FAQ – Simulation

Q1 – Why Use Simulation?

Simulation through Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is becoming a more common industry practice to obtain fast, robust and optimised engineering solutions. Traditionally, first principle hand-calculations to code have been the answer for Engineers, however with the acceleration of computing power and software, simulation has become a quick and easy method to solve large complex engineering problems. The advantage of using simulation over traditional methods, is the comparison to “real life” behaviour of systems. Often traditional methods involve a range of assumptions that lead to an over-designed engineering solution, or in some cases, an under designed solution when incorrect assumptions have been made. For example, BVT assessed a crane yoke which consisted of bearings, pins, bushings, and complex steelwork geometry. Traditional methods would need assumptions around the load paths, joint stiffness effects, stress concentrations, etc, whereas simulation was used to gain an accurate representation of the system. What better way is there to gain confidence in your solution other than model the “real life” situation through simulation?

Q2 – Can I Trust Simulation?

Like all engineering tools, there is a risk of improper use and interpretation – garbage in equals garbage out. Just like an incorrect assumption, simulation has the risk of an incorrect user constraint or load. It is important to ensure your FEA is being carried out by a competent engineer. We recognise the risks and limitations of simulations, and strives to promote best practice and working within our competencies. BVT has a certified NAFEMS Professional Simulation Engineer (PSE) which is a recognised international agency aiming to promote safe and reliable use of finite element analysis. In addition to this, we have technical support from LEAP Australia to ensure tools are being used in an appropriate manner. This means our clients should have full confidence in the quality of FEA conducted by the BVT team.

Q3 – What Areas of Simulation does BVT Offer?

BVT uses two software packages for FEA (ANSYS Workbench and AXISVM), and primarily focuses on structural analysis of mechanical and industrial systems. We are suitably qualified, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • Mechanics, Elasticity and Strength of Materials
  • Nonlinear Geometric Effects and Contacts
  • Beams, Membranes, Plates and Shells
  • Plasticity
  • Buckling and Instability
  • Verification and Validation
  • Fatigue

Q4 – What are the Typical Projects BVT uses Simulation for?

BVT sees simulation as a fast, robust tool for complex structural-mechanical systems. We also recognize that it is important to relate our results to the appropriate design codes within New Zealand industries, in particular clause B1 – Structure of the NZBC. As a few examples, we use simulation on the following projects:

  • Excavator Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS)
  • Building Parts: Pallet Racking, Platform Structures, Industrial Equipment
  • Pressure Vessels and HSNO Fuel Tanks
  • Gantry, Jib and Monorail Cranes
  • Heavy Vehicle Chassis, Trailers, Towbars
  • Complex Mechanical Assemblies
  • Temporary Works: Scaffolding, Trench Shields, Bridges, Platfor


BVT specialises in structural-mechanical validation of Steel, Stainless Steel, Aluminium to code and determines system failure modes through simulation.

Q5 – Where is Simulation Heading?

BVT strongly believes simulation is the way of the future and it is only a matter of time before codes start to be updated to include simulation. Computing power and software capabilities are only getting better, which means less time and more accuracy to develop simulation studies. We will continue to push and lead simulation design in industry, and ultimately want to connect engineering disciplines together to ensure a robust design solution is always achieved. For example, why not simulate a building structure, it’s parts, foundation, and soil under a seismic spectrum to see how all of the components interact? Traditional methods cannot predict this interaction to the extent simulation can, which ultimately leads to more understanding and failure prediction of your engineering system.

 team member
Private: Max Waters

Senior Team Leader

m +64 22 100 1038
e max.waters@bvt.co.nz