Leveraging Common Components in Finite Element Assembly Models 14 June 2023 1130 - 1200

Aircraft manufacturers have long learned to take advantage of common components within design variants. For example, a typical airplane would have several design variants sharing the same wing, empennage and cockpit while having different lengths of fuselage. Significant cost savings can be achieved by reusing common components in aircraft and spacecraft assemblies.

The finite element analysis world, however, has not been able to fully leverage common components in assembly models. Components are typically organized as “include files” in an assembly model. But due to the strict requirement of unique FE entity IDs, these common component models cannot be easily reused. In order to be reused, a component model typically needs to be renumbered, repositioned, or reoriented. This process is not only time-consuming, but also prone to error.

In addition, a component model may appear in many design variants with thousands of load cases. It is not a trivial task to envelope and max/min search the loads associated with a component. Careful and tedious bookkeeping is required to keep track of which design variant and what loading event generated the critical component design loads.

This presentation will introduce an efficient assembly modelling method – the MSC Nastran Modules. This method eliminates the need for unique FE entity ID numbering, automates component connections, allows easy instancing (translate, mirror, and rotate) of components and generates modular results to streamline the enveloping and max/min search of loads. Real-world examples of a UVA drone, offshore wind turbine platform, and a truck frame assembly will be used to demonstrate the workflow and benefits of Modules.

Sponsored by:


  • Hanson-Chang-2023 Hanson Chang
    Senior Lead Application Engineer, Manufacturing Intelligence Division, Hexagon