This article describes Ford's highly-cost-effective use of dimensional variability modelling. The Ford Windstar minivan is believed to be the first vehicle on which such modelling was performed from the beginning of the design process. Its use eliminated hundreds of engineering changes that would have affected almost every component in the vehicle. Its estimated cost savings were between $5 million and $10 million. The model used in the analysis included: (1) all body structure; (2) all exterior trim and lighting; (3) key instrument panel characteristics related to installation; (4) major trim pieces, front and rear suspension assemblies; and (5) the subframe checking process. Ford's design engineering, manufacturing, and assembly departments used the model as an independent dimensional quality evaluator for deciding between alternative vehicle designs. As a result, the Windstar's introduction cost was much lower than the budget allowed for tooling changes. The first step in the modelling process was to establish a team of modellers and cross-functional supporting engineers. The final full-vehicle model considered everything significant done at the assembly plant. To relate the model to reality, the team worked with supplier quality engineers to obtain surrogate part data.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    Institution of Mechanical Engineers

    1 Birdcage Walk
    London SW1H 9JJ,   England 
  • Authors:
    • SWEDER, T
  • Publication Date: 1996


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 20-1
  • Serial:
    • Volume: 21
    • Issue Number: 2
    • Publisher: Institution of Mechanical Engineers
    • ISSN: 0307-6490

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00725477
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Sep 26 1996 12:00AM