Managing tolerances & quality for mission critical applications

Solutionology Podcast: Episode #7 | 24 min


One of the most common questions we get about additive capabilities is: how do you achieve and manage tight tolerances? Those asking are usually in mission critical applications like medical device, aerospace, or aviation where extremely high levels of quality are required to meet exacting tolerance specifications and performance needs.

Our quality assurance and control process now includes a non-contact, high-accuracy, 3D scanning coordinate measuring machine (CMM). It’s an incredible technology that alleviates our dependence on traditional or manual measuring tools which are not effective for parts with nonstandard geometric features and are not scalable for full production.

Our CMM measures parts from all directions, capturing millions of data points that allow us to compare 360° scans directly to CAD data to detect deviations and defects or do a wear analysis before and after use of a part. This new tool greatly expands and supports our ability to serve mission critical applications with additive manufacturing.


  • 01:00 Most common question
  • 01:35 What we’re doing to manage tolerances
  • 02:01 Managing tolerances for production
  • 02:25 Starts with onboarding a project
  • 05:24 Tolerance stack up for additive
  • 05:56 CMM allows us to capture data
  • 07:14 Production runs with dimensional traceability
  • 08:32 Mitigating the risks
  • 10:02 Collecting & analyzing the data
  • 10:40 How we’ve fine-tuned our processes
  • 11:48 Role CMM plays in PPA
  • 13:14 Quality is not sexy
  • 13:48 Variations that exist throughout a build
  • 15:02 Our focus is quality
  • 15:46 Pushing the technology as far as it can be pushed
  • 16:42 Aspects of achieving tight tolerances
  • 18:02 Quality is a piece of our culture
  • 18:55 Project that pushed us to invest in the technology
  • 22:48 Continuing to push the boundaries