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Priority status: 10 reasons why dimensional engineering deserves it

Jul 11, 2014 10:25:00 AM

Priority Status: 10 Reasons Why Dimensional Engineering Deserves It

A well-defined dimensional engineering (DE) process allows for the collection, analysis and application of meaningful variation measurements from design all the way through production. A process solid enough to offer these advantages is not a luxury – today, it’s a requirement for optimal engineering outcomes. Here are ten reasons why...


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  1. Establish clear design objectives, based on critical features.

Strong DE identifies the most critical features to a product’s overall quality, which can be used to set build objectives. When a team focuses on what’s critical, a robust design process ensues.


  1. Develop practical cost and quality targets.

It’s easy to set cost and quality goals that sound good. But it’s a waste of time and energy if they don’t turn out to be feasible. A proper DE process will ensure that isn’t the case.  


  1. Keep up with increased automation.

Automation’s cycle time reductions leave limited windows of time to verify that products meet established tolerances and dimensional specifications. The DE process should allow teams to keep up with increased throughput rates, while maintaining cost and quality goals.


  1. Optimize component tolerances.

A successful DE process requires successful tolerance analysis. Such analysis predicts each assembly’s dimensional variability and pinpoints sources of variation, which can be used to better a product’s design and assembly processes.  


  1. Minimize time spent reworking or repairing parts.

Scrapped parts and reworks often result when specifications are not validated until manufacturing is underway. A strong DE process includes the evaluation of design and assembly concepts in the product development lifecycle’s earliest stages.



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  1. Maximize fit and function.

Sometimes manufacturers are faced with parts that fail inspection, but fit and function properly when assembled. Then, there are the times when parts pass inspection, but do not fit with other parts and assemblies. The DE process can help to deter each of these cases.


  1. Maintain strong manufacturer/vendor relationships.

Manufacturers and vendors may disagree over whether parts are dimensionally correct. Or, they may have different understandings of design intent. The DE process should supply data that illustrates dimensional accuracy and keeps communications clear.


  1. Drive down costs.

There are many areas in which the DE process can reduce costs. For example: DCS research shows that nearly 70 percent of a product’s cost commitment occurs in the earliest 5 to 10 percent of the development cycle. Being able to minimize errors in these early stages assures financial benefits.


  1. Maximize the use of measurement data by creating a closed-loop process.

A closed-loop approach provides feedback from actual product manufacturing to the concept phase to validate and continuously improve design methodologies employed in the organization’s structure. This approach closes the product lifecycle management loop, ensuring product integrity from start to finish. The DE process should allow engineers to quickly pinpoint issues as early as preproduction and then correct them as needed.


  1. Relieve organizational pressure.

As the industry advances, organizations are continuously under pressure to provide products of higher quality at competitive prices. Entrusting a solid DE process to ensure achievement of cost and quality goals takes pressure off of manufacturing teams.


By Kristy Erdodi updated from DCS's previous blog


If you have questions about strengthening your company’s DE process or questions/comments in general, please contact: Ben Reese at breese@3dcs.com, or visit us at www.3dcs.com

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