Capture, transfer and retain critical product and process knowledge
As companies grow, often via global expansion, the design and manufacture of products may involve diverse teams speaking multiple languages across different time zones. Compounding these challenges is the fact that the tribal knowledge used to achieve historical successes seldom transfers well, and the people with the knowledge move to another company or retire. Continued success in such challenging environments requires disciplined adherence to well-established processes. In the realm of mechanical variation, the process starts by implementing tools and methods enabling design engineers to determine the maximum part tolerances that will still result in high-quality products. Cutting corners here only cuts into your bottom line, as the tolerances specified have a direct impact on the product cost.
Industry-leading companies also establish effective communication methods throughout their organizations, as well as with their vendors and customers. In the realm of mechanical variation, the most effective communication requires the use of GD&T/GPS. Traditional tolerancing methods are simply too ambiguous and often require clarification found in obscure documentation residing in manufacturing and inspection plans. Reaping the rewards of improved communication requires investment in your employees and software tools. This ensures that the language is applied and understood consistently by all.
To be most effective throughout the life of the product, the dimension scheme and tolerance definitions must be defined by analysis, and the analysis data should be stored with the design data source. Doing so guarantees that those who support manufacturing and inspection have access to all information that may be helpful in troubleshooting issues that arise. Furthermore, future design teams will benefit from being able to modify the work previously done instead of starting from scratch.
Sigmetrix’s solutions enable you to address these challenges and ensure success by:
- Addressing challenges related to loss of “tribal knowledge” and workforce attrition
- Democratizing the depth and breadth of understanding
- Making data and insights easily accessible to everyone
- Enabling a consistent/common language and approach
Addressing challenges related to loss of “tribal knowledge” and workforce attrition
Dimensional controls within a model are critical to the management of variation. Without them manufacturing has no idea how critical surfaces relate or how precise a particular machining operation needs to be to achieve the Workforce attrition and the loss of “tribal knowledge” is a challenge for many companies but is especially challenging when dealing with mechanical variation. Often, the knowledge of how to effectively deal with the reality of mechanical variation is understood by a few key manufacturing people. Losing this knowledge can have a significant impact on a company’s ability to maintain its expected quality levels and profitability. This is often-times because traditional education programs only cover topics such as GD&T and tolerance analysis briefly within a larger design for manufacturing class. Most of the knowledge related to mechanical variation management is learned on the job. Many experts have established small businesses to address this need in the industry, but there are differences of opinions and approaches among these experts so there is limited consistency. Sigmetrix has recognized this challenge and has spent the last 20 years developing solutions that help companies have a comprehensive and consistent approach to educating the next generation of employees to properly deal with the realities of mechanical variation management.
Democratizing the depth and breadth of understanding
Most companies today depend on the knowledge of a few experts within the company to help them deal with the management of mechanical variation. Proper understanding of mechanical variation management requires a working understanding of many different disciplines within the engineering design, manufacturing, and inspection process. Since formal education programs are limited, this knowledge is typically gained through years of hands-on experience. This limits a company’s ability to effectively distribute the workload. Sigmetrix has always focused on developing the tools and training necessary to help address this problem. This diverse, expert knowledge has been embedded into our software tools in a way that can help guide less experienced users to make informed decisions. We have also developed training that supplements our software to help promote additional learning and understanding. This training is available in many forms including formal classes, on-demand computer-based learning and in-tool context sensitive help.
Making data and insights easily accessible to everyone
The insights gained from performing a tolerance analysis can be far reaching and often affect decisions made in other organizations within the company. It is therefore important that the insights are clear and accessible so that everyone can come to the same conclusion, whether they be in the same company or elsewhere within the supply chain. Consistency in assumptions and the approaches used are critical to this endeavor. There must be a common understanding of tolerance specifications and their impact on manufacturing and inspection. Sigmetrix products provide this consistent approach for performing tolerance analysis within the context of the CAD definition. This connection with the geometry gives consumers of various skill levels a better frame of reference for understanding the impact of mechanical variation.
Enabling a consistent/common language and approach
Without a common or consistent language around the subject of mechanical variation management, inefficiencies can occur within an organization. Time is lost trying to translate or interpret the information provided, and the chance of a misunderstanding increases. These misunderstandings can be very costly to an organization when product quality and producibility is on the line. Eliminating these misunderstandings can also impact how you manage your supply chain. How often have you wanted to compare or change supply chain vendors and not been able to because of a lack of consistent information? Sigmetrix provides a comprehensive solution that is based on a consistent approach that helps alleviate these challenges. Topics referenced in the training courses are consistent with how those same topics are presented within the various software tools. The reports generated by these tools are also consistent in how the data is presented. This helps to eliminate the ambiguity that may come from getting different reports from different projects or suppliers.