Helbling increases product reliability with Robust Design

Zurich – The engineering and consulting firm Helbling creates particularly reliable products using the principles of robust design. This reduces the influence of disturbance variables both in use and in production.

The Zurich-based engineering and consulting firm Helbling has developed and implemented methods for so-called robust design in product development, with the help of which products can be designed to be particularly reliable. The authors of a specialist article describe that unexpected conditions and disturbance variables often cannot be controlled. As part of robust design, these aspects are already included in the development process. Ultimately, this could not only reduce the influence of disturbance variables in use, but also in the production of the product. Among other things, this allows for more efficient cooperation with manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

The authors highlight two areas in which this practice is relevant. Firstly, special reliability is required for high-tech products that are used in unusual environments - such as satellites in space. Secondly, robustness plays a major role in complex and mass-produced consumer goods. In the latter case in particular, Helbling has already successfully completed robust design projects.

The article describes steps in the development process that are crucial for Robust Design. For example, the specification of individual parts is dealt with in the context of tolerance design, whereby the permissible deviations from ideal properties are defined. The aim of the parameter design is to reduce the spread.

In general, design clarity has priority, which is achieved on the one hand by the actual geometry of the components. On the other hand, it is essential to optimally control permissible variations from the ideal shape. Today, the tolerances defined by the experts can be stored directly in 3D CAD models using Model-Based Definition (MDS). Critical functions of the components are checked in a 3D tolerance simulation. Thanks to 3D scanning, it is also possible to completely capture produced parts and check them against the specification using 3D verification. The authors emphasize that ultimately the integration of different methods and tools such as design clarity and 3D tolerance simulation enables the efficient development of robust products. ce/yvh

View full article