The ultimate goal of each project in our field is esthetic look which improves and refreshes exiting or brand new environment. But have you ever asked yourself what else is important besides final look of decorative products?
Most of our competitors rely on architectural aspect only, so they offer couple or few different material thicknesses, without taking engineering aspect into account. They also rely on customers to decide what thickness they want for their projects. Why is engineering aspect equally important as architectural aspect? The answer to this question relies on custom design and different customer needs. To better explain previous question, here is an example – should pergola be designed the same way in California or Illinois? With standard solution most companies offer, two customers from California and Illinois would most likely get identical product. But in fact, their pergolas should be different. Here is why – dominant factor in California (close to the Pacific) is salty environment and Sun and dominant factors in Illinois are wind and snow. That being said, customer in California should receive the panel with high quality primer and powdercoating finish, while for customer in Illinois, besides high quality primer and powdercoating finish, special accent should be added to material thickness.
This is where Titan Cut engineers add special value to our solutions for our valuable customers. With engineers from different fields (automatization, heavy equipment, robotics, etc., with strong knowledge regarding different types of materials, especially sheet metals), we are proud to be able to use their experience and knowledge to utilize FEA on daily basis in our projects. What the heck is FEA now? FEA stands for Finite Element Analysis and we use this software to calculate how different influences, such as wind, snow, etc. affect our products.
Here is another example, let’s go back to the pergola in Illinois, as previously mentioned, wind and snow are dominant factors in this part of the United States. To be able to properly select the thickness of the frame and panels, good engineering practice is to account maximum load of snow and wind to each panel. With appropriate calculation, our engineers are able to apply that predetermined load to each panel:
This is how load looks like once applied to one panel:
Applying FEA calculations to the panel provides stresses and displacements, that are then being used for proper metal selections and thickness optimization.
Each metal and its alloys have different maximum yield strengths and FEA provides stress results in every part of the panel, based on previously entered conditions and once results are processed by FEA software, it’s easy to check if selected material and its thickness are enough to handle that load. If not, proper adjustments need to be made (thicker material, or even different material, pattern/cutout revisions, etc.).
Another important FEA output is maximum displacement of the panel. Even if product passed stress analysis, displacement tells us if pattern cutouts are done properly and if they need to be changed or if we need to choose thicker material.
With all above said, we take every project seriously and we dedicate different resources in order to get proper materials and thicknesses for our projects. Yes, we could increase thickness of our panels multiple times than necessary, it’ not only it would not be cost effective for our customers, it would be needless. There is no standard and repeated project for us, we are open for all kind of new challenges, try us!
We don’t use FEA in snowy parts of the country only, we use it all over the place, even for projects in Caribbean! If you wonder why would we need FEA in Paradise, stay tuned, the answer and the whole project study will be presented in one of our future blogs.