James Stoddard, President
Manufacturers across the U.S. face continual pressure to produce and deliver quality products to their consumers. As most of them have manufacturing facilities worldwide, their ability to ensure their products maintain the levels of quality demanded by their customers is extremely challenging. The first step to ensuring parts will assemble and products will perform as desired is to complete the necessary tolerance analyses, or simulations of the impact of dimensional variation, during the design phase before beginning the transition to production.
Sigmetrix is a company providing engineers with software tools, services, and training to help them perform tolerance analyses, understand the effect of mechanical variation on their designs, make improvements to reduce cost while maintaining quality, and author complete and correct Geometric Dimensions and Tolerances (GD&T). By investing the time upfront before any physical parts and prototype are made, companies can reduce, or perhaps even eliminate, the number of prototypes required and avoid unexpected surprises causing production halts.
CETOL6σ, their flagship 3D tolerance analysis solution, works directly with models from most major CAD systems, , including SOLIDWORKS, it is integrated directly into the CAD environment working alongside all the tools used to create the part geometry, drawings, and other specifications. Such integration enables the engineer to understand the accumulation of variation at the time that the designs are first being generated instead of waiting until the end of the design process, and just prior to the design being released to production. Access to such insights earlier can lead to design improvements that only require a few mouse clicks instead of modification of fixtures, retooling, rev control, and any of the other expensive activities needed to change the design once production has started. It is common for the high costs of changing a design once production has started to prohibit changes that could result in significant cost reductions, so it’s important to identify improvements as early as possible.
Most design engineers don’t need to use a tolerance analysis tool every week or even every month, so we are constantly striving to make the software as easy to use as possible
Companies that are not making such improvements ultimately lose market share to those that do.
Defining the CETOL model for analysis is straightforward, involving 3 main steps:
1. Define the assembly model consisting of the important distances and angles to be evaluated, the parts within the assembly that control the items being evaluated, and how the parts interact with one another— the assembly constraints.
2. Define the dimensioning scheme with associated tolerances for the critical features on each of the included parts identified during step 1.
3. Running the analysis and using the results and several visualizations to understand and improve the design.
“CETOL 6σ simultaneously supports two analysis types, worst-case and statistical, which is usually a better predictor of what will happen during production. For the initial statistical analysis, CETOL6σ uses distributions assumed from the supplied tolerances, but the user has full control of the assumptions down to the individual feature level. “After transitioning to production, companies may enter the distributions from the measurement data for a better prediction of the assembly performance,” explains James Stoddard, Sigmetrix’s president.
The ability to make complex engineering analyses understandable and simple is one of Sigmetrix’s many differentiating factors. “Most design engineers don’t need to use a tolerance analysis tool every week or even every month, so we are constantly striving to make the software as easy to use as possible,” states Stoddard. “Customers have really appreciated our efforts to provide guidance through the user interface, a comprehensive help system, and over 40 short videos explaining the basics of the various tools.”
Through its team of experts and comprehensive tools, Sigmetrix has become a market leader in the industry helping companies worldwide to produce higher quality products at lower costs.