Product Design: Your Guide to Engineering Tolerance

Imagine spending years on a product to find that it’s rendered unusable. You would be filled with disappointment and devastation.

To prevent that, you need to depend on one crucial phase in product design: engineering tolerance.

Companies that skip this step aren’t sustainable. To learn more about what engineering tolerance is and how to use it to your company’s advantage, keep reading.

What Is Engineering Tolerance?

Engineering tolerance defines the amount of variation that measurements may have within a product design. The tolerance level sets bookends for several units.

Usually, engineering tolerance defines linear, angular, and other related physical dimensions. Although, it could define other values like temperatures.

For example, let’s say that we want to create several planks of wood that all fit a particular machine. We want each piece of wood to be a length of 5.5 feet, but the structure would still be sound with planks of wood that are 5.3-5.7 feet.

This plus/minus 0.2 is the engineering tolerance for those pieces of wood.

To ensure that your equipment is meeting your upper limit and lower limit for each measurement, you need to invest in gaging equipment. Although, you should learn more info on gaging.

Types of Tolerances in Product Testing

There are 14 types of geometric tolerances based on symbols, while there are 15 types based on classification. However, these are broken up into orientation tolerance, form tolerance, run-out tolerance, and location tolerance.

In engineering tolerance, there are three main types of engineering tolerance to consider.

1. Unilateral Tolerances

When the dimensions that we limit all fall above or below the ideal size, these are unilateral tolerances. As the name suggests, these measurements all fall in one direction. So, each result is either a little bigger or a little smaller but still within acceptable measurements.

2. Bilateral Tolerances

Bilateral tolerances occur when these dimensions fall on either side of the ideal measurement. Some may fall towards the lower limit while others fall towards the upper limit.

3. Compound Tolerances

When there are multiple types of tolerances, we refer to it as a compound tolerance. There may be angular tolerances, lateral tolerances, and more.

How to Set Engineering Tolerances

When you’re thinking about your upper and lower limits, you should consider what measurements would negatively affect your product design. There should be a limit to which your measurements can reach before causing detrimental effects.

To determine the exact measurement, you need to use the scientific process, professional experience, and engineering knowledge.

You should also use tolerance calculation formulas.

Finish Your Product Testing

Engineering tolerance can make or break your product design. Without the right tolerance limit, your product testing could fall short.

It may take several tries, but you’ll be able to discover your upper limit and lower limit with some engineering knowledge and testing experiments. Don’t forget to invest in gaging equipment to check your limits.

To learn more about important topics like these, check out the rest of our blog. We could hold the next secret you need to take your product design to the top.

Product Design: Your Guide to Engineering Tolerance
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