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Method & Tools for Geometric Variation Management

Benoît Marguet, European Aeronautic Space & Defense Company
Presented June 14, 2001 at the ADCATS 2001 Conference

Producibility improvement is a major challenge for Airbus Industry. This improvement has to go through a better product assimilability. In order to reach this goal, effects of manufacturing variations must be reduced and managed. However, variation reduction is efficient only if it has been undertaken early in the design cycle and if it has a positive return on the product cost. Two questions are then asked: how to manage effect of variations as early as preliminary design and what product characteristics are most sensitive to variations? In order to answer these two questions, the E.A.D.S Corporate Research has proposed a pragmatic and industrial method based on different tools. The main idea of our method is that geometrical variation flows belong to the assembly process. The final product quality depends not only on the design solution and geometrical accuracy but also on the assembly sequence. Identifying the most promising assembly sequence allows one to minimize the impact of geometrical variations. Based on this principle, the first step of the method is to identify where are the Key Characteristics for the product. This identification uses a top-down process going from functional product requirements to geometrical characteristics. Relative to this KC identification, our method performs then a qualitative product analysis in order to eliminate the worst assembly sequences. This analysis is based on oriented graphs. At last a quantitative tolerance analysis allows to select the most promising assembly sequence.

Benoit Marguet is a research engineer with the Producibility group of EADS Corporate Research Center. He has been with EADS for five years, working on Hardware Variability Control process, tolerance analysis software and Lean Assembly. He also spent one year with Dan Whitney's team at MIT as research assistant.


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