A free download of the NAFEMS Whitepaper, "The Role of Simulation in Product Development", is now available on the NAFEMS website.
FEA software comes in all price ranges, from free to almost prohibitive. It also comes in many forms ranging from embedded in and exclusive to a CAD system to open tools allowing nearly limitless interchange of geometry and mesh data between various CAD systems and FE interfaces and solvers.
A common misconception is that the lower the cost and the more CAD-friendly a tool is, the lower the impact it can have on the design process, warranting a less thoughtful attitude for model setup and results interpretation.
However, in most cases, the solver technology and the basic model building capabilities in the more "friendly" tools are the same or similar to the higher end tools. What makes a basic tool ‘basic’ is that the user is limited to a smaller subset of capabilities available in more complete tools. However, if a product’s performance can be simulated within that limited subset of tools, the results and subsequent impact on design decisions is equally meaningful.
This free whitepaper discusses the many factors that enter into the success of an analysis program, and examines the applicability of simulation at various stages In the design process.