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Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

My company is planning to purchase some analysis software and I need help in deciding whether Pro/Mechanica or some other product is best for our specific needs.  We use Pro/E for our mechanical design work, and most of the parts we design are Aluminum.  We are primarily interested in the stresses and deformations that our assemblies will face when subjected to shock and vibration conditions at temperatures ranging from -40 C to +70 C.  We are also interested in heat transfer analysis.

We have virtually no prior experience using FEA tools, but we want to have some capability to do this in-house. We will be using the analysis software only occasionally, and cannot justify a dedicated FEA Engineer.  Our budget for the software is fairly generous, but we don't want to invest a lot of time or money on training.  Please offer me your advice on whether Pro/Mechanica or some other product makes the most sense for our circumstance.

RE: Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?


In my opinion, Pro/MECHANICA is a very good choice for a disciplined, part time analyst wishing to perform CAD-integrated analyses within Pro/ENGINEER. Please be aware of the capabilities, limitations, and particular traits of the software. Train your engineers well on the theory and software. Please do not skimp on these.

Please consider the commentary provided in this forum and specifically, the following threads from the Finite Element Analysis engineering Forum (Forum727):

If you have more specific questions, please feel free to ask.

Best regards,

Matthew Ian Loew
"Luck is the residue of design."
Branch Rickey

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

In my humble opinion, Pro/Mechanica WAS a terrible package to use - the integrated mode with Pro/Engineer had no mesh refinement options and the GUI was aimed at the Pro/E modelling requirements, not the analysis aspects.
There was no control over the meshing whatsoever, and the meshing was not visible until the analysis had been run!
As for the independent mode....poor file structure, graphics glitches, difficulty in constructing complex geometry....
I used the Student Edition at my University, who obviously got cheap Mechanica licences on top of the cost of the Studend Edition Pro/Engineer they would have otherwise bought.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised with the latest release, Wildfire.
The integration mode has now been recognised as an integral part of the software amd is much more user-friendly and powerful. The element meshing can be controlled to the same extent as before in the Independent mode, which can increase the accuracy of the analyses, as well as actually being able to see the elements! With the new version, I see no reason or need to use the Independent mode anymore, which is still available, however.

Other mechanica users have already posted reasonings for and against Mechanica as an FEA package, with most arguements being based around the Polynomial order and p-elements - fair enough. Some see it as a designers' tool rather than an engineers tool, as I have read within these forums.
However, as Mechanica now comes shipped with Pro/Engineer, which you use anyway, why not give it a go?
Once familiar with it, by practicing with a few tutorials, it is fairly simple to get reasonable results with, assuming you are not using it for military aircraft calculations! Besides, if you've no other package to compare it to, you'll not really appreciate how accurate it is.

RE: Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

I would agree that Mechanica is aimed at designers more than engineers. Mechanica is relatively easy to use but way oversimplified. I haven't used the wildfire version yet, but meshing was transparent in the previous versions which is a major drawback. The program will freeze during meshing or give you a faulty mesh and the operator not have a clue.

Ansys is much more powerful but with a significantly steeper learning curve. My recommendation would be Mechanica for preliminary design checks but ansys if precise results are neccessary.

RE: Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

As an additional comment to LTR, I am not sure if you are aware of DesignSpace from ANSYS. It is a very userfriendly package and it has complete bi-directional associativity with Pro/E and again is only meant to be a designer-analysis package as opposed to complete analysis package. I have been using it for quite a few years now and I have both Inventor and Pro/E on my system. Never had a single problem with CAD associativity. Ofcourse, I think Pro/Mechanica is much cheaper than DesignSpace. DesignSpace is about 9K + maintenance.

I have used Pro/Mechanica only on rare occasions when I was in school, but again that experience is not much for me to precisely comment on Pro/Mechanica's capabilities. For most of my linear/structural and thermal analysis, Designspace caters my needs.

RE: Is Pro/Mechanica the best FEA choice for Pro/E users?

There are some good discussions on this in the FEA gurus section (Forum727), which conclude that people always tend to recommend the analysis software which they use.
I would never be guilty of doing this, but would strongly recommend Pro/Mechanica!!!!!!!

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