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Icona Solutions, creator of the Aesthetica software, has said that Aesthetica users can now simulate the effects of manufacturing variation based on as-measured data from current production processes.

The novel capability provides a direct interface between Aesthetica and QMC’s CM4D product quality validation software, enabling measurement data collected by CM4D from inspection devices on the shop floor to be applied directly to a 3D computer-aided-design (CAD) model.

Data representing the variation of individual parts and underlying structures can be imported into Aesthetica along with detailed tolerance specification sheets defining the actual measured variation for specific materials and manufacturing processes.

The imported measurement data is applied directly to the digital model to distort and deform the geometry to accurately recreate the part and assembly variations observed during the actual manufacturing process.

Perceived quality issues can then be visualised and reviewed in real time within Aesthetica at the concept development stage of a new product or product model, while the 3D CAD model is still evolving.

John Maxfield, technical director at Icona Solutions, said: ‘This new capability enables designers and engineers involved in the concept phases of a new product development project to immediately see the impact of manufacturing variation and deformation based on live production data from the existing production process, rather than relying on inputting theoretical or best-guess values.

‘They can use this capability to understand how the actual manufacturing process will affect the quality of the product and make changes to desensitise the model to the variation and reach agreement on solutions as early as possible.

‘These cutting-edge new features allow customers to directly re-use data that represents the true capability of existing production processes and saves time by avoiding the need to rebuild detailed GDandT stacks in Aesthetica.

‘This results in reduced development costs, faster return on investment through fewer pre-production engineering issues and the avoidance of late design or tooling changes, while helping to achieve optimum perceived quality in the final manufactured product,’ he added.

The Aesthetica/CM4D interface also benefits the pre-production phase by helping manufacturing and quality-control engineers to visualise and share digital recreations of the worst- and best-case manufactured product samples, without the need to store physical instances of the product.

This enhances the quality reports already produced by CM4D and improves understanding and communication of the true impact of variation to upstream design and engineering departments and suppliers, according to the company.

Jeff Perry, vice-president of QMC, said: ‘CM4D captures the measurement information collected across the manufacturing enterprise.

‘Aesthetica brings this information to life for the designer and the product engineer,’ he added.

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