Mechanical Dynamics Inc. has entered its twenty-sixth year of producing ADAMS® (Automatic Dynamic Analysis of Mechanical Systems), the world’s leading commercial mechanical analysis software for kinematics and dynamics of multibody systems. During the past twenty-five years, use of mechanical analysis software has grown dramatically. No longer the province of a fringe group of highly trained specialists, it now has a presence on nearly every engineer’s desktop. The software comes in many forms—embedded in Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, or as stand-alone packages such as ADAMS. Use of the software even has a new name: Functional Virtual Prototyping refers to the ability to use mechanical analysis software to complete the engineer’s understanding of the physics of a design without the need for prototype parts. Due to large numbers of mechanical systems, a high cost of prototypes, and relentless pressure on cost and safety, the automotive industry has always been at the vanguard of the use of Functional Virtual Prototyping technology. A recent popular trend in the automotive industry is called the Six Sigma process—intended to get as close as possible to zero defects—in part by assuring robust quality and performance of components, subsystems, and systems. To satisfy the demands of the Six Sigma trend, the automotive industry now uses Functional Virtual Prototyping software such as ADAMS as an important tool in Robust Design. This paper describes new software for Robust Design, called ADAMS/Insight, and illustrates how the behavior of a mechanical system model in ADAMS can now be understood more completely over a range of system parameters and tolerances.

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