Manufacturing Simulation Takes Tolerance Analysis to the Next Level
Tolerance Analysis often refers to just part tolerance stacks, leaving out a large piece of the big picture
Common tolerance analysis determines the combined variation from a series of interconnected parts in a one-dimensional or two-dimensional stack, such as below. Done commonly in Excel, these analyses are excellent for quick answers and simple assemblies. They do fall short quickly when you need to consider larger number of components, parts in three-dimensional configurations, and of course, starting over every time there is a design change or different output needed. The example below also depicts some complications with even a basic one dimensional stack.
So What? What Does This Have to Do With Manufacturing Simulation?
Manufacturing Simulation is the consideration of the assembly process and manufacturing processes used on the parts and assembly.
This is important, as the assembly sequence can add variation, the use or lack of use of fixtures and tooling can alter tolerances and add or reduce variation, and of course, manufacturing processes of fixing components together can change their position, deform them, and cause other variation.
Additional variation from manufacturing processes can take the form of multiple assembly stages. Do the components get placed in fixtures for welds before attachment in the final assembly? Does it require a best fit scenario? !D stacks and vector loop analysis do not take these additional factors into consideration and can therefore give an incomplete answer.
Being able to simulate your build through different stages allows for the inclusion of both additional variation from previous steps as well as reduction in variation from the use of tooling and fixtures. Modeling these steps can accurately predict the variation from your production line, rather than just the stacked parts in your final assembly. Interested in seeing this kind of analysis first hand?