FEA is a type of software simulation that is used to virtually test your design to ensure it doesn’t break after production. Not all designers use this software so don’t let this deter you when trying to find a suitable designer.
Typically used in the engineering industry FEA is now widely used as an useful tool in product design.
The way FEA works is by importing your 3D cad design into the FEA software, add your relevant parameters and let the software perform a simulation.
The end result of the FEA simulation will show you yield points (weak points) which are areas on the design that will tend to fracture and break first. You can simply eliminate any issues you discover regarding strength before you get to the manufacturing stage.
By running FEA software you also have the ability to change material thicknesses of your part to reduce cost and see what the thinnest material you can use is, reducing manufacturing costs of the final parts.
The goal is to use less material but to reinforce the part with features such as ribs to add strength.
FEA is used to give the designer some comfort knowing the part will withstand impact forces and continue to work in its worst known environment.