I know what you mean Mike. Times have changed. Back in the 80s, computer aided design was in its infancy. Were I worked, we still were doing a lot by hand. Today, all of the disciplines can share models between their respective design platforms. For example, the electrical designers transfer their schematics to the PCB designers and they collaborate on-line, in real time with the mechanical engineers designing the enclosures. The optical engineers can also use the mechanical models to insure their component designs will work as intended. Interference fits are automatically identified and highlighted by the software. 3D models are exported and can be viewed by anyone. Those views can be sliced or layers removed to view any inside component as it relates to the package or other components. These are really the standard tools in use today, nothing special.
It’s also very common to engage in collaborative efforts between various business entities or sub-contractors that can be located anywhere. Sharing design info is done in real-time with multiple parties viewing the same images on their computers and discussing issues related to the interaction of various components or sub-systems. Not long ago, I had to get up at 4 in the morning to have video conference calls with a design team halfway around the world and we would review system models in real time. So the idea of having an interference fit that is unrecognized until first article assembly would be surprising to me in this day and age.
On a related note, back in the 90s, I had the pleasure of working with NASA and Lockheed as a sub-contractor for some equipment to go on orbit aboard the shuttles, MIR and later the ISS. Those guys at NASA had the most comprehensive and astounding set of analysis tools I have ever seen. They were able to do very complex modeling of stresses encountered during launch and could identify exactly where to place shock isolators, their sizing and what durometer they needed to be as just one example. No company I have ever worked for could afford that level of sophistication (and I’ve worked with some BIG companies in the past).
I’ve said this a number of times before on this board- Cars are designed to be built as cheaply as possible. Servicing provisions are secondary. But when they make a conscious decision to make something unique compared to everyone else, it must be for a reason. I’ve had those kind of requests from marketing in the past. In those cases, it’s been done to make it hard for competitors to compete in your “socket”. This appears to be no different…