4 Ways Excel is Failing Your Tolerance Analysis
Excel is a useful tool for a lot of applications, and can be used in a pinch for stack analysis, but it misses a lot of important features.
Excel can be used a for a lot of equation based applications. Many companies rely on it for their tolerance analysis; doing 1D stacks and stack-up analysis using Excel macros and Visual Basic code. For basic cases, this works great and can be a fast and effective way to get answers quickly, but as soon as products, models and requirements become more complex, Excel falls flat.
Integrated CAD tools give more accurate analysis results by incorporating additional influences
This means that your Excel answers might be misleading you, and can cause some embarrassing, and expensive, problems later on.
In what ways is Excel failing?
Here are 4 ways Excel is failing your tolerance analysis:
1. No 3D Influence
It is rare that all the parts in your product line up into a perfect linear line. Most often, there are parts arranged around your stack-up, and these part's tolerances will influence your linear stack. This 3 dimensional influence can cause more variation than you'd expect, and a 1D stack-up in Excel is not going to account for this.
Even with a linear stack-up, you can have angularity that will cause additional variation, or variation and issues unaccounted for in your Excel stack. These 3 dimensional issues are related to the geometry of the parts, and require a CAD-based approach to properly simulate and validate.
Not all scenarios can be calculated with an Excel 1D stack-up