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Structural Analysis of a Temporary Access Platform
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Company Profile

ERIKS group has become a European market leader for Industrial Products and Services. ERIKS provide engineering solutions for a diverse range of industries such as Aerospace, Quarrying, Pharmaceuticals and Railways to name but a few.

ERIKS UK aspire to be in the top three suppliers for all of their core activities in every region where it has branches, offering a wide range of quality industrial products, and providing a high level of industrial services. ERIKS has over 120 strategically located distribution centres and a network of 37 repair workshops. They have a flexible and knowledgeable team offering engineering solutions and industry know-how, which works alongside Europe's leading suppliers to give an unparalleled level of service.



ERIKS were required to design and build a safe temporary access platform, for a sewage treatment settlement tank, by their client Thames Water. Periodically settlement tanks are drained for engineers to gain access for inspection and/or maintenance works and as such a safe platform was required to enable access. The access platform was constructed from Aluminium.

CADFEM UK CAE Ltd. was approached to carry out a finite element analysis (FEA) to confirm that the structure conformed to the design criteria.




CADFEM UK CAE Ltd. were required to carry out a linear structural analysis of the access platform and check the safety factors. CADFEM UK CAE Ltd. created two 3D models of the platform in AutoDesk Inventor CAD system to represent two configurations of the platform; legs forward and legs back. The geometry was simplified to remove any small features that were deemed unnecessary for the analysis. Contact conditions were set for all the interfaces and fully fixed constraints were used at the supports.

Although the platform was only required to carry one person, area loads were applied at two locations to simulate two people standing on the platform in case of emergency.

The graphics below show the equivalent stress and deflection results for the legs forward configuration. These results for both configurations were well within design limits in terms of stress and structure deflections under load were small. In addition to these results the safety factors were also calculated for the entire structure and the minimum safety factor for both leg configurations was found to be 5. This showed that the access platform was well designed for its purpose.



Design Benefit

The analyses showed that the factors of safety for both leg configurations, when carrying double the load, were above 5 throughout the model. This meant that the platform could potentially carry up to five people and still have a safety margin of 100%. The deflections in the structure under normal operating conditions were in the order of 1.5 mm which implies a stiff structure that is unlikely to sway during usage.

Carrying out an FEA simulation has given ERIKS the confidence that their access platform had been well designed in terms of comfort as well as safety even under onerous load conditions. This has allowed ERIKS to take their Temporary Access Platform to market knowing that it will be 100% reliable in terms of structural integrity thanks to CADFEM UK CAE Ltd..


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