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A WEB-BASED DESIGN TOOL FOR SNAP-FIT FEATURES

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A WEB-BASED DESIGN TOOL FOR SNAP-FIT FEATURES

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ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences

ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and

& Computers

Computers and Information

and Informationin in

Engineering Conference

Engineering Conference

September 24-28, 2005, Long Beach, California

September 24-28, 2005, Long Beach, California, USA

USA

DETC2005-84415

DETC2005-84415

Bayer HealthCare The Ohio State University

1884 Miles Avenue, Department of Mechanical Engineering

PO Box 70 Suite 255, 650 Ackerman Road

Elkhart, IN 46515 Columbus, OH 43202

tieming.ruan.b@bayer.com luscher.3@osu.edu

ABSTRACT 1. INTRODUCTION

This paper describes an interactive web-based design tool, A current trend in the design and manufacture of products

developed by using a web-based server application, for the is to reduce cost, part count and assembly time. As part of

three most common snap-fit features that are the cantilever Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA), features that

hook, post & dome and bayonet & finger. Response surface can be molded directly into a part such as snap-fit can be a

equations that predict each snap-fit features performance were quick, simple and cost effective way of assembling plastic parts

applied in this web-based design tool. This web-based design [1]. When designed properly, parts with snap-fits can be

tool also applied constraint management (CM), which helps the assembled and disassembled numerous times without any

designers switch the input and output on the fly and prevent adverse effect on the assembly. Snap-fits are also the most

over-constraint. Two other constraint management modules environmentally friendly form of assembly because of their

were applied. The first one is sensitivity analysis module used ease of disassembly, making components of different materials

to determine the inputs dependency to a specified output also easier to recycle. Figure 1 shows three commonly used snap-fit

applied in the design tool. The second one is correction advisor topologies that are discussed in this paper.

module used to see how much each dependent inputs value Traditionally, the snap-fit design process has been

should change if one output changes to a new value. Two disorganized and anecdotal in nature, relying greatly on the

optimization modules, single-objective optimization and skill and the experience of the individual designer. The most

multiple-objective optimization, are applied to optimize the popular source of information is the design guides from resin

performance of snap-fit features. suppliers such as Honeywell Plastics [1], GE Plastics [2] and

Finally a real design case for cantilever hook was Bayer Polymer [3]. However the information disseminated by

conducted and the results were compared to experiment results. these guides is fragmentary and often of various degrees of

. approximation. For example, the Euler-Bernoulli beam theory

KEYWORDS applied in these design guides is based on small deformation,

Assembly, Fastening & joining, Snap-fit, Web-based, which is commonly violated in real-world designs. It will be of

Design Tool, Constraint Management.. great value if design information for snap-fit features becomes

available to the designers in an abstracted form (as opposed to

NOMENCLATURE application-specific data).

Snap-fit design can be extremely variable, with the same

Insertion force: The force applied to a snap-fit feature to feature driven by very different constraints. For example when

engage it. designing a cantilever hook, one user may want to minimize its

Locking ratio: The ratio of maximum retention force to overall dimensions for packaging concerns while another user

maximum insertion force of a snap-fit may want to minimize the stress and strain due to material

feature. considerations. To facilitate this approach to design, this web-

Retention force: The force applied to a snap-fit feature to based design tool allows the user to switch design inputs and

disassemble it. design outputs in the design process. It can be considered

variational since the design factors used to drive the design do

not need to be known beforehand.

The purpose of this paper is to describe a web based design can be distributed at a company site-wide over an intranet or

to facility the effective and efficient design of three types of worldwide over the Internet. This makes it easily accessible to

snap-fit features. Its design approach, the flowchart behind it, a user, and universal upgrades can be achieved by simply

and an example problem are all presented. updating the software at the server location.

interactive online support tool that receives inputs from the user

to generate a technical recommendation for cantilever snap-fit

design. This design tool calculates the theoretical strain that

occurs when a cantilever is deflected. This maximum strain is

assumed to occur on the outer layer of the beam thickness,

usually at the base of the latch (cantilever hook). Strains can

also be calculated for a latch, which varies linearly in both

thickness and width from the base of the tip to latch. After the

users specify the material, its brand and geometry dimensions

for cantilever, this design tool will predict the deflection force

and outer fiber strain.

Honeywell Plastics [6] developed an online Snap-Fit

Design Workspace. It is a web-based application that serves as

an engineering tool in snap-fit design. The program provides a

workspace for the designer to test different scenarios by

adjusting various input parameters and selecting different

Figure 1-(b): Post & dome engineering material for the snap-fit design. The following

snap-types were included: five different uniform beams, two

different tapered beams, two different U shaped beam cases,

2. LITERATURE REVIEW and an L shaped beam. The cantilever beam formulas used in

Oh et al. [4] created a calculator in which the design conventional snap-fit design poorly estimates the amount of

equations of seven snap-fit features (annular snap, bayonet & strain at the beam/wall interface because they do not include

finger, post & dome, cantilever hook, cantilever-hole, the deformation in the wall itself. To obtain a more accurate

compressive hook, L-shaped hook and U-shaped hook) were prediction of total allowable deflection and strain for short

implemented. This calculator aids in designing snap-fits to meet beams, a deflection magnification factor was applied in this

specific loading requirements by allowing the designer to size design workspace.

the feature to obtain desired estimates for maximum insertion Jeff Raquet [7] used Java Applet to create a snap calculator

and retention forces. This calculator was developed in JAVATM to assist in the development of correct parameters in the design

language that is independent of operating system platforms and of a plastic snap-fit. Designers need to select a material and

give values to several specified inputs. Then based on these IIS applications run with multiple browsers and

inputs, insertion force and stress at root are computed. It also multiple versions of those browsers. They'll also run

provide an optimize option to minimize the snap-fits volume. on multiple platforms, including Mac OSX and Unix

GE Plastics [8], Engineers Edge [9, 10] and Brock and machines.

Wright of University of California at Berkeley [11] also Because the application resides in its entirely on the

developed similar online snap-fit calculators. All of them used web server, the administrator can update the entire

conventional design equations based on small deformation and application with a single code change. There are no

long beam assumptions. Nonlinear finite element analysis client-side installation issues.

(FEA) was used to develop design equations incorporated into The application is available from any location with a

this design tool. web-browser. A client isn't bound to one computer.

All the data is centralized.

3. SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE OF DESIGN TOOL

Figure 2 shows the system architecture used in the 5.CONSTRAINT MANAGEMENT AND OPTIMIZATION

development of this web-based design tool. All the sub-

components of the web-based design tool derive information CONSTRAINT MANAGEMENT

from the pre-compiled mathematical models and the design For optimization purpose a given mechanical system can

selection. Several requirements drove the system architecture. be characterized by m nonlinear equalities and p inequalities in

First extensive modules were available for constraint n unknown variables as follows:

management and it was desired these not be recompiled.

Equation module includes the design equations of each snap-fit hi ( x1, x2,L, xn ) = 0, i = 1, 2,L , m (1)

feature. Graphics module includes all different web-based

components that will display in the web browser. The solver is

used to calculate any possible output parameters based on the

current input parameters or solved parameters. The optimizer

includes two optimization modules single objective

gi ( x1, x2,L, xn ) 0, i = 1, 2,L , n (2)

analysis calculates the inputs dependency to a specified output

and correction advisor determines how much each dependent With x1, x2, , xn being the design variables.

inputs value should change if one output changes to a new In addition, there might be limit constraints in the

value. Finally these modules communicate with constraint following form:

manager to update the status of input and output parameters.

xl x xu , (3)

Visual Basic Fortran

code code If the inequality constraints are converted to equality

constraints using p non-negative slack variables, the total

Graphics Equation Web-based number of design variables increase from n to n+p. A more

Design Tool general formulation can get as follows:

Solver

fi ( x1, x2,L, xN ) = 0,

i = 1, 2,L , M (4)

Equalities

Design

Inequalities Sensitivity xl x xu , i = 1, 2,L , N (5)

Optimizer Analysis &

Selection Constraint Correction

Manager Advisor

xi 0, i = n + 1, n + 2,L , N (6)

(Slack Variables)

Where N=n+p and M=m+p.

Interactive Web Browsers

design system into one of the following three categories:

User If M<N: Under-determined system

Figure 2: System Architecture of the Web-based Design Tool If M=N: Fully-determined system

There are many programming tools available to Web-based

application such as JavaTM, JavaScriptTM, VBScriptTM and Most representations of mechanical design problems are

Visual Basic Internet Information Server (VB-IIS). The VB-IIS under-determined, and they exhibit (N-M) degrees of freedom.

application was choose for this Web-based application because These degrees of freedom translate into (N-M) inputs variables

it has the following advantages: before the design is complete. The input variables can be the

design specifications e.g. load requirement, safety factor, etc. or

decision variables selected by optimization algorithm, e.g. Multiple-objective or multi-criteria optimization problems

insertion force, insertion strain. In this paper, we treat snap-fit occur in snap-fit design. Several books [17-19] discuss various

design as an under-determined system. methods of transforming a multiple objective optimization

In a fully-determined system, when M is equal to N, there problem into a substitute problem by using a special preference

is only one possible design case. For the under-determined function as its objective function. This transformation method

systems, the number of valid design cases is usually less than is regarded as optimization strategy. In this study a Weighted

the number of possible design cases because certain Sum strategy was applied. All the objective functions are

combinations of variables will lead to direct redundancy evaluated qualitatively according to their functional importance

problems. The following simple example is used to illustrate and are assigned weights indicating the designers subjective

the concept of direct redundancy. preference. Weighted sum strategy constructs a sum of all

weight-factored objectives as a preference function [17-19].

X3=X1+X2 (7)

6. SNAP-FIT FEATURES

X4=X32 (8) The three snap-fit features implemented in this web-based

design tool were shown in Figure 1 and are described in more

Since there are 4 variables in 2 equations, the number of detail here.

possible design cases is 6. For more details about how to

calculate the number of possible design cases, please refer to CANTILEVER HOOK SNAP-FIT FEATURE

[12]. But the case which selects X3 and X4 as input variables The cantilever hook is the most widely utilized snap-fit

leads to direct redundancy. feature (Figure 1-a). For cantilever hook with low retention

In a simple constraint design problem, as the one above, angle, the equations from design guides [1-3] are reasonable

direct redundancies are easy to identify. But, when the size of accurate to calculate its performance. However for cantilever

constraint network increases, determination of direct hooks with a high retention angle, the retention case becomes a

redundancies become a complex problem. Interactive design very complex phenomenon, and experimental results do not

programs built over the constraints of a mechanical system match the equations from those design guides. A two-

should permit the user to input any valid combination of design dimensional, nonlinear contact finite element analysis (FEA)

variables. Constraint management can determine which model was created to simulate the performance of cantilever

variables are dependent upon the known variables and the most hook with a high retention angle. This FEA model overcame

efficient solution scheme to solve for these dependent variables. the major limitations existing in the current design guides by

Assuming the several variables have been already been input allowing slippage to occur between the retention face and the

and other variables have been solved, an interactive constraint mating part. The authors used two sets of design arrays to

manager has to deal with the following situations: generate the design equation for the retention case offing

New Specification Problem: Input of any unknown cantilever hook with a high retention angle. The first array, a

variable. Determine if there are any dependent two-level fractional factorial design, was used to identify the

variables and solve them. most significant generic factors. The second array, a central

Respecification Problem: Change in the value of the composite design (CCD), was used to generate a second order

variable which has already been input. response surface equation of retention force for cantilever hook

Unspecification Problem: Deletion of the value of a with a high retention angle.

variable which was previous specified as an input.

Reverse Specification Problem: Input of a value for a POST & DOME SNAP-FIT FEATURE

variable which has been computed. The post & dome feature is a high performance snap-fit

These four situations will be illustrated by a detailed that is self-datuming and can take some shear loading in

example. References [12-15] explained more details for each of addition to retention (Figure 1-b). The authors became aware of

the above situations. this feature from working with Fish-Price, a division of Mattel.

It provides a higher locking ratio than traditional cantilever

hooks, and its retention strength is less dependent on friction.

OPTIMIZATION Nichols [20] created two design arrays to study the post &

Two optimization modules were applied in the snap-fit dome snap-fit feature. The first, called the catch array; is a

design tool. The first module is based on single objective focused array constructed to determine the optimal preload and

optimization and is used to optimize one snap-fit design molded-in undercut at the interface between the post & dome

parameter at a time. The other module is based on multiple segments. Optimal performance is judged with respect to both

objective optimization used to optimize snap-fit several design the snap-fits maximum retention force and maximum locking

parameters at the same time. ratio. The second array, called the macro array, is a

A single-objective optimization problem may have (and comprehensive design of experiments array. The objective of

usually does have) a single-valued, unique solution. In this the macro array is to generate design data for a variety of

study a single-objective optimization problem can be divided possible dome geometries. Design equations are provided by

into two steps. First step is to use Golden Section Method to subsequent analysis of the finite element data using response

find the search direction, and then the next step is use BFGS surface methodology (RSM). The designed equations provide

(Broydon-Fletcher-Goldfarb-Shanno) method to find the estimates for the maximum insertion force, insertion strain, and

optimum value. Detailed derivation of the method is given in retention force applicable for an idealized post & dome snap-fit

Arora [16]. The optimization module used from references [12- feature.

15].

RESPECIFICATION PROBLEM

BAYONET & FINGER SNAP-FIT FEATURE Designers can change the value of the variables which has

A Bayonet & finger snap-fit feature contains a bayonet, a already been input. For example, if a designer want to change

retention finger and a support finger (Figure 1-c). Shen [21] the value of Modulus from 300000 psi (2055MPa) to 400000

first found an optimum catch geometry of bayonet using an psi (2759 MPa), the outputs values will also be recalculated

orthogonal experimental array. Then another three-lever, five- upon entry (Figure 4).

factor experimental array was used to obtain response surface

equations. These response surface equations approximated the

amount of over-engagement as well as the insertion and

retention forces for values of the design factors. A spring was

connected between the root of the bayonet and an external node

to simulate the base-part stiffness of the bayonet. The

sensitivity of the values of this spring constant to the feature

performance was investigated as part of [21].

DESIGN TOOL

The current version of this software resides on a Pentium

PC with Microsoft's Windows 2000 Standard Server at the

Integral Attachment Program of the Ohio State University.

In order to secure this web-based application, every client

needs a username and a password to log on this website. After

clients log onto the website, they choose among three different

snap-fits: Cantilever Hook, Post & Dome and Bayonet & Figure 4: The design interface of respecification

Finger.

UNSPECIFICATION PROBLEM

NEW SPECIFICATION PROBLEM Finally, all variables are inputted or computed (Figure 5).

In this stage, the designer inputs variables (in any order). Values can be switched from an input (independent) variable to

After each input is typed, the design tool will check if there is an output (dependent) variable. Designers can also unspecify

any output can be computed based on this new input and those the value for a variable which was previously specified as an

already computed which will avoid over-constraint. For input by clicking the corresponding Reset button. After that, the

example, in this case Modulus was chosen as the first input, but value of this input and all outputs dependent on this input will

no output is available based on this entry. The designer become blank. For this case, the Beam Length is chosen to

continues adding inputs (beam length, offset, etc) until the reset. From Figure 6, it is found that all outputs except Critical

problem is completely specified by entering the fifth and the angle are dependent on Beam Length.

last input (base width). At the same time, the Status column

will shown each variables status (Input, Output or N/A)

(Figure 3).

closely monitored. The sensitivity analysis module is used to

determine the snap-fits dependency with respect to specified

variables. For example, if designers want to see which input has

the most significant impact on Insertion Strain, designer click

the Sensitivity Analysis link at the bottom. Figure 8 shows a

typical Sensitivity Analysis page output. In this example the

influence of all of the design variables on the Insertion Strain is

calculated. Note that the sensitivities are ordered from smallest

to biggest. For this case offset has the most significant impact

to Insertion Strain, and the sensitivity value means that if the

value of offset changes 1.491338E-02 the value of insertion

strain will change 1 unit.

Reverse specification is the combination of unspecification

and respecification. For instance, designers want to change the

status of Base Height from output to input. First designers

should click the corresponding Reset button. Then all inputs

related to Base Height will be highlighted and designers should Figure 8: The typical sensitivity analysis page

release one of these inputs statuses from Input to N/A. Now

designers can specify a new value to Base Height in order to CORRECTION ADVISOR

make it as an input variable. In this case, suppose designers Correction Advisor is used when designers want to see

release the status of Beam Length and specify a new value, say how much each dependent inputs value should change if one

0.1 in, for Base Height (Figure 7). output changes to a new value. For example, Figure 9 shows

the typical Correction Advisor page. If designers just want to

change the value of Modulus to change the value of Base

Height from 5.975205E-02 to 1, the value of Modulus

should change from 300000 to 64 and the difference is

99.97867%. The page also shows that if just change one of the

last three inputs, the change will violate their minimum or

maximum values.

Other functions of the web-based tool include

Illustration which shows each snap-fits geometry, Variable

Range which shows each variables range. And using Switch

Units designers can switch units between science units and

English units. Reset button is used to clear all variables

values.

SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS

In product design it is advantages to know how ones

product will function away from nominal conditions. By

studying this, tolerance that are critical to performance can be

Figure 9: The typical correction advisor page

SINGLE-OBJECTIVE OPTIMIZATION

Single-objective optimization is used to optimize a single

parameter of snap-fit features. First an objective parameter

should be selected, and the designer should decide if he wants Figure 11: Single-objective optimization results for cantilever

to minimization or maximization the value. In this example, the hook

designer wants to maximize retention force. After all

parameters are inputted or solved except retention angle (Figure MULTIPLE-OBJECTIVE OPTIMIZATION

10), the optimum retention force was found and the design tool In this case, two parameters of cantilever hook want to be

also calculated the corresponding value for retention angle optimized: minimize insertion force and maximize retention

(Figure 11). force. Some parameters were inputted identified by Input

status and some parameters were solved based previous

inputted parameters identified by Output status before the

optimization. Two free parameters were remained identified by

N/A status. The weighted values of objective functions need

to be selected based on designers decision on their importance

and make sure the sum of these weighted values is 1 (Figure

12).

After the optimization, the optimized values of objective

functions were shown. The free remained parameters were also

solved based these optimized values (Figure 13).

cantilever hook

following sections with a summary of the results and

comparisons to experimental data at the end. The experiment

conducted by Rusli [22] provides the experimental data of

maximum insertion and retention forces of several cantilever

hooks. The performance data from two selected cantilever

hooks in that experiment is compared to the predicted results

from the design tool. The cantilever hook was made of ABS

with a frictional coefficient of 0.2, youngs modulus of

2137Mpa. All performance of these two cantilever hooks was

solved by using the design equations from Bayers design guide

[3], except the retention case of the second cantilever hook that

belongs to the high retention and need the response surface

equation from this study. The difference about these

comparisons is reasonable (Table 1), which can give designers

a quick idea about the performance of cantilever hook and aid

them to in further design.

equations results

Experiments Design Difference

tool (%)

Insertion 1.97 1.94 1.5

Cantilever Force (N)

hook 1 Retention 6.63 6.01 9.4

Force (N)

Insertion 6.84 7.91 13.5

Cantilever Force (N)

hook 2 Retention 46.79 51.05 8.3

Figure 12: Multiple objective optimizations for cantilever hook Force (N)

9. CONCLUSION

This paper describes an interactive web-based design tool

for three different snap-fit features: cantilever hook, post &

dome, and bayonet & finger. To overcome the disadvantages of

the current design guides such as poor modeling of high angle

retention, the second order response surface models generated

by the combination between DOE and FEA were applied in the

design tool. An initial comparison tests were conducted to

verify the accuracy of the design tool. This web-based design

tool can be used to predict typical performance properties of

snap-fit features such as insertion force, retention force,

insertion strain and locking ratio. Constrain management

modules include sensitivity analysis module and correction

advisor module were applied to prevent over-constraint and

transfer the status of design factors on the fly.

REFERENCES

Honeywell Plastics: Morristown, NJ.

2. General Electric, GE Engineering Thermoplastics Design

Guide. 1997: Pittsfield, MA.

3. Bayer Corporation, Snap-fit Joints for Plastic - A Design

Guide, in Plastics and Rubber Division, Bayer Corporation.

1998: Pittsburgh, PA.

4. J. S. Oh, D.Q.L., D. Lee, and G. A. Gabriele, Java-Based

Figure 13: Multiple objective optimization results for Design Calculator for Integral Snap-Fits. ASME Design

cantilever hook Engineering Technical Conference, 1999.

5. Eastman Chemical Company, Snap Fit OnLine. 1998.

8. DESIGN VERIFICATION CASES 6. Honeywell Plastics, Snap Fit Calculator. 2000, Honeywell

The following case studies illustrate the utilization of the Plastics.

most common snap-fit feature- cantilever hook. The material 7. Raquet, J., It's A Snap. 1999.

and geometric inputs to the design tool are listed in the

8. General Electric, Engineering Calculator - Snap Fit

Wizard. 2003, GE Plastics.

9. Engineers Edge, Snap Fit Straight Beam Calculator. 2000,

www.engineersedge.com.

10. Engineers Edge, Snap Fit Tapered Beam Calculator. 2000,

www.engineersedge.com.

11. Wright, P.K., Design Snap-Fits - Java Applet. 2003,

University of California, Berkeley.

12. Agrawal, R., A Constraint Management Approach For

Optimal Design Of Mechanical Systems. PhD Dissertation,

Department of Mechanical Engineering, 1991, The Ohio

State University: Columbus, OH.

13. Srinivasan, R., Agrawal, R. and Kinzel, G., Design Shell:

A Framework for Interactive Parameteric Design, ASME

Advances in Design Automation, DE-Vol.23-1, pp. 282-

295, Sept. 1990.

14. Agrawal, R., Natarajan, S., and Kinzel, G., ASME Journal

of Mechanical Design, Vol. 116, pp. 1169-1171, 1994

15. Sridhar, N., Agrawal, R. and Kinzel, G., Compute-Aided

Design, Vol. 25, No. 8, pp.500-512, 1993

16. Arora, J.S., Introduction to Optimum Design. 1989:

McGraw-Hill, Inc.

17. Zezhong Chen, S.B., Multiple-Objective Optimization

Methods. 1999, University of Victoria. p. 32.

18. P. Sen, Multiple Criteria Decision Support In Engineering

Design. 1998: Springer-Verlag London Limited.

19. J. Koski, A. Osyczka, Multicriteria Design Optimization.

1990, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag Berlin.

20. Nichols, D.A., A Numerical and Experimental

Investigation of Post & Dome Features. Thesis,

Department of Mechanical Engineering, 1999, The Ohio

State University: Columbus, OH.

21. Shen, C.Y., Development of Design Data for a Bayonet &

Finger Snap-fit. Thesis, Department of Mechanical

Engineering, 1997, The Ohio State University: Columbus,

OH.

22. Rusli, L., Evaluation of Rapid Prototyping Methods for

Functional Testing of Snap-Fit., in Mechanical Engieering.

2000, The Ohio State University: Columbus, OH.

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