By Ferreira, V.; Santos, L.P.; Franzen, M.; Ghouati, O.O.; Simoes, R.
In this paper, we present a method for estimating local thickness distribution in finite element models, applied to injection molded and cast engineering parts. This method features considerable improved performance compared to two previously proposed approaches, and has been validated against thickness measured by different human operators. We also demonstrate that the use of this method for assigning a distribution of local thickness in FEM crash simulations results in a much more accurate prediction of the real part performance, thus increasing the benefits of computer simulations in engineering design by enabling zero-prototyping and thus reducing product development costs. The simulation results have been compared to experimental tests, evidencing the advantage of the proposed method. Thus, the proposed approach to consider local thickness distribution in FEM crash simulations has high potential on the product development process of complex and highly demanding injection molded and cast parts and is currently being used by Ford Motor Company.