The Silicon Review
“Sigmetrix is a global leader in tolerance analysis software, standards-based GD&T authoring software, training in all aspects of dimensional management, including GD&T, and dimensional management consulting services.”
Mechanical variation is a reality of the manufacturing process. Learning to manage this variation can be difficult as one tries to objectively balance manufacturing cost with product quality. Tolerance analysis is conducted by product design engineers as part of the design process. This analysis helps end users predict the impact of manufacturing and assembly variation to help ensure the components within an assembly will fit together and function properly. Proper management of mechanical variation can have many benefits including shortened development cycles and higher profitability.
Sigmetrix is a global leader in tolerance analysis software, standards-based GD&T authoring software, training in all aspects of dimensional management, including GD&T and dimensional management consulting services. These products and services enable companies to better understand the impact of manufacturing variations on their designs, facilitating the ability to make more objective cost and quality decisions. Sigmetrix specializes in designing, developing, marketing, and globally supporting tolerance analysis solutions. They play a prominent role in product design, manufacturing, and assembly.
The Sigmatrix Advantage
There are many methods of tolerance analysis, from simple stack-ups that are done by hand, to advanced 3D analyses done on a computer. The challenge is knowing the right level of precision needed at a given moment and ensuring the accuracy of the data and the calculations. Sigmetrix not only provides a full portfolio of solutions to help companies build better products through mechanical variation management, but they are committed to do so in a manner that provides the proper insight and understanding. Sigmetrix’s portfolio includes: CETOL 6σ, a 3D tolerance analysis solution that works directly with your PTC® Creo®, CATIA®, SOLIDWORKS®, and Siemens NX™; EZtol, a standalone 1-D tolerance stackup analysis tool supporting most of the major CAD systems; and GD&T Advisor, a GD&T authoring tool, along with training for GD&T and tolerance analysis. The recognized value of both EZtol and GD&T Advisor have led to the integration of both technologies into PTC Creo Parametric and Autodesk Inventor CAD systems.
In conversation with James Stoddard, Co- Founder and President of Sigmetrix:
How does tolerance analysis contribute to product engineering?
Tolerance analysis can benefit the product engineering process in many ways. It can help companies maximize their MBD investment. It can help improve profitability by balancing quality with manufacturing cost. Companies can realize faster time to market by reducing the need for additional design and prototype cycles. It provides the insight necessary to identify, predict, and understand quality issues. Finally, it allows companies to gain confidence in their product and process decisions before making costly investments.
Many speculate that the greatest benefit of tolerance analysis is in mass production, where interchangeable parts are critical. Can small and medium sized manufacturers benefit from tolerance analysis?
Although tolerance analysis is critical to mass production, the ability to better understand the impact of manufacturing variation can still help make better decisions related to cost and quality even for small manufacturing batches.
Tools and techniques may vary depending on the project. How can professionals conduct analysis for the overall success of a project?
We believe the tolerance definition should be part of the fundamental design, therefore it is important to be integrated with the tools used to capture and manage the design. Sigmetrix has always placed an emphasis on the user experience. Making it as user friendly as possible allows more people to contribute to the quality management and therefore to the success of the project.
What is the role of tolerance analysis in Quality management?
Quality comes with a cost, but often that cost is not well understood, so it is difficult to decide what actions will have the greatest impact on company’s quality while still meeting the business objectives. Tolerance analysis provides an objective way of understanding the impact of design decision on quality. This allows for more objective business decisions related to quality management.
Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
We are seeing that it is becoming more difficult for companies to be willing to send employees to in-person training class. We are launching a new set of online self-paced training offerings to address this trend. We just launched our basic GD&T class late last year and hope to have other offerings available soon.
How do you deal with the “never ending change” in digital transformation?
We see a great opportunity with the digital transformation related to Model-Based Enterprise. At the heart of the Model-Based Enterprise is the Model-Based Definition. We feel that a fundamental part of this model is the tolerance definition. Without an understanding of the producibility and quality requirements of the design, it is difficult to maintain a consistent model throughout the digital thread of the enterprise. Change or additional definition will be needed in the manufacturing and inspection steps. Tolerance analysis is the key to this understanding.
What are your trajectories for the next 5 years?
We see Sigmetrix providing a broader solution to our customers to help them build better products through mechanical variation management. We have spent last 20 years developing the products and expertise that companies are looking for in helping with this journey and we feel that we are in a position to better partner with our customers and provide increased value. Many companies are looking to embrace model-based strategies and are realizing the importance of GD&T and variation management, but there are limited avenues for increasing this knowledge. Much of this knowledge is held by a few experts that are nearing retirement.
Presenting the Pioneer behind the success of Sigmetrix
James Stoddard has spent the last 25 years furthering the technologies that are at the core of tolerance analysis and mechanical variation management. As one of the founders of Sigmetrix in 1999, he was a key member of the development team and has spent much of his career researching innovative approaches to tolerance analysis. Now as President of Sigmetrix, James continues to lead the company in providing the best solutions, helping companies build better products through mechanical variation management.
“Our software solutions are used by systems, mechanical, and manufacturing engineers worldwide because of their powerful capabilities presented in a logical, easy-to-use interface.”