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Mr. Stoddard’s view drives the vision of Sigmetrix, a company that has been helping its customers provide better products though mechanical variation management for over 20 years. It accomplishes this with a broad portfolio of software solutions, consulting services, and training, all within the specific umbrella of mechanical variation management.
In an interview with CIO Applications, Stoddard highlights the critical role GD&T plays in product design, and how his company can help manufacturers understand the impact that mechanical variation can have on their products, while simultaneously providing intuitive visualization techniques within some of the leading CAD environments.
Can you give us a background on your company and your partnership with PTC?
During the design process of a product, every part of a design is typically captured in a CAD system. This results in everything being captured and analyzed in its perfect state. However, when manufacturing those parts, some deviation from the design is introduced. These variations affect how those individual parts fit together and impact the quality of the final product, including how it performs; therefore, it is necessary to determine how much variation from a specific design is allowable. At Sigmetrix, we provide solutions to help our clients produce better products through mechanical variation management and one of the avenues we do that through is our long-standing partnership with PTC. Our software solutions have been a part of the PTC partner network for over 20 years. This experience uniquely enables us to provide solutions that are complementary to PTC’s CAD products, namely PTC Creo Parametric.
Our tools help engineers apply correct definitions in the design through the standardized nomenclature of GD&T. Sigmetrix has tools that analyze tolerance definitions and provide feedback to the user on expected quality. This helps analyze the cost of quality of the final product against the cost of manufacturing, reducing the risk of the unknown before making significant investments in manufacturing.
At Sigmetrix, we provide solutions to help our clients produce better products through mechanical variation management
It would be great if you can give me a brief understanding of the new trends that have emerged and how you have evolved as a company.
One trend that has impacted the industry is the push for model-based definition(MBD) to provide the foundation for companies transitioning to become model-based enterprises (MBEs). Many companies today are realizing the importance of having a valid and reusable product model throughout the lifecycle, one that includes all aspects of the design and manufacturing process, including mechanical variation.
With growing customer interest, we have evolved to provide companies a broader solution where we have gone beyond simply providing solely the software on which our company was founded.We offer valuable expert training, complimentary software products, and consulting service to help clients reap the maximum benefit that model-based tolerance analysis and definitioncan provide to their companies. Our focus has always been making our tools as easy to use as possible, with on-screen guidance to help raise the level of understanding within the user community. At present, we are also exploring different channels for extending our training in virtual classrooms, including our first computer-based training class released last fall.
How do your solutions work for the clients, and what are the advantages offered to them?
Sigmetrix tools can work in parallel with the user’s preferred CAD system. During the design phase, designers and engineers can not only specify the size and shape of all the parts that go into the assembly, they can also analyze whether the final product will still meet the business objective once produced. Sigmetrix’ software solutions bridge the gap between the “ideal” and the “real” world of product design in manufacturing and assembly, where mechanical variation has a significant impact on product cost.
With intuitive modeling technologies and advanced visualization techniques in our tolerance analysis software, engineers can test the tolerance of different parts at different levels of fidelity within the design environment. They can specify the tolerance definition appropriately, using the right language that will correctly convey the requirements to the manufacturing and inspection teams for the next stage. Additionally, using the data around manufacturing processes, engineers can predict the yield before investing in a process or tool. We provide insights into what can drive a desired degree of yield so that clients can make necessary changes. They can either make changes to the design itself, or to the manufacturing process for improving the product quality to achieve the desired results. Conversely, if the result comes back and the quality exceeds what clients need it to be, then they can look at areas where they can increase the tolerance, reducing manufacturing costs, and therefore increasing profitability.
What are some of the factors that differentiate your company, putting it ahead of the competition?
We want our customers to perform tolerance analysis in a self-sufficient manner. This approach has long been a key driver for our company and our approach to partnerships. We therefore emphasize making our products as easy to use as possible. Instead of collecting data and offering a static analysis, we try to gain insight from the results and present that back to the user so that they can gain additional insights. Further, we have integrated our training with our software to provide a more holistic approach to the subject matter through the interoperability of different tools.