Is FEA (Finite Element Analysis) worth it?

Recently we helped one of our customers, Sten Ekholm of EkoDesign, to resolve some problems with a hospital bed frame they were getting manufactured in China.

The bed is raised and lowered by a linear actuator and Sten wanted to simplify the frame for manufacturing purposes. The first concept that we tested using FEA (Finite Element Analysis) failed near some welds (see image), so we discussed ways to solve this, then tested a few new concepts again using FEA. This was pretty simple, quick to complete, and it saved Sten several prototypes and trips to China!

Using FEA earlier in the design process can help knock out bad ideas before you spend another minute on them. Traditionally, FEA was left until late - that's because it was expensive and took a long time. But like most things FEA has been getting faster and cheaper. Now, you should do FEA earlier, to help you make decisions, before the design gets too detailed and costs more to change.

It's worth remembering the rule of adding zeros...it may cost $100 to change it before the prototype phase, a $1,000 after prototype, $10,000 in the tooling phase, and $100,000 after it is in full production. Your numbers will be different, but the principal will still be the same, design changes cost more the further you go through the product development process.

Are you totally sure about how the products you are designing now will perform?

Contact us and we will tell you if you are wasting your time or money.

We can use FEA to check any single part of your product from $900 + GST. Click here for more info.

Click here to read about other ways FEA can save money and reduce risk for your products.

The Bottom Line: FEA can be an investment in making smarter design decisions.

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