Top 12 Common Mistakes by CAE/FEA Engineers

CAE/FEA Engineer common mistake while working with two types of companies one service provider and second Manufacture. I worked as an employee in a CAE service provider company and also worked with OEM. So I hope I will put some important points here that may help you in future projects. Let’s start.

1.) CAE/FEA Engineers mostly hurry in starting a project without deep know-how: If you working with a CAE service provider company then it might happen you will be going to have less time to study the project and the project managers & marketing people send a lot of emails to you regarding updates on the project, so you feel pressure and you started directly working on software without making any methodology presentation, this is how you start making mistakes before you accept any CAE project always ask for sufficient time to study the project first, Start studying with the use of the product, where this product going to use, where this product going to the assembly, Understand the all associated parts of assembly their role, kinematic, mechanism, etc.

Clearly understand the scope of work for the project, what type of analysis I need to perform and why, and what Inputs I need to ask from the client such as loads, Material properties, or any
question regarding parts in the assembly that may help you in deciding boundary conditions and type of contacts, and what output you will provide to the client such as details deformation, stress plots report, and Animation plots.

2) Estimating project hours time: FEA engineers sometimes make mistakes by projecting the total hours of time to complete the task due to wrong judgment of how much hours meshing will take, availability of team members, availability of software tokens, etc.

3) Deciding to do all tasks in-house: I will call this mistake a joint mistake of the CAE Manager, Team leads, and CAE Engineer. Whether you are working with OEM or a service provider it is always profitable to outsource some part of your project but we think to do all in-house to save money, The most time-consuming job in CAE is Meshing tasks, It is better to outsource meshing tasks to a good experience third party CAE service provider to save your valuable time so that you can completely focus on analysis, reports, and delivery of the project on time and finally you
get time to work on many other ongoing projects.

4) CAD files import: Newly become FEA Engineers mostly forget to set the proper unit system such as mm, N, Tonns in the software before hitting the import button which results in the wrong dimension in the import CAD files and finally ended with a blunder.

5) Assuming wrong boundary conditions: Newcomers FEA Engineer make this mistake, they always try to focus on just where to put fixed support (all 6 dof locked) but without understanding the real scenario, Support should always be applied in a location where it is supported in real life and also depending in which direction it's supported so that you can replicate same in constraint or in case if you are removing any part from assembly than you can also place constraint.

6) Unnecessarily making FE analysis more difficult: Is FEA easy? , no it is difficult if you are stuck, the best way is to look at your FEA model from a different aspect don't jump directly to highly nonlinear analysis, try a simple way such as first-order meshing, applying load gradually, adding more steps and perform first linear static analysis, check where the hot location in my model? is my FEA model converging or not, check the warning and error message, once your model seems ok then add more difficulties as per the project such as nonlinearity, etc.

7) FEA files delivery without deep check: FEA Engineer is overconfident that his submitted FEA files (containing bulk file, node, element, contact sets, material file, and Master file ) are perfect, the client just needs to press the run button and the result will come.This is not true in all cases without cross-checking re-check of files on your own and by yourcolleague, The quick check can be performed by CAE Engineer such as quality parameters, free nodes, connectivity, duplicates, material definition, properties, elements normals, contact sets,


8) Attitude problems or not asking for help from senior FEA analysts: If the problem arises from home then definitely the problem is resolved from home only. FEA engineers have to keep learning and grateful attitude toward others, especially those who help them solve their problems, your seniors are a great source for you to learn they are your best teacher to help you with the particular project so don't feel anything just ask for help in your project.

9) Resistance to moving to other CAE software: This is a common mistake by FEA engineers, they stick with particular software, this loss for both the service provider company and for FEA

The Service Company needs a candidate who can work on other software as per the needs of theclient so what matters most is time & quality of the work, if specific software is good but takes
more time in comparison to another one for some specific application then it better to use the better one, FEA engineer should understand that fact software not pay his salary, company pay, and company can seek your support in any software, For FEA engineer if you stuck with one software that means you are creating a boundary for you in the market for a new job search.

10) Never seen testing facilities and Manufacturing process: If you are working with OEM then you will easily get a chance to work with the testing department that is great learning for you to understand physical testing and software simulation but if you are working in an ac room with.

11) Wrong FEA Results interpretation: FEA Engineers have to check first whether FEA results are right or wrong such as performing basic hand calculation, Checking reaction force on the constraint, checking contact pressure or status, and Checking deformation according to the load path If the design and load path is symmetric then the deformation plot should be symmetric, etc.

If stress is very localized at one node, corner, or edge then interpretation results after ignoring localized stress also by using your engineering judgment, also look for compressive stress apart from von misses stress and try to understand the reason behind high stress in your model using your engineering brain and finally show the right result to the client on your ppt.

12) Unrealistic Suggestion based on FE Results: FEA Engineer give suggestions based on high-stress locations and hot spots that have stress beyond the yield limit sometimes these suggestions are not feasible for a design engineer to consider due to design and manufacturing constraints, So the best practice FEA engineer should jointly discuss with the design engineer to understand the design constraint, manufacturing process and then FEA Engineer should suggest accordingly.

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