THE PROBLEM

Assemblies of sheet metal parts can be seen everywhere in manufacturing in diverse applications such as auto bodies, ship bodies and airfoils. General Motors approached us with a need to optimize the positions of locators for their subassembly to attain the highest quality of auto body.

Our task was to find the best positions for a subassembly with 10 parts. This design optimization problem had 100 variables with 2x10172 possible different ways to position these locators.

To put the number into perspective, our observable universe, spanning 93 billion light years, contains about 1080 atoms in total.

 

THE RESULTS

  • Subassembly quality improved by 65% (i.e. reduction of sum of 6 sigma values on more than 220 key performance measuring points).
  • Our analysis found the solution processing 104 possibilities out of 2x10172 available.
  • The entire process only took eight hours on a commodity desktop computer.
 
 
 Westland Helicopters

Westland Helicopters

 General Motors

General Motors

 Ballard Power Systems

Ballard Power Systems

 Manitoba Hydro

Manitoba Hydro

 St. Paul's Hospital

St. Paul's Hospital

 Phillips and Temro

Phillips and Temro