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Standard tolerances for carmakers. (Computing).

If autopart information on dimensional specifications and tolerances could flow easily and glitch-free from part design to final part inspection, automakers and their suppliers could save hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md.

But to move from design technology to final inspection technology, the information may have to pass through almost 40 interfaces, many of them incompatible, according to a recent NIST study. Incompatible interfaces are costly and time-consuming to get around, the study found.

At the request of several automotive companies and makers of measurement equipment, a team formed under an umbrella organization called The Automotive Industry Action Group is developing standards to represent part features and tolerances in computer-aided design programs. The team is also seeking to create portable inspection programs that can be used on any coordinate measuring machine or other inspection equipment used for final part inspection. In addition, the team also wants to come up with a standard format for reporting inspection results.

Managers from DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp. founded The Automotive Industry Action Group in 1982 to provide a forum where members jointly develop business processes and practices that involve supply chain partners.

To help bring about the standards adoption, NIST is creating measurement software that uses the prospective standards. It's also developing standard tests that software companies can use to incorporate standard interfaces into their products.

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Author:Thilmany, Jean
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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