Tolerance aware product development using an enriched hybrid digital mock up

Imelda Friel*, J. Butterfield, Trevor Thomas Robinson, Adelaide Marzano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Current practice in three-dimensional (3D) part construction and product assembly definition within a digital mock-up (DMU) is based on the nominal sizing of geometry. This approach does not reflect real part dimensions when they are manufactured or the assembly conditions as they come together during the final build. The value of virtual assembly planning (VAP) using clash and gap detection is therefore limited to modelling error identification within the computer-aided design (CAD) domain for nominal conditions only. VAP could become a significantly more powerful tool if the 3D representation of components within the DMU were more representative of ‘as manufactured’ dimensions. This paper presents the evolution and validation of an enriched digital mock-up (EDMU) introducing the concept of the hybrid assembly. This enables the representation of components in sizes which can range between upper and lower dimensional limits in addition to the nominally defined form. The resulting capability has been exploited to perform early stage tolerance analysis within CAD. The approach enables better informed tolerance consideration earlier in the design process as DMU evolves. This has the potential to reduce the time, effort and computational load associated with the application of statistical tolerance analysis methods later in the design cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-130
Number of pages13
JournalCIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
Early online date19 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2020


  • computer-aided design
  • variational geometry
  • tolerance


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