Sunday, September 28, 2008

Integrated Design Validation for Fit, Form and Function Using SolidWorks - Part I

Competitive scenarios are compelling companies take a re-look at the Designs of their Products to incorporate higher levels of functionalities and efficiencies while addressing cost and profitability pressures. It is important to delineate Design parameters in terms of and Fit, Form and Function (F-Cubed) and validate the same to achieve stated objectives.

To recall the definitions of F-cubed, Fit addresses the interchangeability of parts in assemblies and enables assessment of the dynamic interactions of tolerances placed on features of sizes and their influences on inter-part relationships that would define functional behaviour. Form defines shape, dimensions, mass and other attributes that essentially address the design space in the context of the assembly as unique characteristics of the part being designed. Function explicitly defines the intended performance during the operational life of the part.

Design Validation of Fit, Form and Function is important to achieve stated objectives. SolidWorks offers rich set of tools to Validate designs as they evolve giving the Design Engineers a choice of alternatives to make qualified decisions. SolidWorks tools that enable the user can be classified as follows:

1. Fit: Tolerance Analysis (Tolanalyst)
2. Form: Geometry Analysis ( Sketch Xpert, DFMXpress, Draft Analysis, Curvature Analysis)
3. Function: Kinematic Analysis, Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics


Tolerance study inside SolidWorks for Real-world designs can be performed using TolAnalyst.

Using four simple steps, Stack-up Analysis can be performed on assemblies with ease.

1. Using DimXpert, dimension and tolerance part features either using manual or automatic mode.

2. Define Assembly Sequence for parts in order to assess dimensional chains that influence the outcome.

3. Establish Assembly Constraints to understand how each parts relates to the assembly.

4. Perform Analysis to Evaluate and review the minimum and maximum worst case tolerance stacks.


Design Validation for Form helps to arrive at a basis for the dimensions provided on the design, clarify critical dimensions that influence performance and ensure unambiguous understanding of part shape that would meet functional requirements.

Sketch level understanding of concept feasibility is easily achieved in SolidWorks.

Examples shown here of different mechanisms involving lower and higher order pair help understand the functionality of SolidWorks in achieving higher levels of confidence during the design process.

The sketches can be used in layout stage to exploit Top-Down approach in the detailed engineering design of individual parts either by an individual or as a part of a team for higher collaborative efficiency.

More in the Next article ....

1 comment:

Sachin R. Nalawade said...

really helpful article, thanks