The visualized „colored pictures” from the post-processor provide a first good and illustrative presentation of results. However, you should not put too much trust into them. In order to interpret and evaluate the simulation results correctly it is recommended to take a closer look at the export files which are usually provided in form of report- or text files. Results like displacements, forces or stresses can be imported into a spreadsheet program to be further processed. Some FE-programs have a direct interface, e.g. as a *.csv-format, which significantly facilitates the exchange of data for the spreadsheet program.
This raises the question what new insights can be gained through that. Usually the result visualization in the post-processor is sufficient for the easy interpretation of results, as stated above. Here, critical parts in the components can be detected very fast and the results of these can be displayed. However, if you need to determine the hardening depth of a cog from a cogwheel in a specific area, it is possible to calculate the principal shear stresses from the difference of the principal stresses. The relative principal shear stress can be plotted in a diagram by using the depth-coordinate, whereby this ideally results in a pitch to the middle of the loaded cog.
Besides the export of result data, various FE-programs provide the possibility to export pictures and videos. This can be helpful for creating reports or presentations about the simulation results.
Another option is the result presentation as a statistic function. This allows for example to estimate the percentage based stress distribution in a component. Often singularities appear in the calculated model, owing to the cross-linkage. With a statistic it can be assessed what percentage of the maximal stress is present in the model. The simulation engineer has to conclude from the results if these stresses are relevant to safety or not.
Also cross-linked and with boundary conditions provided models can be recalculated with other FE-programs to get comparative calculation results. This can be useful for companies which only have few licenses of commercial programs and want to run preparatory studies on freeware-programs or if the model shall be verified with another calculation kernel. However, it must be ensured that the files have the same format, in order to guarantee the portability of the model. If a comparative calculation of a model would be performed with two different programs, including a new pre-processing for both, the results would never be exactly the same. This is mainly owing to the different FE-meshes. With the new generation of printers, so called 3D-printers, the export can provide the possibility to create deformed and non-deformed structures from *.stl-files. The so created models can contribute to the optical and haptic demonstration during development. If a bridge is simulated under natural vibration, it is possible to print the particular natural frequencies of the models, which are evaluated by an expert. Especially since natural frequencies are often no longer imaginable in contrast to displacements.