Quality itself is no longer a differentiator among aerospace manufacturers. High quality is expected and achievable. With enough time and money, any manufacturer can turn around a high-quality product. Around the globe, the focus of manufacturing quality is shifting to a discussion about the cost of quality and how to manage it. The question being asked by manufacturers is no longer how to achieve quality, but how to achieve it within cost and time constraints. The aerospace manufacturer that can achieve quality with the least expense, while producing products the fastest, is the one that will win in today's tough, global market.
This paper will describe the “closed-loop” approach to dimensional engineering, utilizing virtual simulations and tolerance analyses, and how such an approach can link cost factors with tolerance adjustments so that users have the data they need to make the most strategic business decisions regarding the balance between quality and cost. With such an approach, users are able to determine how to precisely meet their quality requirements by identifying and focusing on the key points affecting quality while avoiding unnecessarily tight tolerances that can prevent them from achieving cost and time goals.