This paper presents the work we carried out to investigate how to optimize the processes of development of complex products by incorporating finite elements analysis (FEA) and simulation as a design concepts analysis and optimization technique. As a case-study, the processes of development of thick film heater (TFH) subassemblies in a selected TFHs supplying company were explored. The principal challenges we dealt with were twofold, namely: (1) how to optimize the processes of development of TFH subassemblies through FEA and simulation, and (2) how to sync and optimize the TFHs supplying company’s and the original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM’s) development processes. ANalysis SYStem (ANSYS) was used as the FEA and simulation application in this case-study. An empirical study on how some previously executed practical TFHs development processes unfolded was carried out. Practical TFHs design and optimization tasks were analyzed, and a suitable workflow scheme was subsequently created, and its feasibility investigated. The derived workflow scheme is generic in the sense that it accommodates a wide range of FEA and simulation applications, and its applicability is not confined to the processes of development of TFH subassemblies only. The significance of the reported work also lies in the realization of a systematic approach for selecting FEA and simulation application whilst taking into consideration technical, business, and social factors. The overall benefits for a company resorting to using the derived workflow scheme to optimize its product development process include competitive advantage over its competitors, high-quality products at a lower development cost, and more flexibility for its customers.

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