FEA can be useful at any time in the product development process...
It helps you make timely decisions.
When should I use FEA?
FEA has traditionally been done as the last step in the design process, just before committing to manufacturing.
Now-a-days FEA is easier and uses your 3D design models. So the earlier you do FEA, the cheaper it is to catch design faults.
Which end to the story will you choose?
Consider when you can use FEA in your design process...
- Early: Feasibility - to check out if a product is strong enough.
- Middle: Optimisation - to take weight/cost out of the design.
- Late: Validation - to check if your product is all OK before it gets built and fails - potentially killing someone.
For existing products...
- Too Late: Forensic - to find out why something has broken after being in service and operational for a while.