Performance Analysis

Don't tighten that tolerance, fix the cause instead!
Quality means more to your customers than just successful assembly, so we look beyond fit-up to analyze the consistent performance of your product. By analyzing performance variation, we can:
  • Accurately predict the quality of a new design or concept
  • Optimize a design or concept for balanced cost, performance, and risk
  • Quantify the viability of design concepts.
  • Fix in-production systems with quality issues
We use Sensitivity-Based Design to predict not only product performance, but how that performance will change with manufacturing, wear, and environmental variation. Are you at a stable point on the performance curve?

Sensitivity-Based Design lets you know which levers to pull, how much to pull them, and how to move the pivots to make everything perform the first time and every time. It makes quality part of your design rather than something that happens after engineering and on the way to production.

We incorporate Sensitivity-Based Design to create solutions that are insensitive to variation, higher quality, less expensive, and more sustainable than simply tightening tolerances everywhere there's a performance issue.

Sensitivity-Based Design also creates a quantitative map for troubleshooting manufacturing problems. The sensitivities and contributions data from our analyses directly relate performance problems to their root causes.

Consistent Performance

Consistent performance means every unit produced provides the capabilities you designed and advertised - things like durability, lifespan, ease of use, and quality of construction. Analysis tools like FEA, CFD, and others help, but usually assume every part will be perfect, every time.

Sensitivity-Based Design allows a design to maintain its capabilities, even in a world of manufacturing, wear, and environmental variation. With a clear, accurate picture of quality and quantitative measurements of how it's affected, consistent performance can be deliberately designed in. You save time and money on engineering, analysis, manufacturing, warranty, and regulatory costs.

Analysis Inputs

The most important input is our years of experience applying Sensitivity-Based Design -- knowing the right question to ask and how to apply the results.

We use the CAD geometry of a system and functional requirements from engineering. Variation inputs are based on print tolerances, manufacturing processes, and assembly methods as well as system multi-physics and other analyses.

Our models can incorporate current and concept designs, supplier parts, inspection and measurement data, manufacturing information, FEA and CFD analysis results, and other simulation data.
Correlate performance to variation
"Michael was instrumental in providing technical expertise as we developed a system of providing low cost x-rays in rural Kenya. We were incorporating new technology with locally available resources in a demanding environment with limited opportunities for repair. He anticipated problems and developed solutions that maximized durability while minimizing cost."

-- Brett Yockey, Resident at Indiana University School of Medicine

Our process
Tools and Techniques

Prairiefire uses a combination of analysis tools to analyze statistical, Monte Carlo, and worst-case conditions. These tools include in-house analysis code, Six Sigma tools, Enventive, and Sigmetrix CETOL 6σ (similar to 3DCS and VisVSA). We generally use PTC Creo (formerly Pro/Engineer) for geometry but can work with SolidWorks, CATIA, and other CAD tools if needed.

We correlate the geometric system variation results from these tools to performance metrics in two ways. For many analyses, theoretical or empirical formulas based on engineering first principles yield excellent results. For the complex and advanced work, we feed geometric variation results into additional analysis techniques, such as FEA or CFD. We adapt our techniques to best serve each analysis and can often accommodate other simulation tools as needed - just ask!

Analysis Results

Our analyses give you a complete picture of quality: not only how performance will vary, but also the underlying sensitivities and contributions of this variation.

This foundation of transparency and understanding allows us to quantitatively find root causes, validate models, and, when combined with our design experience, create insights into design solutions. It also acts as a powerful tool for troubleshooting manufacturing issues effectively and efficiently.

  • Fuel injector performance with wear and manufacturing variation
  • Component loads as system geometry varies from nominal
  • Bearing, seal, belt, and gear lifespan as affected by misalignment
  • NVH as affected by misalignment of bearings, seals, and gears
  • Wear effects on performance degradation over product life
  • Fastener preload with manufacturing variation
  • Taper-joint loading with manufacturing variation
  • Turbine performance with temperature variation

Problems We've Solved
Design Solutions

We develop design solutions that address system sensitivities, increasing quality without the cost of tightening tolerances. We work with your engineers, manufacturers and suppliers to find the most economical method to address the current problem.

Leverage your other Analyses

Many of the problems we solve were unsuccessfully addressed using other analysis techniques first. We can save you time and money by first determining root causes, what analysis may be required, and the right questions to ask.

Once your analyses are complete, be sure to save that knowledge by capturing the functional requirements. Representing functional requirements on prints is where our Functional GD&T ensures, what is built matches the engineers' work. The language of GD&T is the bridge between engineering and manufacturing.

Elegant solutions to complex problems