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Session 2: How Can Designers Really Take Advantage of FEA?

As CAD and simulation programs grew closer over time, there has been a large amount of crossover between the FEA-centric approach that revolves around FEA entities, and the CAD-centric approach that makes FEA tools accessible inside CAD programs.

However, a few questions remain: Are either of these approaches ideal for the designer who wants to dive deeper into the structural performance of the evolving design? Is there a better way? Perhaps the most controversial of all: Should the designer be doing structural analysis at all?

DE's regular contributor Tony Abbey addresses these questions and shares his thoughts on the convergence of CAD and simulation

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Speaker/Presenter: Tony Abbey

Consultant analyst with his own company, FETraining

About Tony

Tony has created and taught a wide range of FEA based training classes over the last 25 years.

He has been partnering with NAFEMS to provide training since 2009. During that time, over 9000 students have attended Tony’s NAFEMS e-Learning courses. He has presented over 250 on-site live NAFEMS training courses delivered world-wide. Many of the courses have been tailored to meet specific client industry or technical needs. Clients include Rolls Royce, Airbus, BAe Systems, Boeing, LM, TAI, Polaris, JLR, FDA, ASML, Medtronic etc.

Tony graduated with an MSc in Structural Analysis from Imperial College in 1976

He has been working with FEA ever since! He started at BAe Warton, working on structural optimization and fracture mechanics. He then worked in the UK Aerospace and Defense Industry for next 20 years. Companies included RR, Matra Marconi, HEL. Technology areas embraced civil and military aircraft, satellites, weapons systems, and nuclear submarines. Experience gained is reflected in the FEA technology areas Tony teaches on his courses.

In 1995 Tony joined MSC Software, at its UK head office, where he rebuilt the support and training organization. This experience allowed his passion for creating and teaching training material to develop further. He also believes that working with client technical issues provides a challenging but rich experience. The range of industries and FEA technology areas met widened his experience further.

Tony moved to the US with MSC in 2000 to manage part of the support and training group in Costa Mesa. He conducted many training courses across the US and worldwide. In 2003 he joined NEI Software and was responsible for many client focused enhancements to the NEiNastran solver.

He formed his independent consultancy, FETraining in 2007. Since then, he has been carrying out FEA consultancy work, partnering with NAFEMS and contributing articles to Digital Engineering magazine. During 2020, in response to the COVID crisis, he presented a series of 14 free one-hour technical webinars, which were widely viewed.

Tony was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 2015.

The list of courses Tony presents can be found at

Moderator: Kenneth Wong

Senior Editor
Digital Engineering


COMSOL is a global provider of simulation software for product design and research to technical enterprises, research labs, and universities. Its COMSOL Multiphysics® product is an integrated software environment for creating physics-based models and simulation applications. A particular strength is its ability to account for coupled or multiphysics phenomena.

Add-on products expand the simulation platform for electromagnetics, structural, acoustics, fluid flow, heat transfer, and chemical applications. Interfacing tools enable the integration of COMSOL Multiphysics® simulations with all major technical computing and CAD tools on the CAE market.

Simulation experts rely on COMSOL Compiler™ and COMSOL Server™ to deploy applications to their design teams, manufacturing departments, test laboratories, and customers throughout the world. Founded in 1986, COMSOL has 19 offices worldwide and extends its reach with a network of distributors.

100 District Ave
Burlington, Massachusetts, 01803

COMSOL Resources

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About MSC Software

MSC Software develops simulation software technology that enables engineers to validate and optimize their designs using virtual prototypes. Customers in almost every part of manufacturing use our software to complement, and in some cases even replace the physical prototype “build and test” process that has traditionally been used in product design.

5161 California Ave.
Suite 200
Irvine, California, 92617
(714) 540-8900
[email protected]

MSC Software Resources

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Simulation Resources

In this Special Focus Issue, we take a look at new features and functions in design and simulation software, as well as the continued democratization of simulation beyond expert users, and the way that GPU acceleration has enabled real-time rendering.

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Recent advances in modeling and simulation tools based on an Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) approach provide an opportunity to relate process parameters to microstructure to properties to performance.

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