The purpose of math models for tolerances is to aid a designer in assessing relationships between tolerances that contribute to variations of a dependent dimension that must be controlled to achieve some design function and which identifies a target (functional) feature. The T-Maps model for representing limits to allowable manufacturing variations is applied to identify the sensitivity of a dependent dimension to each of the contributing tolerances to the relationship. The method is to choose from a library of T-Maps the one that represents, in its own local (canonical) reference frame, each contributing feature and the tolerances specified on it; transform this T-Map to a coordinate frame centered at the target feature; obtain the accumulation T-Map for the assembly with the Minkowski sum; and fit a circumscribing functional T-Map to it. The fitting is accomplished numerically to determine the associated functional tolerance value. The sensitivity for each contributing tolerance-and-feature combination is determined by perturbing the tolerance, refitting the functional map to the accumulation map, and forming a ratio of incremental tolerance values from the two functional T-Maps. Perturbing the tolerance-feature combinations one at a time, the sensitivities for an entire stack of contributing tolerances can be built. For certain classes of loop equations, the same sensitivities result by fitting the functional T-Map to the T-Map for each feature, one-by-one, and forming the overall result as a scalar sum. Sensitivities help a designer to optimize tolerance assignments by identifying those tolerances that most strongly influence the dependent dimension at the target feature. Since the fitting of the functional T-Map is accomplished by intersection of geometric shapes, all the T-Maps are constructed with linear half-spaces.

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