In complex products such as an OBC, the tolerances assigned to the individual parts propagate through the contacts and are amplified which can potentially impact heavily on the final product quality. It is, therefore, important to validate the design in advance and then verify it to pre-emptively predict their impact and mitigate the effects.
The term “design validation” in this context thus referred to the calculations of the propagation of tolerances created during the design phase to predict whether and how much the tolerances would affect the ability to meet the product requirements, prior to prototyping the first components. Armed with this information, the designers can intervene with corrective actions to improve the quality of the final product.
By nature, these calculations are complex and three-dimensional and require the use of dedicated software to obtain reliable results in a reasonable amount of time for industry. For these reasons, EnginSoft uses Cetol 6σ, developed by US-based Sigmetrix, to undertake these projects.
A further consideration that should not be underestimated is the geometric specification of the products: in recent years, the standards ISO 1101:2017, ISO 8015:2011, and ASME Y14.5-2018, which describe the geometric and dimensional variability of the tolerances represented in technical drawings, have been updated. The resulting geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) language makes it possible to functionally describe components unambiguously. This is fundamental for tolerance propagation calculations that quantify quality because it enables the generation of unquestionable results.
The use of this language is therefore integral to the methodology.
During “design verification”, the real measurements of the prototype parts, produced from the models created during the “design validation” phase, were inserted into the software for the purposes of data reusability. This phase will enable designers to verify virtually (and therefore immediately), the impact of any aspect that is “out of tolerance” and quantify its effect on final quality. This will then enable informed decisions to be made about any corrective actions to be taken to avoid contestation of the supply by the customer. The success of this phase is determined by the dimensional controls.
In particular, the measurements must be taken in accordance with the project specifications. The use of the GD&T’s standardized and unambiguous syntax also facilitates this, resulting in dimensional and geometric descriptions that are, by nature, suitable for evaluation with particular tools such as coordinate measuring machines (CMM), 3D optical scanners, or laser systems that accurately describe the surfaces by generating point clouds. Instrumentation then acquires these point clouds which are processed by the software, allowing the designer to “align” the scan of the actual part with its ideal model (a 3D CAD) to assess its compliance with the design tolerances.