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Integration of Process-Oriented Tolerancing and Maintenance Planning in Design of Multistation Manufacturing Processes

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4 Author(s)
Y. Chen ; Dept. of Mech., Univ. of Iowa ; Y. Ding ; J. Jin ; D. Ceglarek

Manufacturing systems are inherently imperfect both statically and dynamically. Tolerance and maintenance design are two major tools to address the static and dynamic imperfection of manufacturing processes (i.e., inherent process imperfection and tooling deterioration, respectively). Yet, traditionally, tolerance and maintenance designs have been studied separately to address these two critical areas of manufacturing systems. This paper presents an integrated framework of tolerance and maintenance design for multistation manufacturing processes. Two nonlinear optimization problems are formulated to minimize the overall average production cost in the long run, which includes the tolerance cost of tooling fabrication, maintenance cost, and the overall loss of quality (as a part of the objective function or as a constraint function). The proposed methodology is illustrated, analyzed, and further discussed in the context of a multistation automotive body assembly process. Extensive numerical analyses are conducted to demonstrate the efficiency of the developed methodology. Given various cost components and time horizons, the integrated design scheme is compared with traditional design schemes in terms of cost efficiency, offering new insights into the interrelation between manufacturing process maintenance and tolerancing in the context of the product life cycle. Note to Practitioners-With intensified competition as a result of economic globalization, quality and cost have become crucial factors to the success of any manufacturing industry. Decisions in the process design phase, such as process tolerance assignment and maintenance planning, play a substantial role for overall manufacturing quality and costs. Tolerance of process variables determines the inherent variation level of a manufacturing process. Preventive maintenance oversees and controls process degradation and its resulting deterioration on product quality. Significant tooling and operational costs result - - from both tolerancing and maintenance activities. Traditionally, tolerancing and maintenance decision-making have been studied separately. Tolerancing was mainly conducted during the design stage; while maintenance policy was often determined after a manufacturing system was designed and installed. However, tolerancing of process variables and maintenance decision-making policy are interconnected in modern manufacturing systems. Intuitively, tight initial tolerances specified on process variables are able to reduce the frequency of conducting maintenance during production, since the process can accommodate more deterioration to reduce maintenance cost; but they take a toll on tolerance cost. On the other hand, loose initial tolerances specified on process variables can lower design cost but increase the frequency of maintenance during production. Hence, there is a critical need to strike a balance between the tolerance cost of tooling fabrication and the maintenance cost of tooling replacement. This paper presents a new framework to integrate tolerance design and maintenance planning for multistation manufacturing processes. Optimization problems are formulated to minimize the overall production costs including tooling costs, maintenance costs, and quality loss. The proposed framework is illustrated in the context of automotive body assembly processes. When compared to other separated designs, this integrated design methodology leads to more desirable system performance with a significant reduction in production cost

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 4 )