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Assignment 2: Six Sigma and Tolerance

AKOT, Akot Bol

Six Sigma and Tolerance is the second assignment in Design for Six Sigma coursework and is designated to be a summary of a research article paper published in a journal. The article paper which is titled Worst-Case Tolerance Design via Genetic Algorithms comes from the Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications. The article proposed a new concept of tolerance analysis based on the genetic algorithms as the title suggested. This summary report will aim at understanding the structure of the journal article and try to pick the main points and condense them into a short summary.


1. Introduction
The Design for Six Sigma assignment 2 is based on the selection of a journal paper. The assignment is about the topic of Six Sigma and Tolerance. The journal article comes from the Journal of Optimisation Theory and Applications and is titled Worst-Case Tolerance Design and Quality Assurance via Genetic Algorithms by B. Forouraghi. Since this assignment is about reading, understanding, analysing and summarising a journal article some certain number of questions will be answered in order to accomplish the purpose of the assignment. This report will try to address key points like articles structure, intended audience, the problem the article is trying to solve, the working principle of the technique proposed, etc. Now, this is not a new knowledge rather the author proposed a method using existing techniques in a newly formulated way. So, sources of the information used seem to come mainly from those of optimisation and robust design for quality information sources such as books and other research articles. As well as there seems in the case study section to have some empirical validation of the proposed method. In this article the author reviewed engineering designs of components, the effect of manufacturing processes on the components which in turn affect the products assembly functionality. Variations in each and every one of the components produced and thereof tolerances associated with each components nominal dimension are what introduce fluctuations and variations in the assembly tolerances. This is academic engineering research paper conducted by an Assistant Professor in St. Josephs University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania aimed at addressing mechanical assembly tolerance analysis. This new method deals with tolerance design by application of Genetic Algorithms (GAs), aimed at dealing with worst-case tolerance analysis. The competitive market demands optimisation of products, thus the result of vast mathematical and statistical quality control, and robust design methods.

2. Worse-Case Tolerance Analysis

Tolerance analysis is an all-time importance engineering analysis technique used to analyse the effect of variation on parts dimensions and essentially the assemblys tolerances. In analyses of worst-case tolerance the assemblys minimum and maximum allowable dimensions are found as follow:

(1) (2)

Where Npi is nominal dimension and Tpi is the specified tolerance associated with the ith part of the assembly. The term envelop is introduced to denote the gap of geometry of the mating parts within an assembly. That is, the maximum and minimum gaps are computed by: (3) 4) Where, Ne and Te are the envelope dimension and tolerance respectively. In relation to linear tolerance analysis, the paper illustrated that equation (4) requires this additional computation, involving gap nominal (Gnom) and tolerance (Gnom):

(5) (6)

However, the paper exerted that the actual interaction of the components in an assembly and the assembly gap they produce is nonlinear in nature. In worst-case tolerance analysis, this leads to definition of dependent assembly variable y as: . Where xm is a design factor and m is number of independent design variables. Then the incremental changes in this function can be analysed using Taylor series expansion technique as shown in equation (7).


Finally, substitution of Tolerances into equation (7) for incremental changes yields the worst-case tolerance solutions as in equations (8) and (9).

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(8) (9)

Eventually, the application of numerical techniques can yields simultaneous solutions to equations (8) and (9). The engineer will then have to apply his skills to analysis and correct anymore deviation of the system.

3. Worst-Case Tolerance Design with a Genetic Algorithm

Section 3 consists of three subsections namely background, representation of candidate designs and fitness criterion. This section summarises them.



Genetic algorithms (GAs) are powerful random-walk search techniques which have been used in the engineering applications. Their use in engineering applications in any form is said to be well documented and therefore the focus to apply the method in design for robustness and quality optimisation. Genetic algorithms can be used in a broad spectrum of problems in a very efficient manner without assumptions of continuity, unimodality, or convexity of the underlying objective functions. Genetic algorithms are simple to use purely because the underlying principle is copying and swapping partial strings. The designs are encoded in terms of a string similar to that of binary sequencing. This string encoding is analogue to natural genetics such that a section of a chromosome corresponds to a section of a solution. A section of solution is composed of characters and represents a specific design variable (gene). As a first step, genetic algorithms are used to randomly select design solutions (chromosomes). The string would allow these solutions to evolve according to genetic programing inputs by the operator. Genetic algorithms perform genetic operations which take a population and generate successive populations with a consequence of quality improvement. In essence this is a reproduction, crossover and mutation sort of operation, where reproduction in this context is defined as a process in which individual strings are copied according to their objective function values (f), which can be described as some measure of the utility or fitness that the designer wants to maximise. A solution or member fitness is defined by its probability of survival i.e. its fitness of being selected. This is given by equation 10 according to stochastic remainder selection procedure without replacement. (10)

The next stage is pairing of chromosomes from the newly generated population and mated by means of crossover operation. The formulation of mating is achieved using single-point crossover at any chosen position k along the string. This mating takes place by swapping the chromosomes bits between positions k+1 and l; l is the length of a string. And the process repeated and until secondary operation of mutation occurs with typically low probability of 0.001.


Representation of Candidate Designs

This tolerance analysis method builds the tolerances by generating populations of ellipsoidal regions. What that means is, a typical design vector X with n independent design factors has it domain form [ as (x1,,xn). ] [ This article the vector X is represented in the ] , where the first xi of every n design factor is selected randomly

and si is a tolerance associated with xi (which is either set by the designer or it evolves with optimisation process). The candidate designs are assumed to have fixed-length binary strings of size b and given n variables, the number of intervals is computed by b/n bits and b/2n bits are the ends of the intervals i.e. high end and low end . The intervals would actually be represented by the string [0,,0] for minimum and string [1,,1] for a maximum. For instance, a design with a parameter x1 centred at 16.35 mm and tolerance of 1.35 mm, is composed of 16 bits, each end is represented by 8 bits with binary strings as 00000000 corresponding to (16.35-1.35 mm) and 11111111 to (16.35 + 1.35 mm).


Fitness Criterion

Assigning fitness values requires running a statistical experiment. The type of the experiment used in this article is the L9 orthogonal array. Statistical analysis such as analysis of variance (ANOVA) can be performed in this process as well. ANOVA is used to determine the optimum design factor levels. Genetic Algorithm in this paper uses the L9 orthogonal array experimental method to rank each design vectors. Each parameter in a design vector has a upper and lower bounds for assigned tolerances and therefore the levels 1, 2, 3 for associate with any design variable are related to lower, centre, and upper specification limits for that variable. The result is an ellipsoidal design region can have up to 9 responses. The engineer needs next to assign absolute fitness values to each design candidate. This evaluation method is deemed important in the process of the GA analysis method because it leads the GA towards the desired target response regions. Moreover, fitness function lets the relationship between nominal specifications, as well as the tolerances and variation on the resulting response of a product or manufacturing process. Usually, this relation is evaluated by using the process capability indices and that what were used in this article. These are given as: (11) Cp is the capability index, USL and LSL are the upper and lower specification limits respectively, while 6 is six times the standard deviation. Cp only expresses short variability in the product or process but does not takes into account the variability centred on the mean. So this is accomplished by Cpk index as given by equation (12).


Where the sample mean, T is is the desired Target and k is standard deviations level which the process means is away from the target T. The target value is what being used in this article as the centre of the tolerance region and as a control factor selected during parameter design. The equation used is given in equation (13). (13) The author used equation (12) as the evaluation function because GA can then be focused toward response regions where target regions where the desired target performance is at or near target T while the product resulting functional variability is minimal. This stage is followed by other genetic operations of reproduction, crossover and mutation. The algorithm in this manner may continue to do the search for optimum solution until otherwise a stopping code is invoked

4 Optimal Design of a Clutch Assembly

Section 4 of the article applies this technique to the design of an overrunning clutch assembly shown in Figure 1. In Figure 1, 3 parts Cage, Hub and four rolling bearings are shown. Overall initial tolerance specifications for the parameters are; X1 =55.29+/- 0.156 mm, X2 = X3 = 22.86 +/0.013 mm, X4 = 101.60 +/- 0.156 mm. Note because of symmetry only the opposing rollers X2 and X3 are considered in the assembly tolerance analysis. The purchased items (roller bearings) have unadjustable and nonnegotiable specifications. Therefore X2 = X3 =22.86 +/- 0.013 mm are fixed and hence excluded from all component-tolerance readjustment procedures that may be required to meet assembly specification requirements.

Figure 1: Clutch assembly layout The required model is nonlinear for the contact angle between the roller bearing and the cage. This is given by the function Y as below:

Plugging in the values for the variables implies

] [


radians. The worst-case tolerance specification Y is 0.1225+/-0.035 radians. The genetic algorithm is then used for selective breeding to optimise the design. The process started with a random population of 100 designs with allowance of 30 generations. A probability of 1.0 was given for crossover and mutation probability was given 0.001. Each design variable was assigned binary strings a total of 32 bits composed of 16 bits for control nominal value and 16 bits for factors specified tolerance. For the GA method to evaluate and rank the design factors, the capability indices were implemented at this stage of the design. Each candidate design response has to conform to the worst-case tolerance of 0.1225+/-0.035 radians. GA random search direction towards the optimum regions of ellipsoidal design space, the designer inputs tolerance desired tolerance level and average mean-square error (MSE) is generated, recorded and plotted. Using L9 orthogonal array experiment and desired target T value of 0.122 radians and n runs, then MSE can be derived as: (15)

The tolerances are allowed to evolve for variable X1 and X4 since the other variables are ready unadjustable. Three runs of experiments using L9 orthogonal array experimenter was carried out with tolerance allowance of 0.15 % and MSE plotted. More runs were reported on for 2 more tolerance allowance of 0.30 % and 0.60 % and again plotted and analysed for variation. Two key reasons for tolerance allowance up to 0.30 % and 0.60 % are (1) to achieve on target or near-target product performance with incorporated wide array of tolerances and (2) the product yield is allowed minimal variation from the achieved target capability index of the achieve. In addition, 2 more sets of experiments were run in order to mimic the manufacturing process. In this stage, the author reported to have run GA method to modify the design centres for the control factors (X1 & X4) while keeping the upper and lower specification limits constant (shifting of mean). The next set of experiment is reported to shift the specification limits and therefore allow tolerances to vary. The results are given in Table 1.

Table 1: GA method verification experiments results

5 Conclusion
This is a well planned and executed academic work. The quality of writing is technically professional and yet it can also be understood by anyone with sufficient background knowledge in the product or manufacturing process control for quality. Abstract and introduction prepares the reader to readily delve into the method reported in this article. This article has theoretically report the proposed principle (GA method) and also statistically and empirical concluded the strengths of the method. Not only that the links between this method and quality control is apparent, namely the linking of GA and the capability indices. The programing of genetic algorithms seemed to have been left to the reader to investigate for themselves.

Forouraghi, B. (2002, May). Worst-Case Tolerance Design via Genetic Algorithms. Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications, Vol.113(No.2), 251-268.