What is Sensitivity-Based Design?
Sensitivity-Based Design finds, defines, and manipulates system sensitivities. Sensitivities act like levers - inputs have different amounts of leverage on outputs.

It's common to try controlling a system by tightening tolerances - simple to say, but expensive to apply. And it doesn’t work especially well when it’s unclear how much tightening tolerances will improve quality.

Sensitivity-Based Design focuses on understanding the multiple relations between input variations and quality outputs of the system. Sensitivity is leverage, and Sensitivity-Based Design is positioning the fulcrum to your greatest advantage. Designing system sensitivities is more effective, more sustainable, and a cost reduction, compared to tightening tolerances.

What does Sensitivity-Based Design do for you?
Our services are based on Sensitivity-Based Design. Have a look.


  • Tapered shaft joints. Created loading and fit-up analysis models and design guides.
  • Serpentine belts. Belt life sensitivity to mounting strategy and design guidelines for FEAD. Our insights also helped the belt manufacturer better advise their customers.
  • Bearings, seals, and gears. Root cause analyses and lifespan improvements.
  • Planetary gears. Alignment analysis to find root cause of failures.
  • Fit-up and assemblability. Cast, forged, machined, molded, weldments, non-metallics, sheet metal, and more.

What is the S-BD process?

  • Identify the functional requirements of a product.
  • Quantify functionality through measures and allowable limits.
  • Analyze system sensitivities by calculating the effect of tolerances, variation, and wear.
  • Design for maximum performance, minimum cost or risk, and quantified uncertainty using knowledge of system sensitivities.
  • Produce a product that performs even with manufacturing, assembly, and environmental variations.

This design process incorporates Six Sigma, tolerance analysis, dimensional engineering, variation simulation analysis, assembly variation analysis, and other tools.

Sensitivity-Based Design results in products that work correctly and quality that is designed-in.

On the radio  

Prairiefire founder Michael Lopez spoke with Alex Ruggieri on Central Illinois Business.

They talked about how engineering and manufacturing can keep its edge, as well as how Prairiefire helps companies with that goal.

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