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Variations are inherent in all manufacturing processes and can significantly affect the quality of a final assembly, particularly in multistage assembly systems. Existing research in variation management has primarily focused on incorporating GD&T factors into variation propagation models in order to predict product quality and allocate tolerances. However, process induced variation, which has a key influence on process planning, has not been fully studied. Furthermore, the link between variation and cost has not been well established, in particular the effect that assembly process selection has on the final quality and cost of a product. To overcome these barriers, this paper proposes a novel method utilizing process capabilities to establish the relationship between variation and cost. The methodology is discussed using a real industrial case study. The benefits include determining the optimum configuration of an assembly system and facilitating rapid introduction of novel assembly techniques to achieve a competitive edge.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





465 - 470