Mechanical means of positioning are frequently used in mechanical assembly processes. However, very little attention has been paid to the selection of mechanical alignment systems (MAS) for assembly processes. Our analysis shows that if the MAS are not properly selected, the form errors as well surface waviness and roughness of the workpieces to be assembled can badly limit the level of accuracy achievable. A simulation-based methodology is described to study the alignment accuracy for multi-stage processes. Such cases are common, where fabrication operations are done on parts before they are assembled. The study shows that if the workpieces are aligned in the same orientation, using similar or identical MAS for the fabrication processes and assembly processes, then the effect of the form errors as well as surface waviness and roughness of the workpieces can be greatly suppressed.

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