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VBA Excel macros For Offshore FEA

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  set of VBA Excel Femap API macros For FEA Offshore tasks

Figure 1. Parts of the MS Excel based user interface for engineering application

The project scope

The set of software tools (macros) development as part of a project to automate analysis of the numerous load cases for a special offshore vessel (Heavy lifting ship) “Pioneering Spirit”.


Pioneering Spirit (formerly “Pieter Schelte”) is a vessel with a dynamic principle of positioning. The ship designed for mounting and dismantling large offshore structures: oil and gas production platforms, elements of gas and oil pipelines, etc.


Tools have been used: Femap API + MS Excel + VBA + Femap WinWrap Basic.





Figure 2. Parts of the MS Excel based user interface and data output

for engineering application

Macro set functionalities and features:

  • initial data input, post-processed results report and user interface are based on MS Excel;
  • automation of load sets (hydrostatic, wave and wind loads) creation and application to defined parts of the vessel's structure FE model depending on lifting appliances load conditions;
  • automated analysis sets creation, running and control of completion;
  • automated post-processing of NX Nastran analysis results and reporting to the defined tables in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets;
  • auto-updating of the ship FEM space orientation relative to the base coordinate system;
  • auto-updating of lifting appliances loading conditions and positions relative to the vessel main deck;
  • a computing of the new centers of gravity and reporting obtained coordinates data to Excel tables for the next iteration of engineering analysis procedures (new load parameters calculations as new input data).

The dimension of the target offshore ship FEM model is about 0.5 million elements. The average time of one “operation” (applying hydrostatic pressure to the elements of a ship’s hull (around 180 thousand plate elements ) was about 20 seconds.


Figure 3. Visualization of the applied "wave" hydrostatic load on the  FEM of "testing" vessel ship hull