Tolerance Analysis: Simulation Software instead of Excel Formulas
The first step you can take towards implementing a new quality assurance strategy is to deploy simulation software based on the statistical tolerance calculation methodology.
This type of software lets your experts do the testing at their workstations. They develop virtual prototypes and resolve the core questions of tolerance analysis: Which geometry is important in terms of whether or not a certain requirement is fulfilled? How does it actually contribute to the quality of the product? Which geometries involve special tolerance requirements? Which geometries are less important, and where are wider tolerances acceptable?
By gaining an understanding of the effects of manufacturing deviations on the behavior and quality of the product, you ensure that your engineering fulfills the requirements contained in the specifications. Simultaneously, it offers an ideal cost-benefit ratio with respect to tolerances.
Virtual Measurement data for shorter time-to-market Cycles
The design phase is complete when the development division forwards the virtual prototype, including the tolerance concept (reference system and tolerances), to serial development.
Serial development likewise follows different paths than it used to. As workflows progress, the virtual prototype becomes a virtual (pre-)product, and this delivers virtual measurement data. From this data, the engineers can assess what the critical tolerances and processes in serial manufacturing may be. This in turn lets them determine the optimal measurement strategy.
Additionally, the virtual product can be used to develop assembly and fixture concepts and simulate the manufacturing and assembly processes.
From virtual Reality to real Virtuality
Before starting serial manufacturing, let’s look back over our shoulder. Traditionally, the engineers work with a CAD program that, from the point of view of actual production conditions, represents an abstract, ideal world. In such a development environment, the engineers can only rely on their experience when attempting to reconcile product design with reality.
By setting up the virtual product, your experts have brought the design into a virtual reality in which they can simulate important physical behavior dimensions.
Now we’ll take this a step further, because once serial manufacturing begins, and also during the earlier phases of prototyping and pre-series production, you acquire real-world measurement data.
Based on these data, you can now reconcile the virtual prototype with the real world:
- Overall, what significant differences are there between the real and the virtual measurement data, and what are the causes of these deviations?
- Are the assumptions made in the simulation model correct, or are there additional/ other factors that must be considered?
- In reality, is the component being manufactured in the way that was assumed during simulation?
By reconciling the virtual prototype with real conditions and progressively approximating the two, one gains a model which we describe as the digital quality twin. If you decide you don’t need a real-time linkage between reality and the virtual counterpart, you get the precursor of the digital twin: The digital shadow.
Using the Digital Twin Technology concept to leverage cutting-edge Business Strategies
The list below indicates only a few of the potential benefits:
- Your business accumulates software-based knowledge, which leads to improved analyses and projections.
- You achieve a higher DRIFT quota (“do it right the first time”) and are able to bring products to market more quickly.
- You can actually begin to control and regulate manufacturing processes on a quality basis.
- As an enterprise that relies on innovative manufacturing, you can use the digital quality twin to ensure a positive ROI for your expenditures.
- A potential future use: For remote maintenance, the data of the component groups of a delivered machine are uploaded from the measuring archive to the digital quality twin of the series in order to search for errors.
This brief overview offers you an idea of the principal strength of the digital twin technology concept: It provides leverage for new business strategies.
The digital quality twin can therefore play an important role in securing the future of your business. This means that it benefits all stakeholders in your company. Nevertheless, you will encounter many people who want to defend the status quo.