Deliver more innovative products through better understanding of mechanical variation

Product and process innovation will always be critical to the long-term success of any organization. Product development may include derivative projects that provide incremental improvements to existing products and reduce costs; platform projects that have major revisions and next gen products as well as additions to the product line​; and breakthrough projects including new product lines, “new to world” products and radical innovations​. There is a misconception in some organizations that innovation and the successful management/understanding of mechanical variation are unrelated and potentially in conflict. This misconception comes from traditional practices where manufacturing and quality engineers are not engaged until late in the development process. Traditional tolerance stack-ups are performed once the design is complete and the dimensioning scheme and initial tolerances have been determined.​ Competency in mechanical variation management can support and accelerate product innovation.

Traditional views on the management and understanding of mechanical variation have stifled innovation in some companies and limited them to only developing derivative products. The best-performing companies see how a consistent understanding of mechanical variation throughout an organization and the ability to quickly simulate sensitivity to variation in concepts leads to more innovative, breakthrough products.​ This is from several factors, including being able to:

  • Check product/process feasibility before costly investment ​
  • Compare multiple product/process concepts ​early in the process
  • Remove barriers to innovation imposed by dependence on legacy tools/processes​
  • Provide insights that allow exploration of breakthrough change​
  • Analyze product concepts that had been considered too difficult to model​

Check product/process feasibility before costly investment

Dimensional controls within a model are critical to the management of variation.  Without them manufacturing has no

Maybe you’d like to compare multiple product/process concepts before a costly investment​. Our solutions allow you to visualize how current tolerances and product design will affect yield and quality. You can quickly make changes to the highest contributors of error and recalculate for immediate results, enabling multiple iterations. The ability to view multiple concepts digitally early on reduces the amount of time needed for prototyping/design concepts, and allows time for more ideas, and more ideas can lead to more innovation.

Traditionally, tolerance stacks were modeled once the product design and drawings were complete. If the stack-up revealed a problem, there were few changes that could be made at that point in the design process. Most of the changes were limited to tightening part tolerances, thus driving up manufacturing cost and/or increasing the likelihood of scrapped parts.​

By allowing more of the physical prototyping to become digital, we can compress the time cycle and foster more innovation.

Compare multiple product/process concepts early in the design process​ 

Building tolerance models quickly with rough CAD geometry, surfaces, or construction features allows you to check product/ feasibility early in the process​. This allows you to eliminate concepts that would be too costly or impossible to produce. Then you’ll be able to make informed decisions based on sensitivity and robustness of design taking into consideration your manufacturing, assembly, and inspection processes.

Our solutions allow for visualization of how product design and manufacturing or assembly concepts will affect sensitivity and robustness​. This information allows for comparing the robustness of concepts early in the product and process design stages before manufacturing/assembly processes are fully fleshed out.  The engineers can see trends and decide on the best concepts before the detailed design process begins.​

Remove barriers to innovation imposed by dependence on legacy tools/processes 

When engineers rely on legacy tools that are based on an existing design, they can be reluctant to try new concepts ​. Trying to include innovative change in these legacy tools can be difficult at best.  This often leads to settling for only derivative products that can allow competitors to gain market advantage​.

Many companies, especially companies that manufacture complex products, have internally developed spreadsheets or tools that allow design engineers to enter the dimension loop and tolerance values for their current design project and determine if the tolerance values are acceptable. Many of these internally developed tools are only 1D but overcome this limitation by including assumptions and “fudge factors” based on years of empirical data and “hands on” observations.

As engineering teams become dependent on structured tools based on legacy designs, new ideas can be discouraged. Ideas of transferring power through a more direct route or increasing reliability by designing geometrically unique interfaces are dismissed because they won’t work with the existing spreadsheet. This kills innovation and gives competitors the ability to leap past these companies.​

Giving engineers the knowledge of how variation impacts their design and the tools to simulate that design quickly and easily in a 3D environment allows them to break free from “tool constrained” design ideas.​

Provide insights that allow exploration of breakthrough change

Prototype, pilot, and test builds can provide valuable information during the development of a new product. However, physical prototypes have limitations:

  • Don’t typically allow your team to “look inside” the product to determine how part features interact in the real world.​
  • Don’t reveal non-intuitive effects of the design on critical-to-function specifications. ​
  • Don’t allow for quick “what if” testing of design ideas​.
  • Don’t always help the engineer understand “why” the design is acting the way it is.​

Sigmetrix Solutions give your organization the ability model your product/process design ideas and investigate the model to see the outcome​.

Analyze product concepts that had been considered too difficult to model

The performance of complex systems can be highly sensitive to mechanical variation​. Systems based on derivative design and manufacturing processes can rely on years of empirical data to predict performance​. Even with data, it is still difficult to determine how mechanical variation is affecting performance​. What is needed is the ability to model variation, predict performance and visualize part and feature sensitivity for complex systems without the need of expensive physical testing​.

When going through the design/prototyping phase, wild and crazy concepts get thought of all the time. It’s not always possible to take these ideas all the way out to the prototyping/analysis phase due to cost and time requirements. A company would need to build and test prototypes to collect this data and even then, they may not have a full understanding of how variation is impacting the system.​ With Sigmetrix solutions it is a lot simpler to get the kind of feasibility data you need quickly!