Virtual Functional Build: A Case Study 2006-01-1651
Functional build (FB) is a critical process in launching a vehicle, whereby individual prototype parts are stamped and then sent to a central location to be assembled into a prototype vehicle body. FB is a manufacturing strategy which states that if the dimensional quality of parts, and sub-assemblies are assessed within the context of the final assembly, then fewer and lower cost engineering changes are required to achieve a saleable product.
This paper describes Virtual Functional Build (VFB) where scanned parts are assembled virtually using assembly modeling software. Finite element analysis technology is used to deform the scanned parts to the shape that they would adopt on the FB tooling. The potential benefits of VFB over traditional FB techniques are reduced capital investment in tooling and, more importantly, reduced lead time due to earlier collaboration between geographically remote part and sub-assembly suppliers.
This paper will contrast the FB and VFB processes as it relates to the various process steps (measurement, part fixturing, assembly, problem identification, problem quantification, etc.). It will describe a virtual functional build case study, the process problems encountered and the challenges an organization will face transitioning from a physical functional build process to a VFB process.