Design for Manufacturing
Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is the practice of prototyping a product to optimize all manufacturing functions in order to save costs and ensure quality.
What does the manufacturing process entail?
Manufacturing is a highly integrated process with several important steps. There are many steps, above that of simple prototypes, involved in manufacturing a product for commercialization. The tasks include fabrication, assembly, testing, procurement, all the way to distribution and repair.
Many of the key manufacturing steps can be planned for and drastically improved by implementing quality DFM practices.
What does DFM affect?
DFM, when performed properly by specialists, will define and sharpen the exact manufacturing process to reduce costs and improve quality. These improvements allow the company to ensure reliability, immediate regulatory compliance, product safety, and customer satisfaction on behalf of their product. All of these attributes as well as a shorter time to market for a company are proven results of quality DFM planning.
DFM and Concurrent Engineering
This is the process of concurrently prototyping products and their manufacturing processes. This practice is a strong option for anyone interested in reducing product development time, lessening cost and improving transition into production for quick time to market.
Requirements for DFM
Prototyping for manufacturing is a rigorous process that requires strong communication among designers and engineers as well as a solid understanding of the goals for a new product.
Everyone in the product development group must have strong knowledge of manufacturing with specific regard to design processes.
Principles of Successful DFM
- Analyze and understand all problems with current or previous products to correct and construct a superior generation
- Easy parts production, material processing and product assembly should be a primary design consideration.
- Stick to specific design guidelines for each part there should be a specified production method.
- If possible concurrently design production tooling processes and molds along with the product to reduce costs, time and resources.
- Know what tolerances are optimal for the design so that the prototype will be appropriately durable.
- Ensure the parts you use are quality. This table illustrates the cost of using poor parts to construct a product.
Level of completion Cost to find & repair defect
the part itself X
at sub-assembly 10 X
at final assembly 100 X
at the dealer/distributor 1,000 X
at the customer 10,000 X
Each step further a product advances with poor parts it is ten times more expensive to locate and repair the defect. It is imperative that products are originally built of quality
- Strategically decide product attributes to use the least amount of cutting tools. This will alleviate wastes manufacturing costs and time.