Within industry there is an established need for enhanced virtual tools and methods to improve product tolerance setting and conditions for successful manufacturing of non-rigid assemblies. A significant amount of research has been performed in the area, but there is still a need to find efficient working methods and the right preconditions in practice.

This paper reports experiences and findings made during recently performed virtual matching and trimming of sheet metals in a real automotive industrial setting. A case is presented, demonstrating the possible use of the Computer Aided Tolerance (CAT) tool RD&T, (Robust Design & Tolerancing), in order to predict the geometric behavior of non-rigid parts when assembled. Scanned parts are used as input and the analysis is performed using the described virtual platform instead of physical type-bound rigging equipment traditionally used for conflict, gap and final springback analysis. The proposed working procedure, and the reasons behind it, are presented. The need of additional radical and incremental innovations is brought into light, in order to make earlier predictions in the product realization process. Furthermore, it is discussed whether the necessary changes in working procedures can impose innovation barriers in the future.

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