FEA driven design development approach is commonly adopted by OEMs & Tier-I suppliers for accelerating product development. Performing topology optimization is the first and vital step to evolve the design in the right direction. The STL data of the optimization analysis results is mostly rough and discontinuous and it is a real challenge for the designer to develop a parametric design from it, with due consideration to manufacturing feasibility.  

One of our clients had given us the challenge of converting the STL data of Automobile parts such as Steering Knuckle, Lower Control Arm & Differential assembly into to a parametric 3D model using CATIA Software for performing FEA and further design exploration.


1. Extracting complex curves from the STL data to match the profile

2. Constructing the geometry by carefully ignoring the surface deviations to meet the FEA expectation

3. Developing 3D Model considering manufacturing feasibility, tooling, and flexibility for future design exploration

Corrective measures:

1. Extracting curves by creating many cross-sections, to ensure tangency between profile transition

2. Identifying the right 3D Modeling methodology for the part (sheet metal, surface, or part modeling)

Value delivered:

Developed & delivered, high accuracy 3D model achieving 98% match, higher than the client’s desired target of 95%, with a quick turnaround time.

The author, Barath drive global strategy for engineering solutions at APA Engineering.

He can be reached at [email protected]


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