There are literally hundreds of ways to communicate. Human beings speak many different languages with a host of dialects, cultural slang and euphemisms, not to mention the numerous non-verbal ways we communicate with one another. The same can be said of our technology. The growth of computers and computer-aided tasks has produced many different formats and languages, all of which can complicate the ability to communicate.
No one is more aware of the potential disconnects and errors in translation than manufacturers and OEMs using emerging 3-D model-based definition (MBD) environments.
Verisurf Software Inc.’s (Anaheim, CA) Validate is a tool that bridges these disconnects and guard against translation errors. Verisurf Validate provides precise computer-aided design (CAD) model translation validation by comparing the authority CAD model to the translated CAD model, enabling manufacturers to quickly identify any translation errors.
“There are numerous examples of costly manufacturing problems and even product failures due to use of ‘bad CAD’ for engineering simulation, manufacturing and inspection,” says David Olson, director of sales and marketing at Verisurf. “As supply chains become more global the chances for bad parts from bad CAD increases. Many Verisurf customers are manufacturers with high industry compliance requirements such as aerospace, defense and medical, which now require proof of translation validation with submittal of AS 9102 first-article inspection documentation.”
Model based definition (MBD), also known as digital product definition (DPD), uses 3-D digital data within the CAD software to provide specifications on components and assemblies, including the models and their metadata, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T), component level materials, assembly level bills of materials, engineering configurations and design intent. This annotation replaces older methods that required the inclusion of 2-D drawings to provide such information.
These older methods took advantage of the idea that the human mind can understand 3-D data more readily than 2-D data. The drawback was the need to reuse and organize the information and recreate that information in an additional file, resulting in more files to be managed, additional time to recreate product information and more chances for error. MBD cleared the hurdle of making the process more efficient and less time consuming, but the chance for translation error still exists.
Manufacturing suppliers rely on OEM-provided 3-D CAD models as the data source for downstream operations such as numerical control (NC) programming, machining and inspection. OEMs now require suppliers to provide quality assurance process documentation that proves the accuracy of all translated CAD models back to the authority CAD model.
Add in global competition, modern continuous quality improvement (CQI) best practices, the high cost of rework and the threat of litigation, and one can see how there is a demand for eliminating potentially costly CAD-file translation errors as early as possible in the manufacturing process.
Verisurf’s Validate software provides the ability to specify validation tolerances that control the acceptance of a 3-D shape’s dimensional integrity. The automated comparison processing returns a simple and obvious pass-or-fail result. The system generates a comprehensive validation report with an encrypted validation certificate. A digital fingerprint embedded in the report ensures authenticity.
Verisurf Validate handles models from all major CAD/CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) systems natively without the expense of any additional CAD licenses. The software validates the migration of legacy CAD data and also complies with OEM quality requirements for data integrity management and satisfies the Boeing D6-51991-Quality assurance standard for digital product definition.
“A common example is Boeing’s D6-51991 requirements, Quality Assurance Standard for Digital Product Definition,” says Olson. “[Which] specifically states, ‘Acceptance criteria for accuracy of translated surface profile/geometry [tolerance] must be determined by the supplier, and must ensure the end product will be within engineering tolerance/specification. Objective evidence of translation validation must be retained. [Typical allowable deviation tolerance is 0.0001 to 0.001 inch].”
Depending on the version, Verisurf’s software will validate:
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks
Dassault Systèmes CATIA V4 and V5
Olson adds, “Verisurf Validate is the only inspection and measurement software with translation validation so it was very well received at CMSC [Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference] 2011 where there were many aerospace manufacturing, quality assurance, inspection and metrology engineers that must prove compliance to validation requirements.”