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3D modelling & fine element analysis of glass hardware

Spigot Load Testing FEAFinite Element Analysis modelling has long been used for metal components in construction. By calculating the forces that will act on a component, engineers can ensure that a given structural element is up to the challenges it will face in the real world. However, FEA can also be used when it comes to glass hardware components.

What Is FEA?

Finite Element Analysis, or FEA, is a type of 3D modelling that looks at how something will perform in the real world. It predicts how the forces that act upon a product will affect it. These include everything from heat, wind, water, and other environmental elements, to vibration.

FEA allows industrial designers and engineers to create products and systems that can withstand the real world pressures they’ll be subjected to. By doing this in the computer modelling stage of design, we are able to create a better product that is safer, stronger, and less expensive. Integrating this into both design and engineering processes also allows us to create glass hardware components that look great while still easily handling their structural purpose.

How does FEA help?

By using Finite Element Analysis, we are able to simulate products with 3D modeling and then apply the equivalent of test loads to the products to see how they actually perform before we commit to expensive manufacturing tooling. This simulation allows us to see first hand how our new designs stack up. We are then able to use “what if” scenarios using different designs and materials.
Using FEA modeling in conjunction with 3D printing we can fast track new products by many months and save many thousands of dollars in development cost by finding potential product issues before we go to manufactured samples.


blog-detail-2It is possible to produce low weight yet incredibly strong glass hardware components. The lower weight also means a lower cost without sacrificing the quality of the piece or the overall structure by removing material that serves no structural purpose. Through 3D modelling of glass hardware, we can find the right combination of design and material to produce the results we want and our customers need.

One key use of these glass components is in frameless pool fencing and frameless balustrading. By using FEA to create the spigots for these situations, Exakt Glass has been able to engineer an innovative design. The result is a set of hardware components that offers a top-level design and strength at a cost effective pricing.

Glass spigots are amongst the most expensive component in a glass barrier system due to 3 main components of the manufacturing process:

1. Weight – the finished weight of the product has the single most significant cost as the material for investment castings and machining is charged out per kg. Reducing this weight by creating hollow recesses in the post in non-structurally critical zones we can save significant cost.

2. Material Selection – The type of metal used for the manufacturing bears greatly on cost and performance. By using higher strength materials such as 2205 Duplex stainless steel we can use less material but still retain required strength to meet test load parameters.

3. Surface Finishing – Polishing of outer surfaces is the second greatest cost after the metal substrate.

Predicting the future

While 3D modelling and Finite Element Analysis allows us to design a better product, it can also allow us to show how our glass balustrade or glass pool fencing will hold up in use. There’s no need to build the actual balustrade or fencing to figure out whether it will be strong enough to handle the external forces of daily use. This greatly reduces our development cost and fast tracks design to final product testing process and therefore our final selling price making our products amongst the most cost effective engineered solutions in the marketplace.

By making use of the technological abilities of FEA, we are able to offer a far superior product to what is currently on the market. Rather than producing a low quality lightweight solution or a durable but expensive option, we have used our design and engineering expertise to create a spigot for frameless glass installations that is the best of both worlds.

To find out more about what Exakt Glass products can do, how they can be used for your frameless glass balustrade or frameless glass pool fencing project, and how we’ve developed them to meet your needs, get in touch with us today.