Today's product requirements demand an ever increasing functionality for the same space and usually the same number of components. Thereby, the quality, reliability and robustness of these products should be preserved or even be increased. This target conflict cannot be solved without compromises. The research community between the Institute of Machine Components (IMA), University of Stuttgart, and the Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH is seeking for new solutions for these challenges. The new approaches for designing robust and reliable products are being implemented directly in a current development project of an innovative Air Disc Brake (ADB).
With "Systematic Method for Axiomatic Robustness-Testing" (SMART), reliability methods and the basic concept of Robust Design methodology are related to the Taguchi Method. SMART is based on three phases: System, Parameter and Tolerance Design; accordingly, the sample phases of VDA (Association of German Automotives) are used as milestones. In the System Design, SMART focuses on the decreasing complexity according to the functional dependences of the DPs, thus precluding early random failures. In the Parameter Design phase, SMART gives the developer an approach for modeling an adaptive simulation model (SIM-SMART). This model also enables the simulation of random and possible fatigue failures in addition to the nominally robust DPs. In the early stage of product development, reliability predictions are possible. In the iterative Tolerance Design phase, the final tolerance limits for robust and reliable products are defined with consideration of compromises in terms of costs, quality and technical feasibility.
With the application of SMART, a design concept of a new generation of an ADB with less complexity is created. The extensive functions for flexible function studies are modeled with the objective of SIM-SMART. Accordingly to this model, parameter studies for determination of the nominal adjustment levels can be performed and their random and fatigue failures modeled. In conclusion, more accurate reliability test strategies are recommended using the definition of tolerance limits. The cost aspect and technical feasibility are also taken into account.
So far, SMART has not been added to the iterative Tolerance Design phase. With this paper, the method is not only extended to this phase, but also sufficiently validated. In addition, SMART can predict and analyze random failures. With its three coherent and iterative phases, it is an as yet unpublished and unimplemented approach for designing even more robust and reliable products. Robust Design Methodology and reliability methods are fundamental building blocks for products with high quality requirements. SMART presents an approach to support the designing of robust, reliable, highly functional and innovative ADB.
Stefan Kemmler, Bernd Bertsche - University of Stuttgart Tobias Leopold, Jens Fricke - Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Nutzfahrzeuge GmbH