A stream-of-variation analysis (SOVA) model for three-dimensional (3D) rigid-body assemblies in a single station is developed. Both product and process information, such as part and fixture locating errors, are integrated in the model. The model represents a linear relationship of the variations between key product characteristics and key control characteristics. The generic modeling procedure and framework are provided, which involve: (1) an assembly graph (AG) to represent the kinematical constraints among parts and fixtures, (2) an unified method to transform all constraints (mating interface and fixture locators etc.) into a 3-2-1 locating scheme, and (3) a 3D rigid model for variation flow in a single-station process. The generality of the model is achieved by formulating all these constraints with an unified generalized fixture model. Thus, the model is able to accommodate various types of assemblies and provides a building block for complex multistation assembly model, in which the interstation interactions are taken into account. The model has been verified by using Monte Carlo simulation and a standardized industrial software. It provides the basis for variation control through tolerance design analysis, synthesis, and diagnosis in manufacturing systems.

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