Simulation is more than Software

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CADFEM customer
HEWI simulates comfort and accessibility

HEWI Heinrich Wilke GmbH

If someone finds standing difficult, then a seat can be the perfect solution – depending on the details, that is. HEWI relies on CADFEM simulation solutions to ensure its seats have the perfect fit.

HEWI simulates comfort and accessibility

As a system provider, HEWI offers comprehensive solutions for building hardware and sanitary fittings. Its products are characterized by their high level of functionality, outstanding design, high quality and the fact they can be used by all generations. Comfort and accessibility are thus becoming the norm.
Complex requirements and elaborate development work can often be found hidden in seemingly simple products – as is the case with HEWI’s 950 series shower seat, which is available in three different seating surface geometries. HEWI tasked an external design office with creating the first drafts. The details regarding design specifications, comfort and load requirements, technical feasibility and costs were then discussed together with the internal development department.
The use of simulation technology played a decisive role during the search for the ideal solutions for the various aspects and the best overall package.


HEWI has been using simulation technology since 2002 and has opted to use Ansys. Steffen Vogel, Head of HEWI’s Experimental Development Department, explains: “Our experimental development activities accompany the entire product development process – from the initial idea to series production. We’ve been using numerical simulation for over 15 years now – whether it’s to conduct feasibility studies in advance, or to check most optimizations on virtual prototypes. As a result, we need far fewer costly and time-consuming physical prototypes.”

Simulation during product development

The development of the folding shower seats in HEWI’s 950 series is the perfect example of how just how much HEWI uses simulation and of the improvements that can be made in the details as a result. The deformation and strength of all the components, plus the force reactions of the fixing points, were calculated using the design specifications as a basis.
The seating surface was a key topic in this regard. In addition to other requirements, comfort and safety played a major role in the choice of seat material. Steffen Vogel explains: “The surface quality alone is an important issue. The seat mustn’t be too smooth and therefore slippery, nor must it be too rough and therefore uncomfortable. Mechanical properties such as strength and impact resistance also have to be considered. The production engineering aspects have to be taken into account during injection molding, too.”

Finding the ideal solutions

The HEWI team ultimately opted for a special polyamide with a 50% glass fiber content. This meant that the walls were thinner, which translates into less warpage and fewer residual stresses during injection molding. Additional advantages include increased stiffness, less material consumption, a lower weight, shorter production cycles and reduced production costs – not least due to the fact that there is now no need to use a metal core in the seat.
Steffen Vogel envisages the use of simulation becoming even more widespread in product development in the future: “We will continue to make purposeful progress on the path of using virtual analyses and tests in the product development process, so we can exploit further potential benefits of simulation technology.”

Leiter Vertrieb Hannover