What is Sensitivity-Based Design?
Sensitivity-Based Design is based on finding and manipulating system sensitivities. Sensitivities act like levers - inputs have different amounts of leverage on outputs.

It's common to try controlling a system by tightening tolerances - simple to say, but expensive to apply. And it doesn’t work especially well when you don't know which tolerances to tighten and how much to tighten them.

Sensitivity-Based Design focuses on finding the right levers and adjusting the pivots rather than just attacking tolerances. Designing system sensitivities is more effective, more sustainable, and a cost reduction, all at the same time. 

What does Sensitivity-Based Design do for you?
  • Control manufacturing risk. Minimize scrap, rework, and fit-up problems by quantitatively understanding and controlling risk before and during production.
  • Design quality in. Guarantee performance and sustainably reduce warranty costs.
  • Avoid design problems. Understand design concept quality during the selection stage.
  • Understand your drawings. Capture functional requirements clearly and accurately. Tolerances are correlated to physical requirements.
  • Quit fighting fires. Prevent the scramble to control warranty problems. Spend your time on engineering instead of reactionary firefighting.
Our services are based on Sensitivity-Based Design. Have a look.


  • Tapered shaft joints. Created loading and fit-up analysis models and design guides.
  • Serpentine belts. Belt life sensitivity to mounting strategy and design guidelines for FEAD. Our insights also helped the belt manufacturer better advise their customers.
  • Bearings, seals, and gears. Root cause analyses and lifespan improvements.
  • Planetary gears. Alignment analysis to find root cause of failures.
  • Fit-up and assemblability. Cast, forged, machined, molded, weldments, non-metallics, sheet metal, and more.

What is the S-BD process?

  • Identify the functional requirements of a product.
  • Quantify functionality through measures and allowable limits.
  • Analyze system sensitivities by calculating the effect of tolerances, variation, and wear.
  • Design for maximum performance, minimum cost or risk, and quantified uncertainty using knowledge of system sensitivities.
  • Produce a product that performs even with manufacturing, assembly, and environmental variations.

This design process incorporates Six Sigma, tolerance analysis, dimensional engineering, variation simulation analysis, assembly variation analysis, and other tools.

Sensitivity-Based Design results in products that work correctly and quality that is designed‑in.

On the radio 

Prairiefire founder Michael Lopez spoke with Alex Ruggieri on Central Illinois Business.

They talked about how American engineering and manufacturing can keep its edge, as well as how Prairiefire helps companies with that goal.

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