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The Application of the
Finite Element Method in Practice
(Main Course - 5 1/2 days)


Design of Reinforcement using
Finite Element Analysis

(Reinforcement Course - 1 day)

The Application of the Finite Element Method in Practice
Course Schedule for 2010 -
South Africa
Attaché Guest Lodge
6 March 2010
12 March 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
17 April 2010
23 April 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
15 May 2010
21 May 2010
Cape Town
Bellville Campus, Univ.of Stellenbosch
17 July 2010
23 July 2010
Westville Hotel
14 August 2010
20 August 2010
Port Elizabeth
To be announced
11 September 2010
17 September 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
9 October 2010
15 October 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
6 November 2010
12 November 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
4 December 2010
10 December 2010
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Design of Reinforcement using Finite Element Analysis
Course Schedule for 2010 -
South Africa
Attaché Guest Lodge
15 March 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
26 April 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
24 May 2010
Cape Town
Bellville Campus, Univ.of Stellenbosch
26 July 2010
Westville Hotel
23 August 2010
Port Elizabeth
To be announced
20 September 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
18 October 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
15 November 2010
Attaché Guest Lodge
13 December 2010
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Course Background and Details

Finite element programs are readily available, easy to run and offer one of the most powerful tools available to the analyst today. However, the results can be dangerously misleading under certain circumstances unless the user has a proper understanding of the method and its potential pitfalls.
The course comprises hands-on use of finite element programs complemented with lectures. This course is not only essential for all users of finite element analysis (FEA) software, but also for managers to understand what they can expect to get from FEA.
The course “The Application of the Finite Element Method in Practice” has been presented since 1986 with regular modifications and enhancements. Its original duration was 20 days. This has now been compressed to 5 days.

For a description of course contents, click HERE.

The following topics will be covered:

  • Linear structural analysis for various types of elements and combinations thereof,
  • Non-linear analysis (material, geometric, boundary conditions),
  • Buckling, (see example)
  • Dynamics (natural frequencies, dynamic response).

Important topics will be discussed in detail, such as “How accurate is finite element analysis?” and “How do I model point loads correctly?”.

Hardware and software will be provided on the course, but participants are invited to bring their own if they prefer to do so. Participants are also invited to bring their own problems for discussion on the course.

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Click to see the papers on FEA

Course Presenter

The course will be presented by Roland Prukl, Pr.Eng., Dipl.-Ing., FSAICE, AIStructE. He has delivered seven papers on finite element analysis at various FEMSA symposia and at SEMC2001 (Click on picture left to see these papers). Mr. Prukl has also been invited to deliver FEA lectures at universities and technikons in Europe.
As a user and distributor of finite element software over a period of twenty-eight years, Mr. Prukl has been involved with several thousand practical problems and has built up an extensive experience in finite element modelling.
The purpose of the course is to pass on some of this experience to scientists, engineers and technicians in the civil, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering fields as well as related disciplines such as shipbuilding, aeronautical engineering and the automotive industry.


Course Presenter - Roland Prukl
Jack fruit and monkey apples


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Feedback from the Participants:

Johannesburg 24 – 28 February 2003

“Course Content: Very comprehensive with a variety of good practical examples.”
(S. Achilleoudes, Johannesburg)

“Highlighting mistakes in F.E. that can have serious consequences.”
(E.P. Montwedi, Johannesburg)

“I found the course very interesting and practical. Examples are very applicable to daily design problems.”
(Johan La Grange, Johannesburg)

“The course has broadened my insight and understanding of F.E.
I have great respect for your experience in the subject.”
(Vishnu Ulassi, Verulam)

“Die kursus was bo verwagting leersaam, ook by verre die beste waarop ek al gegaan het.
Meeste kursusse is produk georienteerd, maar hierdie kursus is vak georienteerd. Tesame met die waardevolle praktiese ervaring wat weergegee word deur probleemstellings maak hierdie kursus ‘n suskses en kan beslis aanbeveel word.”
(Theo Venter, Pretoria)

“The course was eye-opening; I really learned a lot from Roland and from the students and engineers who attended the course. I would advise people to attend such courses from time to time. It would be nice if it can be given at universities as an engineering subject.”
(Khelane Ndwanpwe, Johannesburg)

“The course is extremely helpful and a must for new FEA users. There are many mistakes made by new users that could lead to 100% wrong results.”
(Johan Moes, Johannesburg)

“I found your tips, information and real life cases invaluable. I don’t know where else I would be able to get such data.”
(Johan Lexow, Pretoria)

“It is a pity that these courses are not held in other centres, such as Durban.”
(Linda Ness, Durban)

“The course was presented by a true expert in FEM.
(Jan Bijkersma, Johannesburg)

Johannesburg 07 – 11 July 2003

“This is the best course with practical application that I have ever experienced. I am very interested in the technical field of FEM. I have learned a lot about practical issues and danger areas. The course helped me to understand the FE method better than ever before. The course improved my skills and way of thinking FE. I have much more confidence in my ability to do FE designs.
The practical examples are very good.”
(Anton van Dyk, Secunda)

"The course is very informative on the fundamentals of FEA. I also found the practical aspects eye-opening.”
(Ajith Gopal, Pretoria)

"This course has been a refresher in many respects, and an eye-opener.
Although most of the examples and discussions are pitched at civil engineering problems, the principles, pitfalls and mistakes made with FEA are universally applicable to all fields using this method.”
(Adrian Niken, Pretoria)

Mr. R. Prukl is to be commended on his efforts to teach the ‘Application of the Finite Element Method in Practice.’ The course deals not so much with the theory, the software or the structural behaviour, but more with the things that can go wrong both for the novice and the expert in finite element analysis. The designer who has attended this course will approach finite element analysis far more critically. This course will improve the reliability of finite element analysis and analysts.”
(Mdake Mfanoxolo, Johannesburg)

“Die kursus is baie insiggewend. Baie dankie vir die moeite wat u ingesit het in die notas en CD, en veral vir al die “rooi ligte” waarvoor ons moet oplet.”
(Edgar Faber, Lecturer, Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vanderbijlpark)

“I find the course very practical and have gained a better understanding of FEA. However, I am still not convinced that I will implement it in full bridge design, but definitely for certain elements in detail design like for instance transverse reinforcement design of a box girder.”
(Stephen Humphries, Pretoria)

“This FEA course has been an eye-opener especially when we talked about errors caused by meshing if not done correctly. I would prefer if continuous coaching could take place.”
(Aimon Mncwabe, Durban)

“This course is definitely an eye-opener with regard to the level of caution that has to be taken when designing concrete / structural steel works. …Thank you very much.”
(Sidumo Dlamini, Swaziland)

“Very good detailed explanation of theory.”
(Hans Rossocha, Johannesburg)

“R. Prukl provides vital insight into FEA; both to the practitioner as well as to the user of FEA results (manager/client). He uses his long experience at the cutting edge of FEA technology to highlight best practice as well as seemingly innocuous errors that may cause a total failure.
I have been privileged to be exposed to R. Prukl’s insight, and appreciate his infinite care in teaching Finite Element Analysis.”
(Jan Jooste, Lecturer, Vaal Triangle Technikon, Vanderbijlpark)


Johannesburg 27 – 31 October 2003

“This was an excellent course. … The real life applications were also very interesting.”
(Stefanus van der Vyver, Lecturer, Rand Afrikaans University, Johannesburg)

“I will definitely interest more Malawian engineers in this field and encourage them to take part in such courses, workshops and seminars both here (in Johannesburg), in Malawi and other countries.”
(Winston Gwada Mwamlima, Lilongwe, Malawi)

“By attending this course I have attained a new insight on how to carry out a FEA intelligently and more accurately. The lecturer’s emphasis on the importance of accurately interpreting the results and checking same has also impressed me tremendously.”
(José M. de Carvalho Munro, Maputo, Mozambique)

“The finite element method course was very interesting. It has improved my understanding on the analysis of structures using this method. The instructions given were clear and understandable.”
(Hilali Ally Mohamed, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania)

“The approach used in this course, being an emphasis on the application of FEA to practical problems has been for me a good kick-start and the reference material and pointers given shall inevitably be a worthwhile tool.”
(Albert Fidel Omiat, Gaborone, Botswana)

“The course brought out important fundamental issues related to Finite Element Modelling and analysis. It also served as a platform for showing real life design experiences and failures.”
(Dr. Michael N. Mulenga, Lecturer, University of Lusaka, Zambia)

“The course was very informative and interesting. Roland’s knowledge of the subject is extensive, and he explains and teaches the course very well. It is easy to follow and understand. Examples are well chosen for emphasising common mistakes made in FEA.”
(Jonathan van Gool, Johannesburg)

“Die kursus was baie leersaam.”
(Theo Venter, Pretoria)

“The course should at least have been for two weeks.”
(Pankaj Bhulla, Pretoria)

“Overall, I really appreciate the meaningful examples and the lessons practically learnt – excellent. I also appreciate the accuracy comparisons given between the various packages. The hardcopy material given is also really Great!”
(Allan J. Muir, Johannesburg)

“I have learnt a lot about restraint conditions and designing the mesh. Further I have learnt about buckling and natural frequency.”
(Deon van Rensburg, Johannesburg)

“The course covered a wide field and sufficient practical application was afforded through doing the examples.”
(Pia Beukes, Pretoria)

The course presented is extremely useful and comprehensive. Not only are the attendees given a sound grounding in the proper use of Finite Element Analysis, but just as importantly FEA users are warned of the many pitfalls that await the unwary.

A five-day intensive course can be somewhat daunting, but the interest is kept high by presentation of a series of very practical problems, many of which incorporate a subtle twist that provides an excellent teaching aid.
(Adrian C. Peirson, Johannesburg)


Johannesburg 19 - 23 January 2004

Most of the time was spent working on examples and it was generally felt that this was the best way to learn.
The most important lesson learnt at the course was the danger of using computers to analyse forces, stresses and deflections in structures. A colourful contour diagram of stresses does not guarantee that the results are correct. All results of any analysis should be scrutinized for errors.
(Christo Croeser, Hatch)

The course was extremely interesting and at times extremely challenging. It established to the students that thinking and learning is not a forgotten cause once he/she graduates from any tertiary institution.
(Meroeh Shaker, UWP)


Cape Town 28 June - 2 July 2004

- Important basic concepts were taught.
- We were made aware of typical pitfalls - where serious mistakes can be made.
- We were taught the different approaches for solving different types of problems.
- I liked the fact that the course was very practically orientated - it will really help us in practice.
- The course was stimulating and enjoyable.
- It was well structured and comprehensive, bearing in mind the limited time.
- I would like each of my design engineers to attend the course in future!
(Henry Fagan, Henry Fagan & Partners)

Overall I think it is a good course and well presented. It made me aware of a lot of potential pitfalls in using FEA. I think also that the course had taught me to use FEA more responsibly and with a better understanding of what to look for in the results.
(Johan de Boer, Kantey & Templer)

A enjoyable, useful, but intense course.
(Ken Jensen)

- The course has been very practical and differs from the academic approach in that it focuses on real life applications.
- It demonstrated the power of FEA in solving problems.
- It highlighted a lot of common errors that one would really not be careful of.
- It opened my mind and I will now approach a Finite Element Analysis with caution.
- The course is highly recommended to junior and practicing engineers.
- I have never seen a similar course in terms of practical approach.
- The presenter has presented the course in a superb manner.
(Phumudzo Baloyi)


Johannesburg 5 - 9 July 2004

Before the course I felt that FEM was something that was out of reach for a young engineer. However, Roland has been able to simplify FEM. I always thought that FEM results would be very accurate. Roland has been able to "open our eyes- and see the good and bad of FEM. I believe the course was very well presented. I have learned a lot from the course especially with respect to the manner in which an engineer should think.
(Josh Padayachee)

The course on Finite Element Analysis in Practice presented by Mr. R. Prukl during the week of 5-9 July 2004 was excellent. The fact that the subject was explained using practical and real life problems made it much more understandable. The presenter is an expert in this field and I think we can learn a lot more from him.
Kobus Roets

Roland Prukl knows the subject and speaks with authority.
Course material is well documented and will serve as a useful reference in future.
The examples covered during the course were practical and leading towards a better understanding of the subject.
This course is highly recommended for anybody who intends to use the finite element method and wishes to learn about the results obtained from the method.
(Danie Basson)

Of all the post-graduate courses I have attended in the past two years this has been the most valueable. The information was presented in a clear and systematic fashion with little or no ambiguity. This, together with the presenter's 30 year experience has provided me with a clearer understanding of applications, implications and discipline of and required by FEA. The course has taken my Qualitative use of FEA to produce exciting pictures to a point where Quantitative, objective results can be produced for use in strict engineering analysis and decision making.
(Jeremy Tibbles)


Durban 27 September - 1 October 2004

- The course was very thorough
- The power of Finite Elements ...
- The limits of Finite Elements ...
- Very well presented and enjoyable.
(Pieter Boorsma)

Roland presents the course with the confidence andknowledge of the expert that he is.
I leave this course with a renewed interest in FEA andinspired by Roland's passion for the subject.
(Peter Fenton)

I understand now how important it is to do simple test runs to assure that model created would be good. Also understand that it is important to check deflection in results and check applied loads. It is not just acceptable to accept results.
Roland's experience and interest in FEA inspires great interest in this field.
(Manivasen Govender)

A very informative course which unravels the complexity of FE in a very clear and practical way.
I would definitely recommend the course.
(Gons Poonan)

I have found this course very beneficial, and enjoyable. Before coming on the course I had hardly any experience with Finite Elements, now I feel like I have a better idea of when and how to apply Finite Element. I enjoyed learning from Roland's experience, and hearing of real examples! Roland definitely has an excellent knowledge of this topic.
(Sarah Skorpen)

I have found the course to be extremely informative.
Roland's invaluable experience and insight certainly comes to the fore in his presentation.
(Yunus Vawda, Senior Lecturer)


Johannesburg 1 - 5 November 2004

This was an excellent technical course. I would recommend it to anybody interested in FEA.
(Pieter Jonker)

Die Kursus was baie sinvol en het my bewus gemaak van die gevare daaraan verbonde om onvoorwaardelik antwoorde as absoluut te aanvaar.
(Johan Klopper)

The course gave a good mixture of the background as well as the application of FEA. Numerous pitfalls were highlighted which the designer must be aware of.
With a better understanding of FEA, I can approach design challenges with much more confidence.
(Gerard du Plessis)


Johannesburg 14 – 18 November 2005

- The style of the course with lectures in the morning and examples in the afternoon was very practical and I learnt a lot.
- Doing so many examples has made me a lot more confident to tackle FEA in production.
- I am now much more aware of FEA pitfalls, just how careful one must be using the method.
- In general an excellent course. Thanks very much and I feel I have learnt a lot.
(Collin Morris, Fluor)

- Ten spyte van die kursusganger se verskil in agtergrond binne die veld van siviele ingenieurswese was die inligting waardevol. Universele aspekte oor die toepassing van die metode sal handig te pas kom in die veld waarin die kursusganger betrokke is.
- Die kursusmateriaal wat beskikbaar gestel is, met voorbeelde waarvoor geleentheid gegee is om dit self uit te werk onder toesig van die aanbieder, was baie sinvol en sal ook in die toekoms handig wees.
- Die kursus is op 'n höe standaard aangebied en effektief sodat persone van verskillende agtergronde dit kan verstaan. Dit is moontlik gemaak deur persoonlike tydspandering van die aanbieder saam met elke kursusganger. Die detailverduideliking van terme is waardeer.
- Die aanbieder, Roland Prukl, se ondervinding en doeltreffende wyse van oordra van kennis vergelyk met wêreldleiers* en hoogaangeskrewe akademici* aan wie die kursusganger bekend gestel is tydens studies aan plaaslike en Amerikaanse universiteite asook tydens bywoning van internasionale konferensies. (* in die kursusganger se eie beperkte veld van ondervinding).
- Waarde kan toegevoeg word tot die kursus deur beginsels en enkele voorbeelde van geotegniese opstellings in te sluit.
- Dit was aangenaam, interessant, en 'n voorreg om hierdie kursus by te woon.

(Dr. Arno Hefer, Africon)


Johannesburg 17 - 23 February 2007

Very good course relevant to projects conducted in our works area and applicable to further projects. Course was stimulating and made me aware of certain criteria and very important design procedures.
(Francois Greeff, NKP Consultants (Pty) Ltd)


Johannesburg 16 - 22 June 2007

A brilliantly presented course, which unfortunately had to come to an end. One of those moments when the exposure of ideas opens up a whole world of possibility.
Thank you Roland.
(Asogan Moonsamy, Transnet Projects )


Johannesburg 7 - 13 July 2007

I found the course interesting and informative and became reasonably proficient in Strand7 at the same time. Individual attention and assistance with problems by the presenter was most valuable and appreciated.
(Andrew Parkman, Henry Fagan & Partners)

Great course for anyone involved with FE.
(Neil Wilsnach, Euro Technology)

Excellent content, just what a young engineer needs to bridge the gap between University and the "working world- .
(Stephen Agar , Vela VKE)


Perth, Australia 4 - 10 August 2007

I am very glad to take such an opportunity to have a systematic course of FEA. In this way I can revise the theoretical knowledge about mechanical which is very important to a qualified engineer.
The presenter gave us excellent instructions with great patience ad pointed out every mistake occurring in our practice which is very helpful for us to make progress.

(David Du, Hatch PDG Pressure Vessel Group)


Very informative and interesting course.
Much required for anyone involved with finite elements.
(Jerry Guo, Hatch (Pty) Ltd)

Best FEA lessons ever had.
(Kwan Chi Ng, Hatch Structural)

This has been one of the best courses I have been on.
(Melanie Crouche, Hatch )

A very good course on FEA and Strand7.
The course allows me to learn much more than using Strand7.
(Tim Wai Nang Yau, Hatch)


Johannesburg 15 - 21 September 2007

Roland Prukl did an excellent job. The course was interesting enough to keep a 58 year old awake 90% of the time, firstly. Secondly, the tests were so universal as to catch anybody's interest. I did not know I was so inadequate with FE methods. I know now, but I also know I learned something valuable.
(Carlos Da Silva, SINTEC)

Oor algemeen was kursus goed aangebied, met baie goeie en deeglike studiemateriaal. (Kon sien daar was baie tyd aan spandeer).
Baie dankie!
(Dawie Louw, ARQ)

A very enlighting course, presented by a world renown and experienced presenter.
Not only experienced in structural analysis & finite element analysis but also in computer modelling/simulation. Gained a lot of experience and knowledge throughout the course. I would recommend this course to any engineer practising in Structural Analysis or behaviour/investigations.
(Lawrance Bopape, Anglo Operations - ATD)

The training is excellent & I have really exposed to lot of areas in FEM. The lecture & the impression of speaker is excellent. I am really thankful to be a part of the team in the training.
(Nilmadhab Bhattacharjee, Hatch India)

Course was well structured and presented. Various pitfalls were highlighted very well with a good emphasis on practical application.
Riccardo Leita, Hatch

Roland Prukl has put together an excellent course. It is a vast amount of knowledge that is presented extremely well. I see no way for improvement within the given time constraints.
(Wulf Toussaint, WT Consulting cc)

This is an excellent course.
I would not recommend anyone to start FEA without attending this course.
Valuable lessons are learnt and various pitfalls identified.
(Wykie Etsebeth, Hatch)


Johannesburg 10 - 16 November 2007

An exceptional course which covers a multitude of aspects of the practical aspects of Finite Element Analysis, many of which are sadly not addressed in textbooks and user guides. The course presenter is enormously experienced and is able to impart his expertise in a way that keeps the course attendees both interested and involved.
This is the second time that I have attended the course - the first was some years ago. To be able to attend this course with prior knowledge and experience in the use of FEA has been invaluable in fitting in some of the areas in which I had discovered my ability to be lacking!
(Adrian Peirson, KP Energy cc)

Die praktiese toepassing van die voorbeelde,
die geleentheid om te leer deur jou eie foute
en die oordrag van kennis en ervaring van 'n leeftyd
is van onskatbare waarde.
(Jean Louw, Ninham Shand)

Excellent eye opener to potential errors in Engineering.
The skills learned will be very useful for my career.
(Lloyd Clark, Hatch)

For me the course achieved a better understanding of FEM and I learned to be more careful with making certain assumptions and approximations.
(Paul van Hulssen, PMR Consulting Engineers(Pty) Ltd)

A very interesting course that will bear fruit for many years.
Contained content unavailable from other sources.
(R. Blow, Hatch)

Very useful.
Covered my needs.
Speaker is extremely knowledgeable.
(Silvana Lo Drago, Hatch)


Johannesburg 1 - 7 December 2007

The most important aspect of this course was that it took me from zero knowledge to a degree of personal satisfaction that I could comfortably negotiate my way around the application of the course. From a point of being afraid to attempt the application, to being confident that I am not a novice anymore.
(Allan Brits, Matomo Projects (Pty) Ltd.)

- Reinforced my confidence in what I've done already and has given me added confidence with all the new things I've learned.
- Generally a good course due mainly Roland's experience with and knowledge of FEA and his approach to teaching it.
(Chris Greensmith, Arup)

The examples and one-to-one attention very good - gives you a better understanding.
It helps that a specific example is to explain certain principles.
I now have a better understanding of the complexity of FEA.
All engineers must complete this course before attempting to use FEA.
(Edgar Faber Murray & Roberts Engineering Solutions)

- I really enjoyed most of the practical examples - very good!
- The possibility working in groups is even a better way to exchange knowledge in a short time.
- Checking results through equilibrium calculations - brilliant !! If it works out !!
(Michael Steinhofer, BKS)


Johannesburg 23 - 29 February 2008

I found the course stimulating and full of interest. Roland Prukl is a World class expert in this field and presents his material with lively enthusiasm.
(Chris Seddon, Ninham Shand)


Johannesburg 12 - 18 April 2008

The course was very helpful in many ways. Not only did I get a good knowledge of the pros and cons of various types of elements used for analysis but other subtle points that have been mystery for a long time were revealed. For example, it has taken me five years to understand fully the meaning of eigenvalues and what an eigenvector is. I studied vibration analysis in my Bachelors degree but this principle was never explained in such clarity. I can say, it took Roland Prukl one (1) minute to explain something I have struggled with for five years.
(Chibila Frances Ulaya, Element Six Production Ltd.)

This course has been something of a revelation to me, I have realised that what I once knew was criminally insufficient with regard to FEA. After this mega-week, I find that I have learned just enough to feel encouraged by FEA and more than enough to be cautious and diligent. Roland has been a fantastic facilitator who has had the patience and understanding required to make FEA relevant and accessible to every delegate at every level of learning. I cannot be grateful enough for the opportunity to learn from a collection of others' mistakes and successes.
(Lauren Drake, Hatch Africa)

I like the fact that the course was presented by someone as experienced as Roland who could actually carry his message across very clearly. I would recommend that everyone who does FEA whether they just started working with it or whether they've been working with it for years. I can walk away from this course not just with knowledge to run a FEA module, but also with the understanding of how the software interprets the input and how to read the output. This course is not just about FEA but it also reinforces basic structural analysis, which we as engineers seem to put behind us as soon as we start using software to analyse structures.
(Natalie De Morney, Goba (Pty) Ltd.)

Overall, a brilliant and very well presented course.
(Stephan Jansen van Rensburg, Hatch Africa)

The speaker is to be commended on his vast knowledge, experience and "after sales service of support- . Also for making complicated concepts understandable. Definitely highly recommended for anyone associated/in touch with FEA.
(Waleed Palmer, Thyssen Krupp UHDE)


Cape Town 19 - 25 July 2008

Above all, it is an excellent course.
(F.J. Retief, Henry Fagan & Partners)

- Very interesting material and information. Well constructed, useful examples.
(Sebastian Rosochacki, Euro-Technology)


Johannesburg 6 - 12 September 2008

The course content and coverage of the finite element basics was extremely relevant and a must for anyone using finite elements.
(Mbizi Bright, Arcus Gibb)

*) The presenter's experience and knowledge on the subject as demonstrated by technical papers he has presented worldwide over the period of his practice are an asset to the engineering profession.
*) It is ideal that all his technical papers are compiled in a book to be used in universities.
*) SAICE should keep in stock copies of all of Roland's (the presenter) technical papers and encourage members to buy and read; and make reference to them in their designs of structures using FEM.
*) I encourage all practising structural engineers to use FEM.
*) It is my view that Roland's very valuable experience be shared by all practicing structural engineers. This can only be made possible by ECSA/SAICE advising members of the engineering profession in South Africa and the world at large of his authority in the subject.
*) It is very important that we make use of him and in turn reward him accordingly.
*) It should be realised that people of his calibre are rare to find.
(Victor Amaro Pr.Eng., Mokala Engineers International)


Johannesburg 8 - 14 November 2008

The course was running in a excellent manner. I got a great pleasure attending it along with plenty of useful and vital information on FEA that would definitely improve the quality of my future designs!
(Dzianis Yahorau, Hatch)

1. I found the course to be extremely interesting.
2. The course highlighted the critical issues of day-to-day 3D modelling issues and relevance of fundamental academic knowledge.
3. The speaker conveyed the message that software is not a substitution of knowledge and experience but merely an expression of expected results and enhancement of the engineering solution.
(Jerzy Kaleta, Hatch)

The course was Great. Thanks Roland for sharing with us your valuable knowledge and experience. No value can resemble what I have learnt at the course. It is true that the ability to think as an Engineer is critical especially during these days where software is available to everyone and where it is always assumed that what the system gives is true without basic checks.
(Julian Raphasha, Eskom Hendrina Power Station)

The course helps to make one aware of the Application of FEA. For me it highlighted how carefully critical one must be of the results of an analysis and have an understanding of how the results were determined.
(Stephen Keen, Hatch Africa)


Johannesburg 6 - 12 December 2008

Very important and relevant material covered. Insight gained on the strength of Application of Finite Element Analysis. However, the dangers of Finite Element Analysis due to incorrect modelling is an eye-opener and one should not utilize FEM without an understanding of the basic principles.
Practicals were very relevant and assist greatly with the understanding of FEM concepts. Presenter is very knowledgeable and adopts a concept of interaction between all (participants) during the course.
Overall impression: Excellent course that is well worth it. Recommended for all structural and mechanical engineers who utilize FEM.
(Gengan Govender, Nyeleti Consulting)

I rate this course as one of the best I have ever been on.
(Gerrit Venter, TWP Matomo Process Plant)

- Extremely useful. Much better than any of our in-house training on Structural software
- Thank you Roland for introducing me to a new world of FEM.
(Katia Taylor, Arup)

This course should be attended by any analyst/engineer prior to getting involved with FEA. The course was a real eye opener which shows the young/inexperienced engineer's possible pitfalls when setting up an FEA model and interpreting the results thereof.
I feel more confident now when analyzing a model with FE.
(Cobus McCabe, Coilmech)

I liked the fact that we did not only focus on the computer program, but also drew bending moment diagrams and tried to understand the behavior of the structures in general. The course material was fantastic.
(Mhairi Riddet, Arup)

This is undoubtedly one of the best technical courses that I have ever attended. Roland has been there, he has done it all and has got the T-Shirt. He is speaking from a base of complete mastery and understanding of his subject, and has delivered it in a way which was understandable. The course is invaluable to those who plan to work with F.Es.
(S G Nothard, S.G. Nothard & Associates.)


Johannesburg 28 February - 6 March 2009

The Finite Element Method in Practice course is a must for any one using FEA software without the knowledge of element behaviour. Concepts highlighted during the course will equip the designer with the tools to built and design FEA models in a proper and realistic way.
(Andrew Singosho, Arup)

Roland himself leaves one with a positive outlook on the benefits of proper modelling, and deposes his wealth of experience. For the highly specialised field of F.E.M., having a point of contact is invaluable.
(Jason Birelo, TWP)

Overall the course was informative and interesting covering a vast amount of information, from a practical and theoretical perspective. The knowledge and information which I have obtained will certainly be valuable when I apply it in practice.
(Spiros Sdralis, PDS civil Engineers)


Johannesburg 6 - 12 June 2009

Highly interesting, educational, refreshing, applicable, practical, alive, covering all fields of application. Worth our time, money and effort to attend in the extremely busy program we do find ourselves in. Highly recommendable for design engineers who have not attended this course before. Many things not 100% clear became extremely clear after this course.
(J.D. Bisschoff, Vela VKE)

This course has made a major contribution to my understanding of the FEA method and has enhanced my ability to solve practical problems efficiently and correctly using the Strand7 software. My overall experience on the course was very positive and rewarding - mainly through the expertise, patience and dedication of the presenter, Mr. Roland Prukl.
(K. Georgala, Pr.Eng., Knight Piésold (Pty) Ltd)

1. The Presenter maintained a structured and disciplined lecture & tutorial programme, but kept a relaxed & informal attitude, which assisted transfer of knowledge. I appreciated this.
2. The "Hands-on- advice during tutorials (examples) allowed me to understand my mistakes & correct them. This was excellent tutoring.
(Neville Green, Greensult Associates)

Mr Prukl's depth of experience on actual projects is appreciated. I am impressed with Mr Prukl's levels of energy.
(PL Reyneke Rand Water)


Cape Town 4 - 10 July 2009

A good encompassing course on the application of the FEM in practice. The presenter was pleasant and ready to help and answer any query or problem related to the application of FEM. Well done.
(Bruce Bintley, Vela VKE)

Very good course for all young engineers - the course presenter has great knowledge of the subject matter.
(Claire Kleynhans, BKS)

The readiness of the presenter to answer any practical question was much appreciated. I should hope to be in contact with him in the future to be advised on challenges I encounter in the future.
(Elsje Fraser, BKS)

Course was well constructed.
Enjoyed going through all the different sections.
(Jade Walker, Vela VKE Engineers)

The speaker has a great knowledge of the material and one can learn a lot from him.
(Lize Rossouw, Bergstan SA)

A very comprehensive course. It covers all areas of FEM (e.g. dynamic analysis and buckling analysis). Definitely recommended for engineers who will be modelling using a FE package.
(Mark Riddick WSP Structures)

I am grateful for having had the opportunity of attending !
Lots of information and knowledge gained.
(Matt Louw, Euro Technology)

Incredible insights gained into the inner workings of finite element analysis.
A thorough explanation of each type of element (nodes, beams, shells, 3D solids etc.) and its application.
It is my opinion that no engineer should be allowed to use a FEA before attending a course like this.
(Pieter Visser, Bergstan)


Durban 17 - 21 August 2009

An excellent course !
I would definitely like to repeat the course in a few years time.
(Clint van Heerden, Ethekwini Municipality)

The course is practical, with little theory, real-life examples are evaluated and dealt with.
An excellent guide to using F.E.A. in practice, with clear guidance on pitfalls, mistakes and things to look out for.
(Marek Karcz, Aurecon Group)

The course was extremely informative and interesting. Very applicable to any structural design engineer (A MUST).
One of the best courses I have ever been on.
(Anthony Cave, Iliso)

The course was very rewarding and interesting..
I learned a lot about finite elements as well as general structural analysis.
(Adhir Imrith, Arup)

An excellent course presented by a very knowledgeable lecturer. The context was extensive and covered a wide range of FEM issues, from basic to fairly complex. I have definitely benefited from this course. It was well worth the time and effort of attending.
Mr. Prukl's knowledge is extensive and well conveyed to the audience.
(Mark Howard, Goba)


Johannesburg 13 - 19 November 2009

My summary: "Great course !!! (Che Smit, PBA Projects)

The course was well presented and I have learned a great deal more about FEM that I didn't know before. I'am confident that I will be able to apply it when I return to work.
(Juan-Emil Saayman, Projects and Industrial Engineering)

The course went a long way in teaching me new techniques to improve my ability to do structural analysis. It was well worth it.
(Jetame Poonan, Arup)

The course was very good and covered more than just finite elements. The speaker was very good and had a lot of experience to answer questions.
(Emmanuel Makhele, Arup)


Johannesburg 5 - 11 December 2009

The course is a must for someone using software employing finite element analysis.
Johan van der Walt, I.J. van der Walt Consulting Engineers

I found the practical aspect of the course thoroughly enjoyable. It was a very powerful tool to demonstrate the large volume of theory attached to the course. An overall impression was that the course was very well organised, logical in structure and mentally stimulating.
Mark Midgley, Ritchie Midgley


Feedback from the bosses who sent people to the courses

" An excellent course for understanding the fundamentals of FEA - essential for every user of FEA in structural and mechanical engineering. Also very useful in gaining a better understanding of structural dynamics.- (Willem van Schalkwyk, Manager Structural Engineering, Anglo Technical Division, Johannesburg)

“Pheko Montwedi, who attended the course has reported as follows:
’The course has built my confidence regarding the use of finite element modelling, taught me the importance of modelling correctly and, VERY IMPORTANTLY, taught me to question, question and question the results.’
May I add that it gives me some comfort that the staff we have sent on the course have gained an insight into the power and pitfalls of finite elements more effectively than we could have done in-house. Thank you.”
(Henry de Wet, Chief Design Engineer, Protekon, Johannesburg)

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Course Photos

27-31 October 2003

View of Johannesburg


A steep path is lying ahead


The course has started


With Mero cube and pencil


Can these results be trusted?


Relaxing at tea break




Stop! You can't do it like that!


We have reached the summit


Party time


Professor Dr. M. Mulenga from Zambia

I know the recipe for koeksisters


In deep thoughts

Dream time

At moonlight


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Course Photos

Cape Town - 26 July - 30 July 2006


Durban - 17 July - 21 July 2006


Johannesburg - 3 July - 7 July 2006


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The cost of the 5 1/2 -day course is R 9800,00 (incl.VAT) which includes light lunches, teas and a comprehensive set of course notes.
People registering before 15 February 2010 will be able to attend at a discounted rate of R9000,00 (incl VAT).

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Course Format

On the Saturday preceeding the course there will be an introduction to the finite element program Strand7 from 08:00 until 12:00. This introduction is free of charge and the participants are not obliged to attend the main course.

The main courses are held from Monday to Friday. Work will commence at 07:00 and will finish at 18:00.
The attendance will be limited to 20 delegates on a first-come first-served basis. It is therefore essential to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

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