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Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

DOI 10.1007/s00170-008-1790-0

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

A review of two models for tolerance analysis


of an assembly: vector loop and matrix
Massimiliano Marziale & Wilma Polini

Received: 3 June 2008 / Accepted: 2 October 2008 / Published online: 31 October 2008
# Springer-Verlag London Limited 2008

Abstract Mechanical products are usually made by assembling many parts. The dimensional and geometrical
variations of each part have to be limited by tolerances
able to ensure both a standardized production and a certain
level of quality, which is defined by satisfying functional
requirements. The appropriate allocation of tolerances
among the different parts of an assembly is the fundamental
tool to ensure assemblies that work rightly at lower costs.
Therefore, there is a strong need to develop a tolerance
analysis to satisfy the requirements of the assembly by the
tolerances imposed on the single parts. This tool has to be
based on a mathematical model able to evaluate the
cumulative effect of the single tolerances. Actually, there
are some different models used or proposed by the literature
to make the tolerance analysis of an assembly, but none of
them is completely and univocally accepted. Some authors
focus their attention on the solution of single problems
found in these models or in their practical application in
computer-aided tolerancing systems. But none of them has
done an objective and complete comparison among them,
analyzing the advantages and the weakness and furnishing
a criterion for their choice and application. This paper
briefly introduces two of the main models for tolerance
analysis, the vector loop and the matrix. In this paper, these
models are briefly described and then compared showing
their analogies and differences.

M. Marziale : W. Polini (*)


Universit degli Studi di Cassino,
via G. di Biasio 43,
03043 Cassino, Italy
e-mail: polini@unicas.it

Keywords Tolerance analysis . Vector loop model .


Matrix model . Functional requirements

1 Introduction
As technology increases and performance requirements
continually tighten, the cost and required precision of
mechanical assemblies increase as well. Then, there is a
strong need for industries to produce high-precision
assemblies at lower costs. Therefore, there is a strong need
to use tolerance analysis to predict the effects of the
tolerances that have been assigned to the components of an
assembly on the functional requirements of the assembly
itself. The aim of the tolerance analysis is to study the
accumulation of dimensional and/or geometric variations
resulting from a stack of dimensions and tolerances. The
results of the analysis are meaningfully conditioned by the
adopted mathematical model. Some are the models proposed by the literature to carry out a tolerance analysis of
an assembly, but they still appear not adequate under many
aspects: the schematization of the form deviations, the
schematization of the joints with clearance between the
parts, the solution of complex stack-up functions due to
the network joints among the components, and so on.
Moreover, there does not exist in the literature a paper that
compares the different analytical methods on the basis of a
case study that underlines in a clear way all the advantages
and the weakness. In the literature, some studies compare
the models for tolerance analysis by dealing with their
general features [1, 2]. Other studies compare the main
computer-aided tolerancing softwares that implement some
of the models of the tolerance analysis [3, 4]; but these
studies focus the attention on the general features. However,
a complete comparison of the models proposed to solve the

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

tolerance analysis does not exist in the literature and,


therefore, no guidelines exist to select the method more
appropriate to the specific aims.
The purpose of this work is to analyze two of the most
significant models for tolerance analysis: the model called
vector loop and the model called matrix. The comparison
of the models starts from their application to a case study.
Dimensional and geometrical tolerances have been considered
as part of stack-up functions. The worst and the statistical
approaches have been taken into account. The application of
the envelope principle [5] and of the independence principle
[6] has been deeply investigated. Finally, the guidelines for
the development of a new and original model able to
overcome the limits of the compared models have been
underlined.
Section 2 gives an overall explanation of the vector
loop and matrix models. Section 3 gives a comprehensive
comparison of the two models by means of a case study
that is characterized by 2-D tolerance stack-up functions.
Finally, Section 4 offers some guidelines for those who
will have to make the choice.

2 Tolerance analysis models


2.1 Vector-loop-based method
Vector-loop-based model uses vectors to represent the
dimensions in an assembly [7, 8]. Each vector represents
either a component dimension or assembly dimension. The
vectors are arranged in chains or loops representing those
dimensions that stack together to determine the resultant
assembly dimensions.
Three types of variations are modeled in the vector loop
model: dimensional variations, kinematic variations, and
geometric variations. In a vector loop model, dimensions
are represented by vectors, in which the magnitude of the
dimension is the length (Li) of the vector. Dimensional
tolerances are incorporated as variation in the length of
the vector. Kinematic variations are small adjustments
among mating parts, which occur at assembly time in
response to the dimensional variations and geometric
feature variations of the component analysis. There are six
common joints in 2-D assemblies and 12 common joints in
3-D assemblies; at each kinematic joint, a local datum
reference frame (DRF) has to be defined for. These joints
are used to describe the relative motions among mating
parts. The degrees of freedom (df) that are constrained or
not by the mating part are controlled and the tolerances are
specified only for the constrained df. Geometric tolerances
are considered by adding micro-df to the joints just
described [9], i.e., a virtual transformation (a 0-length

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vector or a rotation matrix along the directions admitted by


the applied tolerance) is added to the joints.
Although geometric tolerances may affect an entire
surface, they introduce a variation at the contact among
mating parts. Appropriate geometric variations may be
added to displacements at the joint. If the variation caused
by the geometric tolerancekinematic joint combination is a
rotation, the geometric variable can be represented by a
rotational matrix or a combination of rotational matrices in
the assembly kinematic constraints. If the variation caused
by the geometric tolerancekinematic joint combination is a
translation, a translation matrix may be inserted at the
appropriate node in the assembly kinematic constraints.
To better understand this method, the basic steps to build
a vector loop scheme and to carry out a tolerance analysis
are given below [1012]:
1. Create assembly graphthe first step is to create an
assembly graph. The assembly graph is a simplified
diagram of the assembly representing the parts, the
mating conditions, and the measures to perform. An
assembly graph assists in identifying the number of
vector loops required for the analysis of the assembly.
2. Locate the DRFs for each partthe next step is
locating the DRFs for each part. These DRFs are used
to locate features on each part. If there is a circular
contact surface, its center is considered as a DRF too.
3. Locate kinematic joints and create datum pathseach
contact among the parts is translated into a kinematic
joint. The kinematic joints of the assembly are located
at the points of contact and they are oriented in such a
way that the joint degrees of freedom align with the
adjustable assembly dimensions; in this way, each joint
introduces kinematic variables into the assembly which
must be included in the vector model. The datum paths
are created as chains of dimensions which locates the
point of contact with respect to the DRF of the parts.
4. Create vector loopsusing the assembly graph and the
datum paths, vector loops are created. Each vector loop
is created by connecting the datum paths of the datum
traverse by the loops. A vector loop may be called open
or closed if it is related to a measure or not.
5. Derive the equationsthe assembly constraints within
vector-loop-based models may be expressed as a
concatenation of homogeneous rigid body transformation
matrices:
R1  T1  . . .  Ri  Ti  . . .  Rn  Tn  Rf H

where: R1 is the rotational transformation matrix between the


x-axis and the first vector; Ri is the rotational transformation
matrix between the vectors at node i; Ti is the translational
matrix of vector i; Rf is the final closure rotation with the xaxis; and H is the resultant matrix. For example, in the 2-D

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Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

case, the rotational and the 2translational matrices


assume
3

are known, it is possible to calculate the solution in the


worst-case scenario as:

1
40
0

gi

cos fi
the following shape: Ri 4 sin fi
2
3
0

sin fi
cos fi
0

0
0 5 and Ti
1

0 Li
1 0 5 where i is the angle between the vectors at
0 1

node i, and Li is the length of vector i. If the assembly is


described by a closed loop of constraints, H is equal to the
identity matrix; otherwise, H is equal to the g vector
representing the resultant transformation that will lead to
the final gap or clearance and its orientation when applied to
a DRF.
6. Tolerance analysiswe consider an assembly constituted by p-parts. Each part is characterized by the xvector of the dimensions and by the -vector of the
geometrical variables that are known. When these parts
are assembled together, the resultant product is characterized by the u-vector of the assembly variables and by
the g vector of the measures required on the assembly.
It is possible to write L J  P 1 closed loops,
where J is the number of the ties among the parts that
looks like:
Hx; u; a 0

while there is an open loop for each measure to do that


looks like:
g Kx; u; a

Equation 3 allows us to calculate the measure g after


having solved the equations system (Equation 2). Equation 2
is not linear and it is solved by means of the direct
linearization method (DLM):
dH A  dx B  du F  da 0

du B1  A  dx  B1  F  da

dg C  dx D  du G  da

with Aij =Hi/xj, Bij =Hi/uj, Fij =Hi/j, Cij =Ki/xj,


Dij =Ki/uj, Gij =Ki/j.
From Eqs. 4 to 6:




dg C  D  B1  A  dx G  D  B1  F  da
Sx  dx Sa  da





where Sx C  D  B1  A and Sa G  D  B1  F
are the sensitivity matrices. When the sensitivity matrices

jSxik  txk j
k

X
l

jSail  tal j

while in the statistical scenario (root sum of squares) as:

gi

hX

Sxik  txk 2
k

Sail  tal 2
l

i1=2

The DLM is a very simple and rapid method, but it is


approximated too. When an approximated solution is
unacceptable, it is possible to use a numerical simulation
by means of a Monte Carlo technique to improve the exact
solution [1315].
2.2 Matrix model
Matrix-based model uses displacement matrices D which
describe the small displacements a feature may have one
inside the tolerance zones to represent the variability of the
parts. For each feature to which a tolerance is applied, there
is a local DRF and a displacement matrix which is defined
with respect to the local DRF. Besides, for each clearance
between two parts, there is a displacement matrix too and
the maximum value of the clearance is assumed as a
virtual tolerance. The displacement matrices are arranged
together through the principle of effects overlapping in
order to determine the resultant assembly measure. In fact,
the displacements are so small that it is possible to assume
that the total displacement is the sum of the displacements
due to the single cause (tolerances and assembly gaps)
[16, 17].
For each assembly measure, it is needed to define the
points used to model it. For example, if we have to measure
the clearance between two axes, it results by combining the
minimum and maximum distances that separate them.
Therefore, this implies the optimization of two distance
functions corresponding to the worst-case scenario [18].
To completely define the problem, the constraints due to
the displacement matrix D have to be added. These
constraints limit the features to remain inside the tolerance
zones that are applied to them. The constraints are applied
to the points characterizing the features with tolerances. For
example, if there is a location tolerance applied to a hole,
this means that its axis should remain inside a cylindrical
zone with an assigned diameter. It is enough that both the
extreme points of the axis remain inside the cylindrical
zone, once assumed that the axis maintains its nominal
shape. This involves two constraints on the displacements
of matrix D.
The matrix model is based on the positional tolerancing
and the technologically and topologically related surfaces

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

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(TTRS) criteria [19]. Moreover, the matrix model considers


only the worst-case solution and the features are assumed as
ideal, i.e., the form tolerances are considered as null. To
better understand this method, the basic steps are given
below for conducting a tolerance analysis:
1. Transform the tolerances applied on the drawingthe
first step is to transform the tolerances applied on a
drawing according to the positional tolerancing and the
TTRS criteria.
2. Create assembly graphthe second step is to create an
assembly graph. The assembly graph allows us to
locate the global DRF and the linkages among the
features on which the tolerances are assigned.
3. Locate the local DRF of each part featurethere is a
needed to assign a DRF to each part feature.
4. Define the measuresthere is a need to define the
points to use in order to evaluate the displacements. For
each point, there is a need to define the path connecting
the point to the global DRF up to the assembly
measure. The contributions of each point to the
assembly displacement have to be identified.
5. Define the single displacement contributions and the
constraintsit is necessary to define the contribution of
each displacement to the total displacements field and
its constraints. Each surface can be classified into one
of the seven classes of invariant surfaces and this
allows us to annul some displacements in order to
obtain a simplified displacement matrix. Therefore,
considering the generic ith feature, once indicated with
Ri the local DRF, with R the global DRF, with P1
R>Ri
the homogeneous matrix transformation from R to Ri
(this matrix depends only from the nominal geometry),
with mR the vector which components are the coordinates of the generic point M of the ith feature in the
local DRF, and with Di the displacement matrix by the
tolerances applied on the ith feature, the displacement
of point M in the global DRF is:
mRi P1
RRi  Di  I  mR

6. Apply the principle of effects overlapping and perform


the optimizationif more than one tolerances are
applied on the same part, their effects is calculated
through the principle of effects overlapping. For
example, if there are n tolerances applied to the same
feature that is characterized by the local DRF Ri, the
displacement of a generic point M belonging to the
feature is simply expressed as the sum of the single
contributors:

mR

n h
X

i
P1
R!Ri  Di  I  mRi

Adding the constraints obtained for each feature with


tolerances, a typical problem of optimization under constraints is gotten. The optimization problem is solved
through standard optimization algorithms.

3 Models comparison
3.1 Case study
To compare the two models previously described, the case
study shown in Fig. 1 has been used. It is constituted by a
box containing two circles. The aim of the tolerance
analysis is the measurement of the variation of the gap g
between the second circle and the top side of the box (g)
as a function of the tolerances applied to the components.
The first analysis has considered only the dimensional
tolerances that are shown in Fig. 2. The envelope principle
has been applied, i.e., rule #1 of the American Society of
Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards. Then, the tolerance
analysis has considered the geometrical tolerances too, as

10

Equation 10 gives the range of displacements of the ith


feature in the global DRF that is allowed by the tolerance
zone. Further points are necessary to specify the constraints
assuring the feature remains inside the bounds of the
tolerance zone. The additional constraints are defined by
limiting the displacement of a set of points Mi belonging to
the feature inside the t tolerance range

mRi  y Di  I  mRi  y  t=2

11

12

i1

Fig. 1 The case study

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Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

the exact geometric worst-case value of the required range


g in order to compare the results of the models. The exact
geometric worst-case results are: 0.89 mm for the case
considering dimensional tolerances only and 0.91 mm for
the case considering both dimensional and geometrical
tolerances (see Table 4).
3.2 Vector loop model
3.2.1 Dimensional tolerances only

Fig. 2 The case study with only dimensional tolerances

shown in Fig. 3. Both the envelope principle (according to


ASME Y19.4 standard) and the independent principle
(according to ISO 8015 standard) have been considered.
The case study has been solved through both the worstcase and the statistical approaches. The case study contains
all the characteristics and the critical aspects of the
problem, but at the same time it is so simple to calculate

Once the dimensions of the box was indicated as x1 and x2,


the diameter of the two circles as x3 and x4, and the
assembly variables as u1, u2, u3, u4 (see Fig. 4), the
assembly graph of Fig. 5 has been built. It shows two joints
of cylinder slider kind between the box and the circle 1 at
point A and point B, respectively, one joint of parallel
cylinder kind between the circle 1 and the circle 2 at point
C, one joint of cylinder slider kind between the circle 2 and
the box at point D, and the measure to perform (g).
A DRF has been assigned to each part; it is centered in
the point of Fig. 6 for the box and in the centers O1 and
O2 of the two circles. All the DRFs have the x-axis
horizontal. The DRF of the box is also considered as the
global DRF of the assembly. Then, the datum paths have
been created; they are shown in Fig. 6.
The vector loops have been created and placed on the
assembly using the datum paths as a guide. There are L
J  P 1 4  3 1 2 closed loops and one open
loop. The first (closed) loop joins the box and the circle 1
by the links passing from points A and B. The second
(closed) loop joins the subassembly boxcircle 1 and the

G
g
H

x2 = 80 0.50

O2

x4
D
x4

C
u4

x4

x3 = 20 0.05

x3

O1

x4 = 20 0.05

x3
x3

u2

E
A

u1
u3

x1 = 50 0.20

Fig. 3 The case study with dimensional and geometrical tolerances


(and rule #1)

Fig. 4 Assembly variables and tolerances of vector loop model


(dimensional tolerances only)

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123


Fig. 5 Assembly graph of vector loop model

1111
Table 1 Elements of R and T matrices of the loops (dimensional
tolerances only)

Circle 1
L1

L2

Box

Circle 2
L3
g

circle 2 by the links passing through points D and C. The


third (open) loop defines the gap (g). All the loops are in
counterclockwise verse. So that, we can resume the
elements of the R and T matrices of the loops in Table 1.
Once the vector loops are defined, the relative equations
have been generated. The details are reported in the
Appendix.
The gap g depends by the following x-variables through
the sensitivity coefficients whose calculation is reported
in the Appendix:
dg dx2  dx4  du4 0:2582  dx1
dx2  2:2910  dx3  2:2910  dx4

13

It is possible to calculate the solution in the worst case


as:

gWC 

jSi j  xi 0:7807 0:78 mm

14

The obtained solution is lower than the exact value


(0.89 mm) of about 12% (=(0.890.78)/0.89).

C
u4

1
2
3
4
5

0
90
7 13
90
90

u1
x3
x3
u2

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

gStat 

Fig. 6 Datum path of vector loop model

Nr.

0
90
90
7 24
0
7 26
90
90

x1
u4
x4
x4
x3
x3
u2

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

0
90
90
7 34
0
90
90
90

x1
u4
x4
x4
g
u3
x2

hX

Sxik  txk 2

i1=2

0:5158 0:52 mm:

3.2.2 Dimensional and geometrical tolerances


Once the dimensions of the box are indicated as x1 and x2,
the diameter of the two circles as x3 and x4, the assembly
variables as u1, u2, u3, u4, and the gap between the top side
of the box and the second circle that is the assembly
measure as g, the case study appears as shown in Fig. 7.
The DRFs and the datum paths are the same as the previous
case (see Section 3.2.1).
The vector loops are the same as the previous case, but
they have to take into consideration the geometrical
tolerances. The geometrical tolerances have to be translated
into the following variables of the x-vector:

u3

15

u1

Loop 3

It is possible to calculate the solution in the statistical


scenario (root sum of square) as:

x4

x3

Nr.

x3
u2

x3

O1

x4
x4

Loop 2

Nr.

H
O2

Loop 1

The flatness applied to datum A involves a translation of


the A point perpendicular to the datum A (x-axis) that is
represented by the variable a1 T A 1 0  0:10=2
0  0:05 mm.
The perpendicularity applied to datum B involves a
translation of the point B perpendicular to the datum B
(y-axis) that is represented by the variable a2 T B2
0  0:10=2 0  0:05 mm.
The parallelism applied to the right side of the box
involves a translation of the D point perpendicular to
the right side that is represented by the variable
a3 T D3 0  0:20=2 0  0:10 mm.
The circularity applied to circle 1 involves for the point
A, B, and C a translation of the points A, B, and C
along the radius direction that is represented by the

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F

//

G 0.10

0.10

0.20

H
O2

0.05

x2 = 80 0.50

//

0.05

x4
D
x4

C
u4

x4

x3 = 20 0.05

x3

O1

the top side that is represented by the variable


a10 T G6 0  0:10=2 0  0:05 mm.

G
g

x4 = 20 0.05

x3

Table 2 shows the elements of R and T matrices of the


loops.
Once the vector loops are generated, the relative
equations have been defined, as described in the Appendix.
The g gap depends by the x-vector through the sensitivity
coefficients that are calculated in the Appendix:

x3

u2

dg dx2 da10  dx4  du4  da9

E
A

u1

0:2582  dx1 dx2  2:2910  dx3

0.10

u3

2:2910  dx4 da1  0:2582  da2

x1 = 50 0.20

16

0:2582  da3  da4  0:2582  da5

Fig. 7 Assembly variables and tolerances of vector loop model


(dimensional and geometrical tolerances)

1:0328  da6 1:0328  da7


0:2582  da8  da9 da10

variables a4 T A4 0  0:05=2 0  0:025 mm,


a5 T B4 0  0:05=2 0  0:025 mm, and a6
T C4 0  0:05=2 0  0:025 mm.
The circularity applied to circle 2 involves for the point
C, D, and H a translation of the points C, D, and H
along the radius direction that is represented by the
variables a7 T C5 0  0:05=2 0  0:025 mm,
a8 T D5 0  0:05=2 0  0:025 mm, a nd a9
T H5 0  0:05=2 0  0:025 mm.
The parallelism applied to the top side of the box
involves a translation of the G point perpendicular to

It is possible to calculate the solution in the worst case:

gWC 

X

j Si j  x i


X 
Sj   aj

1:0340 1:03 mm

17

and it is higher than the exact solution (0.91 mm) of more


than 13% (=(1.030.91)/0.91).

Table 2 Elements of R and T matrices of the loops (dimensional and geometrical tolerances)
Loop 1

Loop 2

Nr.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

0
90
0
0
7 13
0
0
90
90

u1
a1
a4
x3
x3
a5
a2
u2

0  0:05
0  0:025

0  0:025
0  0:05

Loop 3

Nr.

Nr.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

0
90
90
0
0
7 24
0
0
0
7 26
0
0
90
90

x1
u4
a3
a8
x4
x4
a7
a6
x3
x3
a5
a2
u2

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

0  0:1
0  0:025

0  0:025
0  0:025

0  0:025
0  0:05

0
90
90
0
0
7 34
0
0
0

x1
u4
a3 0  0:1
a8 0  0:025
x4
x4
a9 0  0:025
G
a10 0  0:05

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

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3.3 Matrix model solution


3.3.1 Dimensional tolerances only

Fig. 8 Tolerancing of the case study for matrix model (dimensional


tolerances only)

It is possible to calculate the solution in the statistical


case (root sum of square):
hX
X
2 i1=2
gStat 
Sxik  txk 2
Saij  aj
0:5361 0:54 mm:

Fig. 9 Assembly graph of


matrix model (dimensional
tolerances only)

18

The first step of the matrix-based model is to transform the


tolerances of the case study assembly according to the
positional tolerancing and the TTRS criteria, as shown in
Fig. 8. The envelope rule (rule # 1 of ASME Y19.4
standard) may not be considered by the matrix model.
Therefore, the independence rule (according with ISO 8015
standard) has been considered. Then, the assembly graph
has been built by associating a circle to each part and a
semicircle to each feature of each part (see Fig. 9). The
arrows show the association links among the part features
to which the tolerances are associated. The features called
L1 and L4 are outlined since they have been considered as
the primary and the secondary datum. They form the global
DRF that has been called R. Moreover, the graph shows the
local DRF associated to the features, the displacements
matrices (D), and the required measure (g) between the
point E and the line L3. The two assembly matrices of the
circle 2 with the box and of the circle 2 with the assembly
boxcircle 1 are not assigned since the clearances between
the parts are zero (the features are always in contact
between them, Table 3).
A local DRF has been assigned to each feature of each
part; it is positioned in the low-left point for the box and in
the centers O1 and O2 for the two circles (see Fig. 10). The
DRF of the box is considered as global DRF of the
assembly too.

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Table 3 Classes of invariance and displacement matrix

The required measure g is the clearance between the


second circle (circle 2) and the top of the box (line L3). It is
calculated as the difference (g) from the nominal value
(gN =1.2702 mm). The variance of the gap should be
appraised perpendicularly to line L3, but for simplicity it is
approximately measured in the vertical direction (i.e., along
y-axis of the global DRF) and with reference to the nominal
points E and F as:
g yF  yE :

19

The F point belongs to feature L3 of the box. Therefore,


to calculate the displacement of F point, there is a need to
calculate the displacements of the L3 feature.

To calculate, the yE quantity is needed to consider that


the local DRF R6 could not be directly determined by the
global DRF R since there is a tolerances chain between
them. Therefore, there is a need to apply the principle of
effects overlapping and the total displacement of point E
may be expressed as the sum of the three contributors due
to the DRFs R5, R2, and R6:
yE yE;R5 yE;R2 yE;R6

20

The yE,R5 contributor is due to the variability of the


local DRF R5 of circle 1; the yE,R2 contributor is due to
the variability of the local DRF R2 of feature L2; and the

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

1115

Fig. 10 Scheme of DRF and


significant elements

3.3.2 Dimensional and geometrical tolerances

yE,R6 contributor is due to the variability of the local DRF


R6 of feature C2. From Eqs. 19 and 20, the required
measurement g may be calculated as:


g yF  yE yF  yE;R5 yE;R2 yE;R6
21
Developing its four terms (the details of the mathematical
steps are reported in Appendix), Eq. 21 gives:
g u3  5  sin g 3  v5 20  sin g 2
38:73  1  cos g 2  v6 :

22

Equation 22 has to be maximized under the following


constraints due to the required tolerances (the details of the
mathematical steps are reported in Appendix):
0:50  u3  25  sin g 3  0:50
0:50  u3 25  sin g 3  0:50
0:05  v5  0:05
0:05  u5  0:05
0:05  0:2500  u5 0:9682v5  0:05
0:20  u2  40  sin g 2  0:20
0:20  u2 40  sin g 2  0:20
0:05  u6  0:05
0:05  v6  0:05
0:05  0:25  u6 0:97  v6  0:05

It has been necessary to transform the tolerances of the case


study assembly according to the positional tolerancing and
the TTRS criteria, as shown in Fig. 11. Figure 11 does not
have the flatness tolerance of feature L1 and the circularity
tolerances of the circles which may not be considered by
this model since the form tolerances may not be considered
by the matrix model (i.e., the features have a nominal
shape). Moreover, the matrix model does not allow us to
apply the envelope principle in a right way since it is not
possible to distinguish between the application of the
ASME standard or of the ISO 8015 standard.
The assembly graph has been drawn in Fig. 12. Feature
L1 is outlined because it is considered the primary datum; it
forms the global DRF R. Figure 12 shows the local DRF
associated to the features, the displacements matrixes (D),
and the required measure (g) between the point E and the
line L3. The assembly matrices of the circle 2 on the box
and of the circle 2 on the assembly boxcircle 1 are not
assigned because the clearances between the parts are zero
(the features are always in contact between them).
A local DRF has been assigned to each feature of each
part; it is positioned in the low-left point for the box and in
the centers O1 and O2 for the two circles. The DRF of the
box is considered as global DRF of the assembly too.
Also, in this case, the variance of the gap is given by Eq. 21,
but now the displacement of E point must be expressed as a

23

A standard optimization algorithm has been used to


solve this optimization problem under constraints and the
result is:
gWC 0:70 mm

24

which is lower than the exact value (0.89 mm) of about


21% (=(0.890.70)/0.89).
The statistical approach (root sum of square) is not
applicable to the matrix model.

Fig. 11 Tolerancing of the case study for matrix model (dimensional


and geometrical tolerances)

1116

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

Fig. 12 Assembly graph of


matrix model (dimensional and
geometrical tolerances)

sum of the four contributors due to the DRFs R5, R2, R6, and
R4:
yE yE;R5 yE;R2 yE;R6 yE;R4

25

A standard optimization algorithm has been used to


solve this optimization problem under constraints and the
result is:

Equation 25 differs from Eq. 20 for the contributor due


to the local DRF R4. From Eqs. 21 and 24, the required
measurement g may be calculated as:

gWC 0:69 mm

g yF  yE yF


 yE;R5 yE;R2 yE;R4 yE;R6

which is lower than the exact value (0.91 mm) of about


24% (=(0.910.69)/0.91).
The statistical approach (root sum of squares) is not
applicable to the matrix model.

26

Developing its five terms (the details of the mathematical


steps are reported in Appendix), Eq. 26 gives:

29

g u3  5  sin g 3  v5 20  sin g 2
38:73  1  cos g 2  v6  30  sin g 4

27

38:73  1  cos g 4
Equation 27 has to be maximized under the following
constraints due to the required tolerances (the details of the
mathematical steps are reported in Appendix):
0:50  u3  25  sin g 3  0:50
0:50  u3 25  sin g 3  0:50
0:10  50  sin g 3  0:10
0:05  v5  0:05
0:05  u5  0:05
0:05  0:25  u5 0:97  v5  0:05
0:20  u2  40  sin g 2  0:20
0:20  u2 40  sin g 2  0:20
0:20  80  sin g 2  0:20
0:05  u6  0:05
0:05  v6  0:05
0:05  0:2500  u6 0:9682  v6  0:05
0:10  80  sin g 4  0:10

28

4 Comparison
Table 4 shows the results obtained by the application of the
two considered models to the same case study. The second
column shows the values of the gap range (g) obtained by
means of the exact worst-case approach. The third and
fourth columns report the results obtained by the vector
loop and the matrix models.
The vector loop model has two advantages as regards to
the matrix model: it allows us to model form tolerances and
it may be solved by means of a statistical approach. The
vector loop model gives better results than matrix does
since the results are nearer to the exact solution than the
matrix ones.
It is possible to see that the matrix model gives always
an underestimate, while the vector loop model underestimates if only the dimensional tolerances are considered
and overestimates if both dimensional and geometrical
tolerances are taken into account. This is due to the fact that
the vector loop model sums the assigned tolerances by

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

1117

Table 4 Comparison among vector loop and matrix models


g [mm]
Only dim.
Dim. + geom.

Worst case
Statistical
Worst case
Statistical

Exact solution

Vector loop

Matrix

0.89

0.91

0.78 (12%)
0.52
1.03 (+13%)
0.54

0.70 (21%)

0.69 (24%)

considering them independent; actually, if a geometric


tolerance, for example, a flatness, is applied to a feature
where there is a dimensional tolerance too, the flatness
tolerance range has to be included inside the dimensional
tolerance limits. Then, the assumption of independence
among the tolerances is not realistic. It is important to note
that in the vector loop model a dimensional tolerance is
modeled by a vector with only one parameter that can
change (its length). This simplification does not allow us to
apply the independence principle.
However, the two considered models have three
common limits. The first deals with the assembly cycle:
the two models are not able to correctly represent the
coupling with clearance between two parts. The second
deals with the representation of the tolerances applied to
the assemblys components: the two models do not give a
complete correspondence among the model variables and
the parts tolerances. Moreover, the translation of the
parts tolerances into model variables does not satisfy the
standards (ASME or ISO), such as it has just been shown
for the effect of the correlation among the applied
tolerances. The third deals with the independence principle:
the two models do not allow us to apply the independence
and/or the envelope rule to different tolerances of the same
parts.

Appendix
Case study solution by vector loop model
with dimensional tolerances only
As concerning the first loop, Eq. 1 becomes:
R1  T1  R2  T2  R3  T3  R4  T4  Rf I

30

that gives the system:


u1 x3 cos 90 f13 u2 cos 180 f13 0
x3 x3 sin 90 f13 u2 sin 180 f13 0
f13  90 0

31

As concerning the second loop:


R1  T1  R2  T2  R3  T3  R4  T4 
R5  T5  R6  T6  R7  T7  Rf I

32

that gives the system:


x1  x4 x4 cos 180 f24 x3 cos 180 f24
x3 cos 180 f24 f26 0
u4 x4 sin 180 f24 x3 sin 180 f24
x3 sin 180 f24 f26  u2 0
f24 f26 0

33

5 Conclusions
As concerning the third loop:
This paper firstly makes a brief review of two state-of-theart tolerance analysis models, the vector loop and the
matrix. Then, the two models are compared, in order to
highlight the advantages and the weakness of each model,
based on the experimental results and available information
from the literature.
The application of the models on the same case study
and the experimental results show how both the vector loop
and the matrix models have their advantages and the
weakness that are investigated and explained.
Further researches includes the definition of a new and
original model able to overcome the limits highlighted in this
work.

R1  T1  R2  T2  R3  T3  R4  T4  R5 
T5  R6  T6  R7  T7  Rf G

34

that gives:
g x 2  u4  x 4

35

From the sensitivity analysis:


A  dx B  du 0

36

that gives:
du B1  A  dx Su  dx

37

1118

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

where: du={du1, du2, du4, d13, d24, d26}T, dx={dx1,


dx2, dx3, dx4}T ={0.20,0.50,0.05,0.05}T, and
3
2
0
0
1
0
7
6
0
0
1
0
7
6
6
0:2582 0 2:2910
1:2910 7
7
Su 6
7
6
0
0
0
0
7
6
4 0:0258 0 0:0323
0:0323 5
0:0258 0 0:0323 0:0323

that gives the system:


x1  x4 a3 a8 x3 x4 a6 a7  cos 180 f24
x3 a2 a5  cos 180 f24 f26 0
u4 x3 x4 a6 a7  sin 180 f24
x3 a2 a5  sin 180 f24 f26  u2 0
f24 f26 0

41
As concerning the third loop:

Case study solution by vector loop model with dimensional


and geometrical tolerances

R1  T1  R2  T2  R3  T3  R4  T4  R5 

42

T5  R6  T6  . . .  R11  T11  Rf G

As concerning the first loop, Eq. 1 becomes:


R1  T1  R2  T2  R3  T3  R4  T4  R5 
T5  R6  T6  R7  T7  R8  T8  Rf I

that gives:
38

g x2 a10  u4  x4  a9

43

that gives the system:


u1 x3 a2 a5  cos 90 f13
u2 cos 180 f13 0
x3 a1 a4 x3 a2 a5  sin 90 f13
u2 sin 180 f13 0
f13  90 0

As concerning the sensitivity analysis, we have:


39

Sud  dx Sua  da

As concerning the second loop:


R1  T1  R2  T2  R3  T3  R4  T4  R5 
T5  R6  T6  . . .  R13  T13  Rf I

du B1  A  dx  B1  C  da

40

44

where: du={du1, du2, du4, d13, d24, d26}T, dx={dx1,


dx2, dx3, dx4} T = {0.20,0.50,0.05,0.05}T, d = {d 1,...,
d10}T = {0.05,0.05,0.10,0.025,0.025,0.025,0.025,0.025,
0.025,0.05}T, and

Sua

0
61
6
61
6
60
6
40
0

3
0
0
1
0
6
7
0
0
1
0
6
7
6
0:2582 0 2:2910
1:2910 7
7
Sud 6
6
7
0
0
0
0
6
7
4 0:0258 0 0:0323
0:0323 5
0:0258 0 0:0323 0:0323
1
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0:2582
0:2582 1 0:2582
1:0328
1:0328
0
0
0
0
0
0
0:0258
0:0258 0 0:0258
0:0064
0:0064
0:0258 0:0258 0 0:0258 0:0064 0:0064

Case study solution by MATRIX model


with dimensional tolerances only
Equation 21 and the relative equation constraints (Eq. 22)
due to the required tolerances are obtained developing the
single terms in Eq. 20; to do this was as follows.
To calculate, the yF quantity is needed to consider that
the F point belongs to feature L3 of the box. Therefore, to
calculate the displacement of F point, there is a need to
calculate the displacements of the L3 feature. The displace-

0
0
0:2582
0
0:0258
0:0258

0
0
0
0
0
0

3
0
07
7
07
7
07
7
05
0

ments of L3 feature are obtained from a planar feature (see


Table 3) by considering that the problem is 2-D and,
therefore, the rotation angle around y-axis may be annulled
(=0):
2

cg  cb
6 sg  cb
6
D3 4
sb
0

sg
cg
0
0

cg  sb
sg  sb
cb
0

3 2
cg 3
u
6
07
7 6 sg 3
05 4 0
1
0

sg 3
cg 3
0
0

3
0 u3
0 07
7
1 05
0 1

45

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

1119

The homogeneous transformation matrix to pass from


the DRF R to the DRF R3 [PR->R3] is given by:
2

PR>R3

ca
6 sa
6
4 0
0

sa
ca
0
0

0
0
1
0

x
0
6 1
y 7
76
0 5 4 0
1
0

1
0
0
0

0
0
1
0

25
80 7
7
0 5
1
46

The displacements of point F are given by:


2

61


6
FF00 R P1
R>R3  D3  I  FR3 6
40
2
6
6
6
4

1  cg 3

sg 3

sg 3

1  cg 3

0
0

0
0

0
0

1

80

25 7
7
7
0 5

0 0 0
1
3 2 3 2
3
0
5  1  cg 3
7
6 7 6
07
7 6 5 7 6 u3  5  sg 3 7
76 76
7
5
0 5 405 4
0
0
0
1

47
Therefore:
48

The constraints on the feature L3 may be calculated by


considering the point H:

 

HH' x D3  I  H x  t3 =2
49
R3
R3
that gives:
2

1  cg 3

sg 3

u3

sg 3
0

1  cg 3
0

0
0

0
0

0
0
0
3 2 3
1
0
6 25 7 6 0 7
6 7 6 7
 6 7  6 7 u3  25  sg 3
4 0 5 405

6
6
D3  I  HR3  x 6
4
2

along z-axis is null (i.e.,


0
0
1
0

3
u5
v5 7
7
05
1

The homogeneous transformation matrix to pass from


the DRF R to the DRF R5 [PR->R5] is given by:
2
3 2
3
ca sa 0 x
1 0 0 20
6 sa ca 0 y 7 6 0 1 0 20 7
76
7
PR>R5 6
4 0
0
1 0 5 40 0 1 0 5
0
0
0 1
0 0 0 1

3
7
7
7
5

The displacements of E point are given by:


2
1 0
60 1


6
EE0 0 R P1
R>R5  D5  I  ER5 6
40 0
0 0
3 2 3
2
3 2
u5
0 0 0 u5
10
6 0 0 0 v 7 6 58:73 7 6 v 7
57 6
7 6 57
6
6
76 7
76
40 0 0 0 5 4 0 5 4 0 5
0

Substituting Eq. 50 in Eq. 49, the constraints on H point


is given by:
51

In the same way, the constraints on G point is given by:


0:50  u3 25  sing 3  0:50

52

The yE,R5 contributor is due to the variability of the


local DRF R5 of circle 1. It may be calculated by means of
the spherical matrix (see Table 3) that is simplified by

0
1
0

20

20 7
7
7
0 5
1

Therefore:
yE;R5 v5

56

The constraints on the feature C1 may be calculated by


considering the point A:

 

AA' r D5  I  A r  t5 =2
57
R5
R5
that gives:
2

0
60
6
D5  I  AR5  r 4
0
0

50

55

0
0
0
0

0
0
0
0

3
3 2
3 2
0
0
u5
7
7 6
6
v5 7
7  6 20 7  6 1 7 v5
05 4 0 5 4 0 5
0
1
0

0:50  u3  25  sing 3  0:50

53

54

u3

yF u3  5  sing 3

considering that the displacement


w=0) since the problem is 2-D:
2
3 2
1 0 0 u
1 0
60 1 0 v 7 60 1
7 6
D5 6
40 0 1 w5 40 0
0 0 0 1
0 0

58
Substituting Eq. 58 in Eq. 57 the constraints on A point
becomes:
0:05  v5  0:05

59

In the same way, the constraints on the points B and C


are given by:
0:05  u5  0:05

60

0:05  0:2500  u5 0:9682v5  0:05

61

1120

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

The yE,R2 contributor is due to the variability of the


local DRF R2 of feature L2. It may be calculated by means
of the plane element matrix (see Table 3) that is simplified
by considering that the rotation angle around the y-axis is
null (=0) since the problem is 2-D:
2

cg  cb
6 sg  cb
6
D2 4
sb
0

sg
cg
0
0

cg  sb
sg  sb
cb
0

u
cg 2
6
07
7 6 sg 2
05 4 0
0
1

that gives:
2

1  cg 2
sg 2
6
sg 2
1  cg 2
6
D2  I  HR2  x 6
4
0
0

sg 2
cg 2
0
0

0
0
0

3
u2
07
7
7
05

0
0
0
2
3 2 3
1
0
6 40 7 6 0 7
6
7 6 7
6
7  6 7 u2  40  sg 2
4 0 5 405

0 u2
0 07
7
1 05
0 1

62

67
The homogeneous transformation matrix to pass from
the DRF R to the DRF R2 [PR->R2] is given by:
2

PR>R2

ca
6 sa
6
4 0
0

sa
ca
0
0

3 2
0 x
1
6 0
0 y 7
76
1 0 5 4 0
0 1
0

0
1
0
0

0
0
1
0

3
50
40 7
7
0 5
1
63

The displacements of E point are given by:


2

3
1 0 0 50
6 0 1 0 40 7


6
7
EE0 R P1
7
R>R2  D2  I  ER2 6
4 0
0 1 0 5
0
0 0 1
2
3 2
3
sg 2
0 u2
1  cg 2
20
6
6
7
sg 2
1  cg 2 0 0 7
6
7 6 38:73 7
6
76
7
4
0
0
0 05 4 0 5
0
0
0 0
1
2
3
20  1  cg 2  38:73  sg 2  u2
6 20  sg  38:73  1  cg 7
6
7
2
2
6
7
4
5
0

Substituting Eq. 67 in Eq. 66, the constraints on H point


becomes:
0:20  u2  40  sing 2  0:20

68

In the same way, the constraints on I point is given by:


0:20  u2 40  sing 2  0:20

69

The yE,R6 contributor is due to the variability of the


local DRF R6 of feature C2. It may be calculated by means
of the spherical element matrix (see Table 3) that is
simplified by considering that the displacement along zaxis is null (w=0) since the problem is 2-D:
2
3 2
3
1 0 c0 u
1 0 0 u6
6 0 1 0 v 7 6 0 1 0 v6 7
7 6
7
D6 6
70
40 0 1 w5 40 0 1 0 5
0 0 0 1
0 0 0 1
The homogeneous transformation matrix to pass from
the DRF R to the DRF R6 [PR->R6] is given by:
2

PR>R6

ca
6 sa
6
4 0
0

3 2
0 x
1
60
0 y 7
76
1 0 5 40
0 1
0

sa
ca
0
0

0
1
0
0

0
0
1
0

3
30
58:73 7
7
0 5
1
71

64

The displacements of E point are given by:


2

Therefore:
yE;R2 20  sing 2  38:73  1  cosg 2

65

The constraints on the feature L2 may be calculated by


considering the point H:

 

HH' x D2  I  H x  t2 =2
R2
R2

66

1 0

60 1


6

D
EE0 R P1


I



E


6
6
R>R6
R6
40 0

60
6
6
40

0
0

0
0

0 0
3 2 3 2 3
u6
0
u6
6 7 6 7
v6 7
7 6 20 7 6 v6 7
76 76 7
05 4 0 5 405

0
0
1
0

30

58:73 7
7
7
0 5
1

72

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

1121

Therefore:

Case study solution by MATRIX model


with dimensional and geometrical tolerances

yE;R6 v6

73

The constraints on the feature C2 may be calculated by


considering the point D:


DD0  xjjD6  I  H x t6 =2
R6
R6

74

Equation 27 and the relative equation constraints in Eq. 28,


due to the required tolerances, are obtained developing the
single terms in Eq. 26; to do this was as follows.
To calculate the yF quantity is sufficient to consider
that it is the same as the previous case that considers only
dimensional tolerances, then:
yF u3  5  sing 3

that gives:
2

0
60
D6  I  DR6  x 6
40
0

0
0
0
0

0
0
0
0

3 2 3 2 3
1
20
u6
6 0 7 607
v6 7
7  6 7  6 7 u6
0 5 4 0 5 405
0
1
0

82

Two tolerances are applied to feature L3: one is a


position tolerance that imposes to the feature the same
constraints of the dimensional case study:

75

0:50  u3  25  sing 3  0:50

83

Substituting Eq. 75 in Eq. 74, the constraints on D point


becomes:

0:50  u3 25  sing 3  0:50

84

0:05  u6  0:05

the other is an orientation tolerance that imposes the


following constraints on the displacement of the two
extreme points H and I:

76

In the same way, the constraints on E point is given by:


0:05  v6  0:05

77

In the same way, the constraints on C point is given by:



 

CC' r D6  I  C r  t6 =2
78
R6
R6
that gives:
2

0
60
6
D6  I  CR6  r 6
40

0
0

3
3 2
5
0 u6
6
7
0 v6 7
7 6 19:37 7
7
76
0 05 4 0 5

0
1
0 0 0 0
2
3
0:25
6 0:97 7
6
7
6
7 0:25  u6 0:97  v6
4 0 5
0
79

Substituting Eq. 79 in Eq. 78, the constraints on C point


becomes:
0:05  0:25  u6 0:97  v6  0:05

80

Substituting Eqs. 48, 56, 65, and 73 in Eq. 20 is:


g u3  5  sing 3  v5 20  sing 2 38:73
 1  cosg 2  v6

81

subject to the constraints of Eq. 51, 52, 5961, 68, 69, 76,
77, and 80.





 HH'R3 II'R3 x 


 


D3  I  HR3 IR3  x  to

85

Remembering the results obtained before (Eqs. 39


and 40), we have:
u3  25  sg 3  u3 25  sg 3 50  sg 3

86

Therefore, the constraint (Eq. 41) becomes:


0:10  50  sing 3  0:10:

87

The yE,R5 contributor is equal to that of the dimensional case study:


yE;R5 v5

88

The constraints are those of the dimensional case study


too:
0:05  v5  0:05

89

0:05  u5  0:05

90

0:05  0:25  u5 0:97  v5  0:05

91

1122

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

The yE,R2 contribute is equal to that of the dimensional


case study:
yE;R2 20  sg 2  38:73  1  cosg 2

92

Two tolerances are applied to feature L2: one is the


position tolerance that imposes to the feature the same
constraints of the dimensional case study:
0:20  u2  40  sing 2  0:20

The homogeneous transformation matrix to pass from


the DRF R to the DRF R4 PR!R4  is given by:
2
3 2
3
ca sa 0 x
1 0 0 0
6 sa ca 0 y 7 6 0 1 0 40 7
76
7
PR>R4 6
4 0
0
1 0 5 40 0 1 0 5
0
0
0 1
0 0 0 1
103
The displacements of E point are equal to:

93

0:20  u2 40  sing 2  0:20

94

The other tolerance is an orientation tolerance that


imposes the following constraints on the displacements of
the two extreme points H and G:


 HH' GG' x 
R2
R2


 
95
D2  I  HR2 GR2  x  to
Remembering the results obtained before (Eqs. 93
and 94), we have:
u2  40  sg 2  u2 40  sg 2 80  sg 2

96



EE0 R P1
R>R4  D4  I  ER4
2

1  cg 4
6
sg 4
6
6
4
0

1
60
6
6
40
0

sg 4
1  cg 4

0
0

0
1

0
0

0 0
1
3
3 2
30
0
6
7
07
7 6 38:73 7
7
76
05 4 0 5

0
0
0
0
0 0
2
3
30  1  cg 4  38:73  sg 4
6 30  sg  38:73  1  cg 7
6
4
4 7
6
7
4
5
0

0
104

Therefore, the constraint (Eq. 91) becomes:


0:20  80  sing 2  0:20

97

The contributor yE,R6 is equal to that of the dimensional case:


yE;R6 v6

98

and the constraints are:


0:05  u6  0:05

99

0:05  v6  0:05

100

Therefore:
yE;R4 30  sing 4  38:73  1  cosg 4

101

The contributor yE,R4 is the variability of point E due


to the variability of the local DRF R4 of feature L4. It may
be calculated by means of the plane elements matrix
simplified by considering that the rotation angle around the
y-axis is null (=0):
2

cg  cb
6 sg  cb
D4 6
4 sb
0

sg
cg
0
0

cg  sb
sg  sb
cb
0

cg 4
u
6 sg 4
07
76
05 4 0
1
0

sg 4
cg 4
0
0

0
0
1
0

0
07
7
05
1

102

105

The orientation tolerance applied to feature L4 imposes a


constraint on the displacements of the two extreme points O
and I:

 
 OO' II'

R4
R4  x


 
D4  I  OR4 IR4  x  t4 =2
106
that gives:
2

0:05  0:2500  u6 0:9682  v6  0:05

3
0
40 7
7
7
0 5

6


6
D4  I  OR4  IR4  x 6
4

sg 4

sg 4

1  cg 4

07
7
7
05

0
0
3 2 3
1
6 80 7 6 0 7
6
7 6 7
6
7  6 7 80  sg 4
4 0 5 405
2

1  cg 4

107
Substituting Eq. 107 in Eq. 106, the constraints on points
O and I become:

0:10  80  sing 4  0:10

108

Int J Adv Manuf Technol (2009) 43:11061123

1123

Substituting Eqs. 82, 88, 92, 98, and 105 in Eq. 49 is:
g u3  5  sing 3  v5 20  sing 2 38:73
 1  cosg 2  v6  30  sing 4 38:73
 1  cosg 4

109

subject to the constraints of Eq. 83, 84, 8794, 97101,


and 108.

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