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METROLOGY SOFTWARE


7X7 program,” he stated. “Many customers are realizing that GD&T is a very serious topic.” He stresses that embedded GD&T needs to be encoded


properly, using strict semantic protocols, to ensure a proper decoding of the data to create valid measurement programs. Over-constrained datums and other GD&T that is annotated as text, but meaningless in a mathematical sense, needs to be detected and dealt with. That is why that strict seman- tic coding sequence of the embedded GD&T is important. “Semantic tolerances are meaningful GD&T, encoding it in a particular way so if three different individuals are creating an inspection program from that semantically correct GD&T, it will systematically decode it the same way. If it has not been encoded properly, it cannot be decoded,” he said. In those cases, Metrolog X4 will ignore it. The software also boasts of a new GD&T processing engine and expert system for handling complex cases.


PLM World conference on May 8, 2017, in Indianapolis, IN. He described a process he called model-based quality that answered the challenges of ensuring valid GD&T is attached to CAD in the fi rst place. “To avoid unnecessary cost, you need to avoid over engi- neering a part and over inspecting it,” he said, while maintaining quality and robustness. That is where variation analysis tech- niques are useful, such as the Siemens PLM Variation Analysis (VSA) software tool, which is offered within its Teamcenter Lifecycle Visualization toolset. The VSA tool simulates manufac- turing and assembly processes and predicts the amounts and causes of variation, the reason anyone attaches GD&T specifi - cations. The model-based quality process he describes is itera- tive, starting with the 3D CAD and an initial GD&T specifi cation. This is then tested virtually in VSA to analyze the tolerances, adjusting and validating it to ensure it results in acceptable varia- tion at minimum cost and acceptable quality.


Embedded GD&T might also be especially useful in developing in-process control, according to Autodesk.


Other software programs offer routines for checking valid-


ity. Look for future releases to help correct invalid GD&T the programs detect. While some correction of GD&T to fi nalize measurement programs is probably inevitable, it is best if the tolerancing is verifi ed and validated by the design engineer in the CAD system itself.


A good example of this comes from Siemens PLM


Software (Plano, TX). Producing valid tolerancing to begin with was stressed as part of a lecture from John Zhang, solution architect and business consultant, at the Siemens


80 AdvancedManufacturing.org | August 2017


Once validated, the GD&T is then annotated and put into the PMI that would be attached to the CAD—ready for use in downstream applications and in creating inspection plans and pro- grams. “The VSA program will clean up incomplete GD&T, or an engineer can start to create it within the VSA pro- gram,” explained Zhang. It will fl ag over constrained conditions or invalid feature combinations. “VSA is CAD neutral, utilizing the lightweight JT CAD format, and can inherit geometry and PMI from NX, CATIA, and ProE. It can simulate large assemblies and support multi-CAD environments,” he said. Siemens also offers inspection programming of CMMs through its NX CMM software as well as Dimensional Planning and Validation


(DPV), a closed-loop system for the real-time collection of measured quality data, according to the company.


Future is to Smaller Companies


While large companies with well-organized information systems—think of OEMs or Tier One suppliers—seem to be embracing MBD and intelligent CAD, Scott Green, director of software product management for 3D Systems (Rock Hill, SC), thinks future growth will come from smaller fi rms and job shops, who comprise the bulk of manufacturing activity.


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