of the model – constraints and loads, contacts, mesh convergence, tricky stress concentrators and others – impact accuracy of the analysis.
It was eye opening to see design optimisation process through several analysis iterations. Nik’s training is suitable for both beginners and those who would like to advance their FEA skills.
I have trained over 100 engineers, individually and in different companies.
I cannot provide all testimonials here as my face-to-face training sessions were run through my full-time employment.
Customizing my face-to-face training to suit client needs, I worked out ways and techniques to analyse designs from various industries – mining, building, automotive and others.
I achieved success in “smuggling” best-practices from aerospace into other industries and learned how to translate complex engineering concepts into simple guidelines.
My desire is to share my experience with other engineers.
Use my knowledge and experience to break through and advance your FEA skills.
IMPROVING FEA MODELS
I took a part in the FEA Enabled Design program. Before the program I had experience with FEA packages, and I was able to do is simple course models and very default stress analysis.
I also had gone through some of the online tutorials. But using online FEA materials it became clear to me that there was a gap between what these tutorials were teaching and what I needed in terms of real-life analysis. Thus, by joining FEA Enabled Design program I wanted to extend my practical FEA skills.
During the program Nik used real models from my projects and showed me different FEA techniques, such as Autodesk Inventor Frame Generator to choose right sections for the frame, separation contacts, extracting weld bodies, merging solid models with the welding, creating shell and hybrid models. Shell and hybrid modeling techniques were new to me, and it was something I wouldn’t be able to learn without Nik. It was also interesting to learn how a stress picture can change depending on the precision of the FEA model.
As a working engineer, I can see great benefit in applying FEA in practice. It gives a fantastic possibility to work through the model, simple or complex, and achieve as real as possible results.
After completing my degree in Aerospace Engineering, I began working as a Stress Engineer for the Boeing Company in 2006. I was involved in the new airplane development program, analysing wing parts for the 787 Dreamliner and 747-8.
I was fortunate to be at the cutting edge of engineering technologies – composite materials, state-of-the-art manufacturing methods and of course advanced design methods and tools. The 787 Dreamliner was the first composite commercial airplane.
The design process went in parallel with stress analysis. Finite Element Modelling (FEM) played a key role in that process. There were many things to learn and interesting challenges to solve, which involved the use of CATIA, Nastran/Patran and Abacus.
After the roll out of the first Boeing 787, I received an offer from General Electric in 2008. The nature of my new work in GE was completely different – I was designing new locomotives and modifying old ones.
I had to analyse large design assemblies, which were weldments made of dozens of components. It was not possible to deliver results on time without using full software capabilities and automation, so I applied VBA programming and mastered APDL (ANSYS Parametric Design Language).
When I moved to Australia I found a strong application of my knowledge and skills in engineering software consultancy. I have been helping engineers and companies to adopt CAD & CAE software, develop and establish design workflows and data management, while providing regular training and support.
I’m incredibly passionate about assisting engineers and designers from all walks-of-life and helping them learn how to apply fundamental FEA principles.
The next steps in your FEA journey
- Would you like to learn practical FEA and start confidently using it in your everyday work?
- Are you looking for a highly accessible and practical FEA course where you can build finite element models from scratch?
- Do you want to learn a range of FEA tricks and time-saving tools for your own designs?
Please get in touch
I would love to hear more about your current design challenges and help you understand how FEA could benefit your work. Feel free to contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org