Fatigue failure is a common problem with bolted joints. Preloading can often offer great advantage, in that it reduces the intensity of the alternative part of strains. Although it is more and more usual to carry out very precise finite element calculations, it should be highlighted that the error arising from simulations or experiments may be surprisingly great when looking at supplements of strain, i.e. alternative strain.

That is one of the reasons why designing preloaded bolted joints requires great care, and sometimes turns out to be impractical.

A partnership has been established for several years with a group of industrial manufacturers and users of slewing bearings. The objective is to model a parameterised bolt-assembled slewing bearing system and to develop a simulation tool that

• allows us to check resistance of the bolts for maximum load as well as fatigue load

• runs much faster than a three-dimensional simulation in order to enable us to compare multiple configurations, in order to be used in early design stages.

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