FEA outsourcing dilemma

As FEA consultants for 20+ years, we’ve seen projects from the huge to the itsy-bitsy. A recent small project came in to re-run the numbers for a returning partner. A proposed process change was threatening to ripple through their workflow and potentially domino into a costly overhaul.

They were asked by a customer to increase the preload torque of their fasteners. This was a concern as changing the preload torque would require a change to their manufacturing process. But changing the manufacturing process is a great way to introduce errors, which could be catastrophic.

Our partner felt the current specs were not the problem or the issue, so in order to advocate against the change, it was necessary to load up on some figurative ammo. The decision was made to check the current preload torque versus the maximum axial bolt force seen during random vibration. All of the past models that were analyzed in FEMAP needed to be evaluated to satisfy the customer’s requirements.

For an analysis team, this is an easy task to accomplish. All of the models were done and run, so it was just a matter of opening them up and extracting the necessary data.

Unfortunately the client had outsourced all of the work and did not have access to any of the old models. The company had to reach out to the consultants who did the previous work and pay around $5,000 dollars in order to receive the necessary data.

If they had done the analysis in-house, they would have been able to extract the data quickly with no additional cost or time wasted. And as for the argument against the preload torque increase? That’s still in process, but the company at least has the data to get to it.