Updated: Dec 5, 2022
What is FEA? Finite Element Analysis is a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) method that can be used to validate ideas and assist in the design process. It helps conveyor belt manufacturers like ourselves with our deep design works. This has become more and more crucial to the work that we do here on conveyor systems and as such Central Conveyors Ltd has invested in software for undertaking such simulations.
Using FEA as an advisory measure can greatly improve designs, by accurately predicting the behaviors of components and machines in use. FEA can be far more time effective than traditional hand calculations. While it is always good practice to check FEA results against hand calculations. There are times when time constraints or overall complexity make them impractical, and FEA and computer-simulated results are a must.
Simulated parts are effectively broken down into many thousands of points or “nodes”. It is at these points the computer will calculate forces based on the defined criteria. This means that in the time it may take a person to do a single calculation, the computer will do several thousand.
Using Finite Element Analysis at its most basic level (static study) can be used to quickly calculate the stresses put upon a structure by its weight. Most commonly in bespoke engineering, this is the stress due to a product on the machine. But it can also include the weight of the machine for heavy-duty construction.
Shown below is a Heavy-Duty Conveyor with a simulated load from a 200kg product.
One of the most valuable features of FEA (and CAD in general) is the ability to tweak designs. This can provide valuable information when it comes to optimizing structures.
The following image shows that by only changing the angle of the supporting members to a more optimal position, the strength of the system can be improved with negligible change in material.
To pick a more drastic example of design optimization, quickly changing what size of structural members (or even material type) can lead to savings in weight without harming the machine's structural integrity.
We at CCL provide these services as a part of projects where it is appropriate.
If you have any need for Conveyors or other Automation Machinery please get in contact with our sales team at 01509 816064 or email firstname.lastname@example.org