Tolerance management

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Winning strategies for tolerance management

Balancing quality and cost throughout the product development process

In technical drawings, geometric and dimensional tolerances indicate the acceptable limits of mechanical variations in components. These variations are unavoidable due to the inherent imperfection of all manufacturing and assembly processes; they also tend to propagate within a product, often presenting amplification effects.
To avoid negative impacts on product requirements and functionality, variations should be managed using Dimensional Management: this method is an essential part of the product development process and is imperative for all companies wanting to maximize their profit margins and competitiveness.

Optimal tolerance management is achieved through careful preliminary analysis and effective quality control strategies based on a rigorous approach to engineering, and effective collaboration between design, industrialization, production, supply chain, and quality control.

The objective is to BE PRECISE ONLY WHERE NECESSARY. This means that while the use of wide tolerances will make production processes more cost-effective, this is often at the expense of product performance/functionality; on the other hand, strict tolerances will guarantee high quality but negatively impact production costs. Finding a compromise is essential.

This requires:

  • Standardized technical language
    Providing technical documentation in a common language to facilitate clear and unambiguous communication between all parties involved in the product development process is key. This is now dictated by international standards and regulations such as ISO geometrical product specifications (GPS) and ASME geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T).
  • Tolerance analysis to calculate the tolerance chain and predict its impact on product requirements
    This is the only method currently available for assessing the amplitude values of the tolerances intended to be used in the design. It allows the potential risks of tolerances to be identified and resolved before the product is industrialized, simultaneously optimizing product value. The most important potential benefits include increased productivity, greater repeatability in assembly processes (essential to avoid frequent downtimes of automated assembly lines), less production waste, fewer non-compliances to be managed and resolved, minimization of repairs/rework, and so on.

Moreover, this method and the various supporting tools are well-suited to use with the digitalization of all relevant product development information. By using new generic CAD interchange formats (STEP AP242 and/or QIF – Quality Information Framework), specifically introduced to support the radical digital transformation of manufacturing companies towards MBD (Model Based Definition), the various information steps between design, production, and quality control can be automated. This allows the full potential of new-generation industry 4.0 equipment to be fully leveraged, reducing human error in data transcription, and freeing time and resources to innovate products/processes rather than performing low-value tasks.

The stages of tolerance management

  •   Define product specifications based on functional requirements.
  •   Analyse the assembly process to identify: the interactions between different parts; the variability associated with different joint types (welded, glued, hole/shaft with/without play, etc.); and the tolerance chains.
  •   Assign tolerances, i.e. define the width of tolerances in the drawing to guarantee the required functionality and assembly requirements.
  •   Tolerance analysis, i.e. assess the impact of tolerances on product performance and assembly using dedicated analytical methods, spreadsheets, or CAT (Computer Aided Tolerancing) simulation software. The most frequently used approaches to analysis are worst-case or statistical. In this phase, product performance requirements are balanced against development cost assessments.
  •   Verify compliance, i.e. conduct dimensional checks to verify that the components meet the drawing specifications and are "in tolerance".
  •   Iterate and optimize, i.e. adapt the specifications, tolerances, or production processes as necessary if deviations or anomalies arise.
Winning strategies for tolerance management

EnginSoft’s tolerance management services

With our experience across a wide range of industries, from automotive and mechanical engineering, to aerospace, medical and more, we support you in optimizing your products using simulation.



We place our expertise and many years of experience in tolerance management at your disposal, whether it be for a single project or to implement a method for your entire production process.

  •   Verify the compliance of technical drawings with regulations
  •  Calculate 1D and 3D tolerance chains
  •  Include PMI (Product Manufacturing Information) annotations in 3D CAD models for MBD
  •  Map business processes concerning dimensional management to implement solutions and tools that are best suited to business needs (dimensional data management between design, manufacturing, and dimensional checks)
software technologies


EnginSoft’s portfolio includes several software technologies for tolerance management that we recommend after careful analysis of each customer’s needs. We also provide dedicated technical support for each technology.

  •   ΕΖtol to calculate one-dimensional (1D) tolerance chains.
  •   Cetol 6σ, the most complete solution for managing dimensional and geometric tolerances, able to predict impacts of 3D interactions.
  •   MBDVidia and CompareVidia to implement the MBD method.


We offer a wide range of training courses – scheduled, on-demand and customized – designed to meet the varying needs of individuals and/or the company in which they work.

  •   ISO-GPS, ASME-GD&T standards
  •   Tolerance analysis and model-based definition
  •   Software technologies training
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Method training and transfer

Training is key to effectively using and applying tolerance management in your company.
Our experienced instructors can provide courses in person at your premises, in our training centre, or online in a virtual classroom.

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ISO-GPS (Geometrical Product Specification) and tolerance analysis

ISO-GPS is a standardized technical language that enables the robust practical application of Dimensional Management through functional description of the dimensional/geometric requirements and unambiguous specifications. Its prescriptions are used to describe the dimensional and geometric variations that can be accepted in the production of a single component, it clearly indicates what you need to measure and allows to explicitly control all the aspects of such variations.

tolerances cetol training

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CETOL 6σ: software training for 3D tolerance analysis

Tolerances propagate, often experiencing amplifications, among the individual parts of a product trough contacts, leading to potential negative effect on the assemblability and product performance/quality.

cetol tolerances training

training courses


The training course on geometric product specification and tolerance analysis addresses the issues related to tolerance management and the approach known as "Dimensional Management", which defines the activities involved and their sequence for achieving the desired quality at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of training courses – scheduled, on-demand and customized – designed to meet the varying needs of individuals and/or the company in which they work: SO-GPS, ASME-GD&T standards, Tolerance analysis and model-based definition, and Software technologies training.

cetol tolerances

Software Technologies

Discover the features of tolerance management software.



The fully integrated 3D tolerance analysis software tool

The fully integrated 3D tolerance analysis software tool provides the invaluable insight needed to confidently release designs for manufacture and inform the selection of appropriate tolerances to achieve your variation goals efficiently.

cetol eztol gdtadvisor tollerances



The 1D tolerance stack up analysis tool

EZtol is a 1-Dimensional tolerance stackup analysis program designed to assist in understanding the impact of the accumulation of part-level dimensional variation and sources and the impact that they have on assembly-level requirements.

eztol cetol gdtadvisor


GD&T Advisor

The interactive software solution to guide the designer or engineer towards the correct application of GD&T

GD&T Advisor the interactive software solution to guide the designer or engineer towards the correct application of GD&T, based on CETOL 6σ Precise Constraint Technology

eztol cetol gdtadvisor



MBD Workflow & CAD Translation

Your valuable native cad data is now open for use and re-use in any en¬vironment.

tolerances cetol mbdvidia comparevidia



Derivative CAD Validation & Revision Comparison

CompareVidia is an easy-to-use application for validating and comparing CAD models.

tolerances cetol mbdvidia comparevidia

Expertise in tolerance management

Some case studies on tolerance management.


ISEO adopts Cetol 6σ for a global approach to dimensional management

Technical collaboration and support from EnginSoft key to achieving maximum benefit from the solution

This case study describes ISEO’s project to introduce a global dimensional management approach based on CETOL6σ that starts from the product concept phase and includes design development and prototyping and extends on to cover all other phases of production through to the finished product, with the guidance and support of EnginSoft.

tolerances cetol mechanics


Tolerances analysis on a nitrogen spring

EnginSoft models technical product modifications to enable Special Springs to satisfy a customer request at the minimum cost

Special Springs commissioned EnginSoft’s engineers to calculate the production cost repercussions of a technical product modification requested by an important customer.

eztol mechanics cetol tolerances


Development of a methodology and tools for tolerances in vehicle electrification to meet future customer demand and ensure competitive advantage

EnginSoft and Metasystem develop design validation, verification methodology for highperformance on-board chargers for electric vehicles

This article describes how EnginSoft supported Metasystem in acquiring the know-how to satisfy future customer requests on the one hand, and to create projects that are as profitable as possible in terms of waste minimization, on the other hand.

automotive tolerances cetol


Simulating the multiphysics of a residual current device

Ensuring the safety of users around electrical contacts

This article examines the simulation of an RCD to determine the factors that affect its response times.

appliances ansys cetol recurdyn tolerances


New Ferry boat: Emax 2 circuit breaker tolerance analysis for maximum efficiency in panelbuilding

EnginSoft engineers help ABB optimize the Emax 2 design to allow ABB’s client IMESA to create a highly compact switchgear column for a state-of-the-art ferryboat

In this technical case study, we illustrate how EnginSoft engineers helped ABB to optimize the design of the Emax2 project.

tolerances cetol electronics mechanics eztol