Finite Element Analysis for Mechanical Engineering Stress

finite element analysis of beams with stress distribution

Finite Element Analysis, or FEA, is a mechanical engineering consulting service we provide to analyze stress. At Meadows Analysis we help our manufacturing clients with 3D solid modeling design engineering and 2D fabrication drawings.

Many times, engineering clients provide their own solid models, whether fully machine designs, assemblies, or part models for stress analysis. We receive the solid model information in STEP, IGES or native SolidWorks and AutoDesk Inventor files.

In collaboration with our manufacturing and engineering customers, we gather the necessary loads, performance, and constraints to understand how a machine, assembly or part is to perform. Many times, we validate existing designs provided by engineers. In this case, we work to understand the factors that will drive our FEA setup and simulation.

Other types of Finite Element Analysis projects include:

Engineering Seismic Calculations

For projects and structural engineering that needs FEA and a Professional Engineering, or P.E., stamp we run seismic analysis and provide performance under vibrations and frequencies.

Thermal Engineering Analysis

For heat exchangers or thermal performance conditions, we perform analysis work based on temperature variance and expected output performance with heat transfer calculations in our SolidWorks software modeling.

Fluid Dynamic Calculations


Our team provides some level of fluid dynamic engineering analysis as well for projects that can be set up and run through our SolidWorks Flow Simulation software. Some projects may require advanced computational fluid dynamics and we would recommend capable engineering partners. Based on our software capabilities, we would simulate liquid and gas flows to provide CFD calculations to provide insight on your product performance.

Sheet Metal Design

We can design your sheet metal designs and analyze these for stress/strain based on bend radius, flat patterns and application performance, such as loads on sheet metal enclosures.

Finite Element Analysis

Using our computer-aided engineering, or CAE, capabilities, we provide load conditions – tensile, compression, shear stress, etc. – to  create a mathematical model and a visual distribution of stress on your parts and assemblies. We can advise on how to strengthen your part through designing new engineering geometries, using different materials or removing stress concentrations. Simulating performance within a computer modeling environment can save costs on real-life prototyping or testing whether with static analysis or dynamic motion or kinematic range of motion studies.

FEA consulting has many different purposes beyond design engineering or validation. Clients can simply provide their specific engineer problem and requirements to us and we will start collaborating to gather information towards an engineering report with our expert opinions.

Why Validate Your Engineering Design with FEA?

Having the assurance of computer-aided engineering models and understanding where stress is distributed and may even cause deformations under load conditions allows for knowledge about your safety factors. If you need to strengthen a part in order to meet standards or requirements, FEA will provide the quantitative insight for where to reinforce a design.

Furthermore, a P.E. stamp can provide assurance to any regulatory agencies requiring that a Professional Engineer has signed off on your mechanical design.

We have provided such assurance since 2000, with both enterprise manufacturing customers as well as small businesses, fabrication shops and inventors seeking patents.

Here are some examples of where FEA has been used in our work with customers:

Certifying Lifting Cranes

In factories that require new load certifications we have designed existing equipment in our CAD software and increased load conditions, for example from 10 tons to 20 tons. We analyzed models and conditions for stress throughout the supporting beams and hooks and provided a new certification so material handling of higher loads could be supported.

Fatigue Analysis

Machinery that has oscillating pistons, or rotating pins in bores often wears or fails. We have simulated fatigue analysis problems to predict failure rates. We have also analyzed conditions for repeatable, low-level loads at frequency to find root cause analysis of failure in the field for machinery and parts that frequently fail in the field. Sometimes, this is done in forensic engineering and expert witness cases. Other times, we are sought to be predictive on the life of parts to determine the economic feasibility of how machines will perform. Often, FEA will help to show where designs need to be improved, reinforced or augmented with stock inventory for service.

Cyclonic Pressure Vessel Sand Separator

In oil and gas industrial applications, separating sand, water and oil are problems that require engineering design around computational fluid dynamic scenarios. We have specified variables such as fluid intake flow rates, pressure vessel heights, diameters and wall thicknesses, and accounted for centrifugal forces to create cyclonic situations for material density separation. Simulating conditions before fabricating the metal is a large cost savings and avoids trial and error before vessels are placed in the field.

Brake and Rotor Life and Designs


Simulation of motorcycle and vehicle braking systems for heat transfer and dynamic wear or flex is a complicated simulation setup. Under high speed motion, and heat, FEA can reveal weak points in geometries or further requirements for expanding life of brake pads and rotors.

Platform Support Structures

In factories and manufacturing facilities where safety platforms or access to large production stations such as vats or tanks are required, we have examined requirements for structural design and analysis as well as anchor bolt calculations. Safety review and engineering reports with certifications are often required to ensure workers and technicians avoid accidents. Engineering FEA on support structures can provide limits based on safety factors and loads especially for moving heavy materials and equipment.

Airport Bridges and Support Columns

Moving structures like airport bridges have to withstand wind loads, movement and passenger loads. Support structures and rotundas are part of an often lengthy walkway design and have to be analyzed for stability and performance. Simulation and stress analysis can provide refinements in engineering designs and ensure range of motion as well as structural integrity is maintained.

Wind Tower Structural Analysis

Moving, welding and setting up wind towers is a extremely high load and material handling safety production risk. Analyzing lifting beams, cranes and transport equipment for fabricating wind towers supports the manufacturing process with safety and assuredness. FEA can avoid material failure or provide insights into reinforcing designs that have to support extremely heavy loads.

Furthermore, dynamic forces, vibrations and structural analysis can be analyzed with FEA to ensure the life of wind towers, maintenance schedules and robust engineering design.

Guy Wire Base Beams

Supporting heavy cranes or structures using base beams with guy wires require stress analysis for load factors such as weight, angles, torsion and any anticipated motion. Base beams and the anchoring points can be designed and reinforced with certifications in the field for heavy equipment support and movement. There are multiple applications in the oil and gas industry and ensuring that an engineering review and stamp has been applied to base beams is a common application of finite element analysis.

Forensic Engineering

For expert witness cases involving patent infringements or in accident and injury suits, FEA can be used to simulate occurrences and provide insights into what happened.

If a failure happens in the field, for example, stress analysis can show failure modes such as shear forces that compromised a locking pin on a large structure or simulate movement and dynamics for crashes. The mechanical engineering conditions gathered and computational modeling can support or validate claims made from a mathematical standpoint.

Solving Stress Analysis Problems with Our Engineers

Our mechanical engineering firm works closely with customers. You are the experts in your field and applications and we are here to support you with our knowledge and tools to help quantify the designs and performance conditions your machines and parts are required to perform within.

We start with simply gathering your requirements. You can let us know the problem you are seeking to solve and any supporting materials, CAD files or specifications that need to be referenced. Simply fill out the form below:

From your preliminary information, we will collaborate with you further by phone and email to gather supporting CAD solid models, engineering load and performance conditions to consider and the type of FEA analysis you are seeking to perform.

The engineering projects we have involve setup of the model and CAE analysis based on our collaboration. We run the analysis using our computational power and software. Often, we analyze results and perform finite element analysis with different scenarios.

Our engineering report will contain the variables we used with the mathematical outputs and stress distribution in a visual presentation. If we are to certify an existing function, we will provide our conclusions and engineering P.E. stamp as a deliverable.

If engineering design recommendations are part of the deliverable, we will advise on best practices, reinforcements and mechanical design options that would address high stress or failure points in the provided design.

Our mechanical engineers work on many different, custom projects and we seek to use our collective and historical knowledge to support manufacturers and design engineers working to build and deliver their parts and assemblies to their customers.

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