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Understanding tolerance stacks
concept behind Sigmund.



Provide user the fundamental skills necessary to build

and utilize Sigmund models for assembly design,
optimization, and improvement.

Day 1
Variations Definition and Sources
Introduction to Tolerance Analysis Process
Defining Assembly / Performance Requirements
1D Loop Diagram
Conversion of Dimensions/Tolerances to Equally Bilateral Tolerances
Worked Examples
Addressing Process Capability
Tolerance Analysis Methods
Worst Case Model
RSS and other Statistical Models
Comparison of Models Advantages & Disadvantages
Worked Examples and explanation using Sigmund software

Day 2
Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing Overview
Diametral & Radial Tolerance Stack-Ups
Material Modifiers and their effect on Stack-Ups
Worked Examples
Worked Examples and explanation using Sigmund software
Estimating Assembly Quality
Estimating Defect Rates
Comparison of Allocated Tolerances by different Methods
Multi-dimensional Tolerance Analysis
Cost Implications of Tolerance Allocation Achieving Low Cost
Worked Examples and explanation using Sigmund software

Major Industry Challenges from a Quality magazine

From the respondents,
51% wants to reduce costs,
42% want to achieve tighter part
quality standards,
69% wants to invest to improve
manufacturing efficiency,
59% wants to invest to reduce scrap
and rework,
83% believe assembly variation
issues are responsible for quality

Outcome of Quality Issues

Loss of production time

Cost of concessions
Modifying tooling
Increase in manufacturing cycle time
Overall unnecessary added cost and time over-runs

DFQ Driven Design Process

Sources of Variation

Tolerances specified on the drawing

Variation encountered in the inspection process

Variation encountered in the assembly process

Of all the potential sources of variations, only the

(1) specified tolerances,
(2) datum feature shift and
(3) assembly shift
should be included in a tolerance stackup

Some Sources of Variation

Manufacturing Process Limitations (Process Capability)

Tool Wear
Operator Error and Operator Bias
Variations in Material
Environmental Conditions
Difference in Processing Equipment and Machines
Difference in Processes adopted
Maintenance of Machinery, Fixtures, Tools
Inspection Process Variation and Shortcuts
Assembly Process Variation
Inspection Equipment Variations
Human error lack of objectivity and judgment
Repeatability in Inspection

Introduction to Tolerance Stacks

What is a Tolerance Stack ?

A method of mathematically predicting the resultant
effect of piece part and sub-assembly tolerances along
with assembly process and fixturing variation on a
particular build objective of the assembly.

Why perform tolerance stack analysis?


and optimize dimensional variability within an

assembly system prior to building the system
piece part tolerances required to build an
acceptable quality product
Reduce the cost of the product by opening up tolerances
Identify key tolerance contributors that affect a particular
build objective
Reduce product cycle time and improve quality by making
systematic improvements during the design phase of the
assembly before it is released for tooling. Traditionally,
prototypes were built and variation problems were solved by
tweaking the tools using the trial and error method
Evaluate the impact of design geometry, tolerances, and
locating scheme changes on build objectives
Determine whether an existing design and assembly tooling
will meet the build objective requirements

Tolerance Loops (Vector Loops)

A systematic method of approaching a tolerance stack,
and selecting the contributing tolerances.
A tolerance loop allows for the evaluation of not only
the stack variation, but also the stack nominal value.

Steps in stack up analysis

1. Identify assembly build objecive.
2. Identify the contributing dimensions alongwith their
tolerances that would influence the assembly build.
3. Convert the dimensions with their allocated
tolerances to symmetric representation.
4. Derive the vector loop.
5. Select the method of tolerance analysis.
6. Perform tolerance stack up calculations.
7. Identify sensitivity.

Pre-Requisites for Tolerance Analysis

1. Part Drawings should be Correct and Complete in
representation of functional dimensions and tolerance zones
2. Drawings could be based on a combination of Plus/ Minus
Tolerancing and G D & T
3. Complete Understanding of Part and Assembly functionality
4. Understanding of Process Capability.

Types of Analysis

There are 5 methods of analysis


Worst Case Analysis

RSS AnalysisRSS (Root Sum Square)
MRSS AnalysisMRSS (Modified Root Sum Square)
PCRSS AnalysisProcess Centering RSS analysis
Monte Carlo Simulations

1-D Tolerance (Linear) Stack Analysis

1-D tolerance stacks calculate assembly variation by

stacking tolerances in a linear direction.


Worst Case method - calculation

Worst case stacks simply sum all the tolerances in the assembly in a
linear direction and predicts the maximum variation expected for a
particular build objective.
Build Objective Variation Range =
Range D1 + Range D2 + Range D3
Sl. No. Nominal














Exercise 1

Exercise 1 - Sigmund

Exercise 2

Centering of Manufacturing Process

Exercise 2 - Sigmund

Exercise 3

Exercise 3 - Sigmund

Exercise 4

Exercise 4 Sigmund - X

Exercise 4 Sigmund - Y

Exercise 5

Exercise 5 Sigmund

Worst Case method - assumptions

Ignores tolerance distribution types

Assumes all tolerances at their extreme limits
Guarantees 100% assembleability
Drives tight piece part tolerances / higher costs
Restrict to critical mechanical interfaces
It is more conservative

RSS method (Root Sum Squares) calculation

In this type of analysis, the square root of the sum of squares of
individual tolerances is calculated to predict the build objective
RSS Formula:
Build Objective Variation

RSS method (Root Sum Squares) calculation

Sl. No.















Range Range^








Worst Case vs RSS Results - Comparison

RSS Variation Worst Case Variation

3 0.027
3 0.045
Worst Case will drive tighter tolerance, increase cost.
RSS will open up tolerance, reduce cost.

Exercise 6

Exercise 6 Loop

Exercise 6 Sigmund

Exercise 7

Exercise 7 Loop

Exercise 7 Sigmund

Exercise 8

Exercise 8 Solution - X

Exercise 8 Solution - Y

You make a million parts, and it costs you Rs.1.00 per part.
Now decide to go with cheaper, less accurate parts. Now
your cost is Rs.0.99 per part, but 1,000 parts won't fit.
In the first, scenario, your cost is:
Rs1.00/part * 1,000,000 parts = Rs.1,000,000
In the second scenario, your cost is:
Rs.0.99/part * 1,000,000 parts = Rs.990,000,
but you have to throw away the 1,000 rejects which cost
Rs.0.99/part. So your total cost in second scenario is:
Rs.990,000 + 1,000*Rs.0.99= Rs.990,990. Which
means you save Rs.9,010.

RSS method (Root Sum Squares) assumptions

All processes are under statistical control
All tolerances follow normal distribution
All tolerances are independent
Parts used in assembly have been thoroughly mixed and
selected at random
The probability of individual tolerances coming in at their
extreme limits simultaneously is almost zero

Modified RSS Analysis (MRSS)

It is very similar to standard RSS analysis. The exception is
that a constant, typically referred to as k, is added to the
RSS equation to give a more accurate picture of what is
actually happening in the assembly process.
Application of a linear correction factor to the RSS method
may provide more realistic results under non-normal
distributions or mean shifts.

Modified RSS Analysis (MRSS) calculation

Range B2 .O . Range D
1 Range D 2 Range D 3

( Range B .O . ) MRSS ( Range B .O . ) RSS


0.04 2 0.03 2 0.02 2

1.5 0.0029 0.081 0.041

1.5 0.02 2 0.015 2 0.012
1.5 0.000725 0.041

3 0.041

Process Capability
A process capability study involves taking periodic
samples from the process, under controlled
conditions, and determining the sample Mean and
Standard Deviation.
Measure the variability of the output of a process
Compare the variability with the product
specifications or product tolerance
Assignable Causes is an important Pre-requisite to
ensure accuracy and repeatability of estimates.

Where does this 1.5 sigma difference come from?

Manufacturing Industry has determined, through years of
process and data collection, that processes vary and drift
over time what they call the Long-Term Dynamic Mean
It is also a way to allow for unexpected errors or
movement over time.
This variation typically falls between 1.4 and 1.7.

Process Centering (PCRSS)

Real processes dont maintain 3s
Mean values drift from nominal
Compensate for mean shift in stacks to ensure

correlation with real world





Results - Comparison

Worst Case Variation

RSS Variation

PCRSS Variation

MRSS Variation

3 0.045

3 0.027

3 0.031

3 0.041

Monte Carlo Simulation

Each tolerance is assigned a random value, based on its

The tolerances are summed relative to the tolerance loop.
Process is repeated for N number of simulations.
Results are statistically evaluated and displayed graphically.

Thermal Variations
For dimension D D at room temperature Tr, the
dimension at high temperature T will become
[1 + (T-Tr)] (D D)
where is the thermal coefficient. Therefore,
[1 +
(T-Tr)] will be entered as a trig-factor in the variable node
For example if,
for SS 316 L at 100 deg C is 1.65E-005 / deg K and
for SS 316 L at 30 deg C is 1.60E-005 / deg K
Trignometric factor for expansion is [1 + 1.65E-5(100-30)]
= 1.001155
Trignometric factor for contraction is [1 - 1.65E-5(100-30)]
= 0.998845

Exercises with GD&T

Exercise 9

Exercise 9 Solution

Exercise 10

Exercise 10 Solution

Exercise 11

Exercise 11 Solution

Exercise 12

Exercise 12 Solution

Exercise 13

Exercise 13

Exercise 13

Exercise 13 - objective

Exercise 13 Loop

Exercise 13 Sigmund left bottom gap

Exercise 13 Sigmund right top gap

Exercise 13 Sigmund overall length

Exercise 14

Exercise 14

Exercise 14

Exercise 14 - calculation

Exercise 14 Sigmund

Exercise 15

Exercise 15

Exercise 15 - Loop

Exercise 15 Sigmund

Exercise 16

Exercise 16

Exercise 16

Exercise 16

Exercise 16

Exercise 16

Exercise 16

Exercise 16 Sigmund maximum gap

2D Tolerance Stacks

Contributing tolerances dont act in the direction of the build

objective (at an angle)
Necessary to trig it out
Many real world examples

2D Tolerance Stacks

4 0.02
5.83 ??


3 0.01

2D Tolerance Stacks
B.O. D1 D 2 sin( 45 2 )

( B.O.) nom 3 4 sin( 45 ) 5.828

( B.O.) max 3.01 4.02 sin( 47 ) 5.950

( B.O.) min 2.99 3.98 sin( 43 ) 5.704



2D Tolerance Stacks
B.O. D1 D 2 sin(45 )


B.O. D1 D 2 0.707

B.O. 3 2.828 5.828

RangeB.O. RangeD1 RangeD 2 sin(45 )
RangeB.O. 0.02 0.04 0.707 0.048 0.024

Sigmund Solution Suite

Tolerance Analysis, Synthesis & Optimisation
using Vector Loop Method of Stack Up
1. Sigmund Stacks

- Standalone - without any CAD requirement

2. SigmundWorks

- SolidWorks Integrated

3. SigmundPro

- ProE / Creo Integrated

4. SigmundEdge

- SolidEdge Integrated

5. Sigmund ABA

Using 3D Virtual Manufacturing Method

- 3D CAD Tolerance Analysis - with animation

6. Sigmund ABA Kinematics

- 3D CAD Tolerance Analysis + Tolerance

Variation in Kinematic Mechanisms with animation

Current Practices Vs
Sigmund Best-in-Class Practices

Answers to Quality Challenges

CAD Part Geometry

Product Specification

Tooling Geometry

Process Capability

Assembly Sequence &

Index Plan

Measurement Plan

Dataset Tolerances,
Datum and GD & T

Cost Optimized
Tolerance Cost Drivers

PPM Estimation

Key Characteristics

Inspection Dimensions


Dimensional Management Plan e-Method

Assured Quality on adherence
to DM Plan
Eliminates Cost due to Poor
Ensures Quality in First
Prototype !