PlySim automates composite FE modeling to reduce design time

By AlRobertson

PlySim is a composite structural engineering consultancy which focuses on finite element analysis. Its main markets are in the renewable energy sector (wind, wave and tidal) as well as marine and civil engineering. PlySim was established to meet the growing demand for specialist composite knowledge and FEA skills.


Typically engineers at PlySim will generate CAD geometry or receive a CAD model from a customer, then proceed to create the analysis model. With composite materials, applying the complex composite layup to a model can be a time-consuming process, as fiber angles and thicknesses vary. Also post analysis, results viewing can be complex as there may be a different number of layers in each layup as plies drop off across the model. It’s important to be able to visualize which fiber is failing, and in which direction, in order to modify the design appropriately.

In one project which required that an analysis of a composite blade be completed in a very tight deadline, the engineers at PlySim used Femap’s application programming interface (API) to automate creation of finite element blade models. As a result, the time taken to build a model reduced from a week to less than a day – a more than 80% reduction in modeling time. With several models to build, the overall saving in modeling time for the project was significant.

You can read the full PlySim case study to find out more about how Plysim uses Femap to model composite structures.

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