A Morphological, Combinatory Tool for Design of Low-Gap Automotive Body Panels 2009-01-0342
This paper proposes a conceptual design tool that could direct designers towards concepts that lead to reduced gaps on the exterior of an automobile. Apart from the manufacturing and assembly tolerance stack up, the design and integration method of the body panels in an automobile contribute to the gap. . A benchmark study suggested cursory concepts to avoid or minimize the gaps. The proposed design tool uses a modified morphological chart approach to populate a table with concepts obtained from the benchmark study and by other means. The design tool also incorporates decision alternatives and hence is different from a morphological chart. The design tool can be used to highlight the occurrence of a high level tolerance stack up chain on the structural/mounting members. Conceptual component architectures are arranged in such a fashion to facilitate combinations through visual means. The tool enables quick, visual qualitative analyses to determine the number of interfaces, influential components, affected components, and identification of possible source of higher tolerance. A graphical representation scheme is also proposed to further visualize the combined solutions resulting from the design tool. The objective of developing this tool is to facilitate the designers at the conceptual design stage when the embodiment of the component is not available.