FENET was a four-year project initiated in 2001 to provide a vehicle for informed users of FEA technology in Europe to network together on a regular basis. Its broad objective was to improve the competitiveness of European industry through better use of finite element and related technologies. It aimed to do this by:
- Disseminating a better understanding of the current state of the art
- Promoting current best practice
- Identifying improvements needed to the state of the art in relevant areas.
Funding was obtained from the European Commission to operate it as a Thematic Network, which enabled members to meet together on a regular basis and to focus on identified deliverables.
At the core of its modus operandi was an annual industry-driven meeting supplemented by a number of technology-focused workshops. The Annual Industry Meeting reviewed the state of practice in 8 industry sectors, with emphasis on a defined theme, and attempted to “roadmap” key industry technology issues. These issues are documented in a series of Annual Industry Reports .
Technology Workshops then addressed the key technical and dissemination issues identified on the road map with the aim of producing deliverables of lasting value.
The Industry Reports evolved over the four years as a result of debate and discussion and now represent an authoritative collective statement about the FEA related issues confronting each industry sector.
The FE technology used in various industrial sectors was examined from the perspective of both the State of Practice and the State of the Art. Here, the State of Practice refers to the degree of uptake of a technology by industry - it is in effect a reflection of the maturity of the industrial usage. State of the Art refers to the degree to which a technology has been developed to meet a perceived need.
Three measure were used to qualify the situation in the various industry sectors: Technology Readiness Level (TRL) quantifies the availability of the required technology (0 not available ,9 fully developed), Maturity level (ML) quantifies the extent to which the technology has been adopted (0 not adopted, 9 fully utilised) and Priority Level quantifies the importance of the technology to the industry sector (0 not needed, 9 business critical) The reports also considered such issues as Areas for Research, Business Drivers and the Barriers to further uptake of the technology.
The consortium consisted of over 120 organisations over four years. The project also undertook the largest ever independent international survey on the use of Finite Element technology, with over 1300 responses.