Brimmond accelerates FEA with Inventor Nastran; optimising design and engineering precision and meeting international compliance standards


Meet Brimmond

Brimmond is an engineering company that delivers innovative, integrated, and often bespoke solutions for any hydraulic, mechanical and electrical need. Brimmond’s specialist engineers evaluate each client’s requirements across the purchase, hire, repair, refurbishment or maintenance of engineered equipment. The most common sectors include energy, marine, defence, oil and gas, renewable and decommissioning.

From concept to design and through to manufacture, safety and ease of maintenance are prime considerations for Brimmond. Their engineering solutions are developed with the user in mind while also delivering a more cost effective, time efficient and safer package.

Every aspect of clients’ projects is carefully addressed, from space accessibility to operational integrity and time constraints. Brimmond supplies one of the largest marine cranes in Europe. Since the company's founding, they have provided equipment and services to a wide range of major projects, including the Queensferry Crossing. They have manufactured over 400 ATEX-approved hydraulic power units in the process.

Challenge: How to enhance design efficiency and streamline manufacture at the same time

Ensuring robust compliance with international standards
Finite element analysis (FEA) is front and foremost at the design stage for Brimmond. It ensures that critical elements of any finished structure are as robust as they need to be for the environments in which they will be used, ensuring worker and operator safety whilst protecting valuable equipment.

Much of the analysis can be automated. It was this shift to a smarter and faster route for ensuring compliance to standards and client reassurance and confidence—that Brimmond sought to achieve.

The majority of Brimmond’s projects for the maritime sector are required to demonstrate regulatory compliance with one of two DNV standards:

  • DNV-ST-E271 2.7-1 Offshore containers
    The purpose of this standard is to provide the means by which an offshore container, handled in open seas, can meet the requirements of IMO MSC/Circ.860 (1998). This standard provides the requirements for design, construction, certification, inspection, testing and in-service examination for offshore containers and lifting sets”.

  • DNV-ST-E273 2.7-3 Portable Offshore Units
    “This standard (ST) covers suitable requirements to portable offshore units (POUs) with respect to design, manufacturing, testing and certification”.

“Our work in the maritime sector often focuses on the design and manufacture of containers, crane bases, and support structures for on-board equipment”, says Damian Maciag, Lead Engineer at Brimmond.

“Our clients have their own exacting standards for what happens on their vessels. This means they demand the highest demonstration of reliability from any structure they take onto a vessel or platform for operations under highly variable circumstances, and often in the face of extreme natural environment factors; high winds, often storms, and the resultant continuous movement if the installation is on a vessel.

The quality of our engineering solutions and the demonstration of their fitness for purpose to meet our clients’ requirements have to be validated via a recognised third-party certification body, which is where DNV comes in”.

Traditionally, Brimmond had conducted its own checks on designs through manual calculations. These were enormously time-consuming, and the whole process had to be repeated when the calculation indicated the need for a design adjustment. This extended the project timeline and involved more costs than were entirely necessary, occasionally incurred by over-engineering the solution.

Solution: Find the weak spots and rectify them; all in the design

Brimmond had been using Inventor Stress Analysis software for some time as part of its Product Design & Manufacturing Collection. Damian enrolled his team on a Symetri training course to take its skills to a higher level.

While conversing with the Symetri technical team, Damian mentioned the complications of preparing designs for the DNV process using manual calculations. This was when he was first introduced to Inventor Nastran.

“The Symetri team were totally familiar with the complexity of the process I wanted to address. Most particularly, these lay in linear analysis—defining the strength of proposed materials in terms of yield, stress, and surface contacts. The answers were all there in Inventor Nastran. It also seemed remarkably easy to use”, says Damian.

Outcomes: No more over-engineering; no more wasted time   

It just works
Ease of use was important to Brimmond, given the diversity of its projects and the varying requirements of its clients. A chunk of every project is bespoke, and here’s where the time factor had become burdensome.

“Even though the tools in Nastran are largely intuitive, there still arises the need to find a design approach to deal with new challenges as clients’ needs evolve. This is where you benefit from having an expert you can call on any time you hit a stumbling block.

Whenever we have a software issue, we call Symetri, and they guide us through the steps to take to resolve it. It’s never actually an ‘issue’, more just a part of Nastran’s functionality that we hadn’t yet familiarised ourselves with. Symetri gets us to the answers far quicker than we could work them out on our own. In this regard, Symetri is constantly helping us acquire new skills on what you could call a ‘Just-in-Time’ basis.

Simulations and verification are now performed in-house as opposed to farming them out to an external provider. Damian estimates that the time his team now saves, from design through to DNV approval, is in the order of 20%. 


  • Improve overall efficiencies and productivity, from the design phase through to manufacture
  • Replace manual calculations with a smarter method
  • Avoid project timelines stretching out due to re-work
  • Eliminate possibilities of over-engineering


Inventor Nastran enables the Brimmond team to deal with a higher throughput of project customisations:

  • In-house simulations, advanced analysis, and verification
  • FEA embedded in the software
  • Always accurate results


  • Brimmond can now optimise its designs and verify structural behaviours in-house to ensure smooth passage through the DNV certification process 
  • Reduced costs
  • No more over-engineering, now always fit-for-purpose
  • 20% saving in time

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