FEMAP – Siemen’s Hidden Gem

By MarkBurhop

One of the more interesting applications that Siemens PLM provides is FEMAP. This was an application that started in someone’s garage(more or less) in the 90’s. It did so well back then that SDRC took notice and snatched them up.

So it went from a couple guys back then to the 2500 person SDRC. SDRC became UGS which we all know is now a part of Siemens (480,000 people). FEMAP kept growing all the time still with the same core team.

FEMAP is Siemens PLM’s stand-alone pre and post processor. It is a Windows only application part of Siemens Velocity Series. However, it is important to point out that FEMAP should not be considered a “mid range” FEA tool. It fits very well in the pocket of a high-end analyst. Since it is stand-alone, it also doesn’t care where the data comes from (although I’m a bit partial to Solid Edge cheese

Al Robertson and Mark Sherman (employee # 2 for FEMAP) gave an introductory presentation on FEA at the PLM conference. The way FEA works is by dividing your geometry into a number of small pieces (elements) of a size where the mathematics of the element can be easily understood. So if you know you will push on your virtual part with a force in a certain direction, it will push up against some constraint with some other force (or slide across the floor if there is no constraint).



Push hard enough and your part will bend or break. Hit it with a hammer and it will vibrate at some frequency. Heat one end and the other side might get hot. FEMAP will tell you when your part will break, what frequency it vibrates, and how hot the part will get. Oh, and way, way more.

The refreshing part about Mark is that he will tell you how it is. One warning to the people attending the introductory class was to say, “whenever anyone shows you a stress plot, beware. 99% of the time the answer is wrong”. Think about putting a pin load on part. In the real world, this pin still has some area. In the FEA world, you have infinite stresses at the pin (although stresses right around the pin are probably quite accurate).

Mark also talked about the important of having more elements around stress concentrations. When you see rapidly changing stresses in a first run, its often important to create a finer mesh around this location. If someone gives you a stress plot with the element removed, beware.

With FEMAP V10, out later this year, some serious work is being done around meshing (see the video). Mark is hoping to raise the visibility of the importance of a high quality mesh in getting the most accurate results in your analysis. This guy knows his stuff so I’d listen.

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at