DETROIT - A designer using an automotive assembly machine is faced with a hodgepodge of common parts such as bolts, washers and plates.
Hundreds of catalogs with thousands of parts exist, some updated and some not. Few tool designers have time to sort through them all. Usually, the first part found that works is the one used.
But some automakers, suppliers and tooling companies are trying to standardize parts. Ron Fasbinder, director of consulting at EADS Matra Datavision North America Inc. in Farmington Hills, Mich., is one who's trying to get toolmakers to create updated electronic catalogs of standard parts.
Designers in search of the perfect part could, in theory, search such catalogs using a computer. That could save suppliers money by cutting the time it takes to find a small component and making it easier to find the best one.