Design for Manufacturing-DFM

An Overview of Design for Manufacturing Or DFM

image_print

Design for manufacturing (DFM) is an essential aspect of product development that helps designers and engineers create simple, cost-effective products. The implementation of DFM principles means we should consider all aspects of the manufacturing process, from raw materials to final assembly, to guarantee that the product is made effectively and of good quality. DFM has various advantages, including lower production costs, higher product quality, and a shorter time to market. 

We will go through everything about design for manufacturability, including its concept, principles, benefits, and applications in the below article.

What is Design for Manufacturing or DFM?

DFM stands for design for manufacturing or design for manufacturability, which is a methodology that aims to optimize the design of a product for efficient and cost-effective production by taking into account factors such as material selection, production processes, tolerances, production volumes, and tooling requirements.

The goal of DFM is to minimize manufacturing costs while ensuring product quality and reliability. This is achieved by designing products that are easy to manufacture and assemble, reducing scrap and rework, and minimizing the time and resources required to bring a product to market.

By considering the manufacturability of a product from the earliest stages of design, engineers and product designers can ensure that their designs are not only functional and aesthetically pleasing but also feasible and practical to manufacture.

History of Design for Manufacturing

Design for manufacturing (DFM) has its roots in the post-World War II era when companies were looking for ways to improve their competitiveness in the global market. At the time, manufacturers were facing increasing pressure to reduce costs, enhance the quality of products, and increase production efficiency while also facing increased competition from other manufacturers. In response, companies began to adopt a more systematic approach to product design, incorporating consideration of production processes, tooling, and other manufacturing factors into the design process. Over time, this approach evolved into the modern concept of DFM, which is now widely used in the manufacturing industry to optimize product design for efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

As technology and production processes continued to evolve, the principles of DFM have adapted and expanded to include new considerations such as automation, material selection, and sustainability. Today, DFM is widely recognized as a critical component of a successful manufacturing strategy and is used by manufacturers of all sizes and across all industries. The principles of DFM are integrated into modern product design software and tools and are taught as part of engineering curriculums. The use of DFM has led to significant improvements in production efficiency, reduced production costs, and increased product quality, making it an essential component of any successful manufacturing strategy.

What are the Principles of DFM?

The principles of design for manufacturing are guidelines that help ensure that a product is designed and made in the best way possible so that it can be made quickly and cost-effectively. There are various other DfMA principles, and numerous companies in the manufacturing field have experienced the positive effects—including a reduction in the product development period, enhanced productivity, improved product quality, enhanced reliability in design, reduction in waste resources, and improved profitability—of adhering to these principles throughout the entire design process.

Simplicity: The design should be kept simple with as few parts as possible and use straightforward shapes and configurations to make production easier and more cost-effective.

Standardization: Whenever possible, standard components and manufacturing processes should be used in the design, as this can save time and reduce production costs.

Modularity: The product should be designed in modular components, which can simplify the manufacturing process, reduce production costs, and improve product maintainability.

Tolerance: Proper tolerance design is critical in ensuring that the product fits and functions as intended. Tolerances must be carefully considered to balance the need for precision with the cost of manufacturing.

Material Selection: The choice of materials greatly impacts production costs and the final product quality. We must consider the properties of the materials, such as strength, durability, and manufacturability, when selecting the materials for a product.

Automation: Automated processes can significantly improve production efficiency, reduce labor costs, and improve product quality. The project expert must carefully consider the type and level of automation to be implemented in the production process.

Process Integration: Integrating product design, manufacturing processes, and quality control are crucial in improving production efficiency and reducing costs. A project expert has to work closely with other professionals, such as industrial designers and process engineers, to ensure that the design, manufacturing, and quality control processes are appropriately integrated.

What Factors Can Affect DFM?

The purpose of DFM is to lower production costs while maintaining performance. In addition to DFMA principles, the following factors can have an impact on the design for manufacturing:

1. Product/ Part Amount

Decreasing the number of parts in a product is the quickest method to save costs since you are reducing the quantity of material necessary and the amount of engineering, manufacturing, labor, and shipping expenses.

2. Product Complexity 

The more complicated your product’s manufacturing process, the more possible mistakes are introduced. All processes have limitations and capabilities. Include just those processes that are essential for the design. 

3. Standardize Parts/ Modular Assemblies

Personalization and customization are both costly and time-consuming. Quality standardized parts can save manufacturing time since they are frequently accessible, and you can be more confident of their uniformity. Utilizing non-customized modules/modular assemblies in your design allows you to tweak the product without affecting its general operation. 

4. Manufacturing Technology

The availability and capabilities of the manufacturing technology can impact the production process’s cost and efficiency. And remember that unless it must be trade show grade, choose function over flashy for your surface finish.

5. Material Availability

The availability and cost of materials can impact the cost and lead time of the production process.

6. Labor Costs

The cost of labor can significantly impact the production process’s overall cost, especially in labor-intensive manufacturing processes.

7. Supply Chain

The supply chain’s efficiency and reliability can impact the production process’s lead time and cost.

8. Quality Control

A robust quality control process ensures that the final product meets the desired quality and functionality standards.

9. Design Changes

Late design changes can impact the efficiency and cost of the production process, as they may require significant rework or delay the production timeline. Parts should be designed to need as minimal manual interaction as possible during manufacture and assembly.

10. Regulatory Compliance

The need to comply with regulations, such as environmental regulations or product safety standards, can impact the design and production processes and add costs. 

What Benefits of Product Development with DFM?

DFM can help companies discover bad design and production decisions in their products that could easily be avoided. In this way, they can improve the overall success of a manufacturing business. The following are some of the most important benefits of product development with DFM:

Lower Manufacturing Costs: DFM can help lower the overall cost of production by reducing the number of parts, using standardized parts and materials, and minimizing manual intervention during assembly and machining.

Improved Production Efficiency: By optimizing the production process and minimizing the number of manufacturing operations, DFM can help improve the efficiency of the production process and lead to faster production times and improved product quality.

Improved Product Quality: Manufacturability design guarantees that the product satisfies the quality criteria established during the design process. It ensures that the product meets the goal criteria in terms of performance, surface finish, tolerances, reliability, aesthetics, conformance, features, durability, serviceability, and perceived quality.

Streamlined Product Development Process: Design for Manufacturing begins by considering the larger picture. It outlines the part’s design, ultimate quality, production process, component materials, ease of distribution, and so on, resulting in an incredibly well-managed production process that considers all factors. Thus, employing DFM to design products provides a robust product development strategy before the design process begins.

Better Supply Chain Management: Designing products with standard, readily available parts can improve the efficiency of the supply chain and reduce lead times.

Enhanced Competitiveness: Reducing costs and increasing efficiency can improve a company’s competitiveness in the market and help it better compete with other manufacturers.

Compliance with Regulations: Considering regulatory requirements during the design phase can help ensure that products are designed in compliance with regulations and reduce the risk of costly penalties.

Applications of Design for Manufacturing

DFM applications are as varied as production processes themselves. The following are some high-level DFM responsibilities:

  1. Comparing design options to see which has the fewest manufacturing issues and costs the least to produce.
  2. Identifying design features that need additional manufacturing operations or have a detrimental impact on sustainability goals.
  3. Assuring that manufacturing issues do not arise later in the design lifecycle and obstruct a time-critical product release.
  4. Looking at why a design is evoking higher-than-expected bids from supply chain partners.

Design for Manufacturing vs. Design for Assembly: What are the Differences?

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA) are two interrelated approaches in product design that focus on optimizing the manufacturing process. However, they have distinct differences:

Focus: DFM designs a product to be manufactured efficiently and economically, considering the entire manufacturing process, including material selection, machining, assembly, and testing. DFA focuses on optimizing the assembly process, ensuring that parts can be easily and efficiently assembled into a finished product.

Time of Implementation: DFM is typically implemented at the beginning of the product design process, while DFA is typically implemented later in the design process after the product has been designed and prototyped.

Goal: DFM aims to reduce manufacturing costs while maintaining product performance and quality. The goal of DFA is to reduce the cost and time required to assemble a product.

Methods: DFM employs a wide range of methods to optimize the manufacturing process, including simplifying the design, using standardized parts and materials, and reducing the number of manufacturing operations. DFA focuses on simplifying the assembly process by reducing the number of parts and simplifying the assembly process.

Impact: The impact of DFM can be seen throughout the entire manufacturing process, while the impact of DFA is mainly seen in the assembly process.

In conclusion, DFM and DFA are both important approaches to product design that can help improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the manufacturing process. However, DFM focuses on the entire manufacturing process, while DFA focuses on the assembly process. Both approaches should be considered and implemented to ensure that a product is designed and manufactured efficiently and effectively.

How to Implement DFM?

Design for manufacturing is a terrific method to save money while producing a high-quality product, but how can businesses get started with it? Let us look at how businesses may implement DFM in three simple steps.

Early Implementation 

Early DFM deployment enables rapid and low-cost design adjustments. Engineering firms must include DFM from the beginning of the design process. This is the greatest time to work on any design changes. Making design modifications afterward can be exceedingly complex and expensive, especially if additional tooling is required for the new design. Manufacturability evaluations must be carried out as extensively as feasible in the early phases.

Implement of DFM in early phrase

Identify DFM Technique Opportunities

A thorough DFM examination of the present design and production practices should reveal several opportunities for improvement. When manufacturing experts collaborate with designers, they may detect waste in manufacturing and provide more efficient and sustainable options.

The specialists can also collaborate with suppliers to understand the limits, allowing them to provide optimum design solutions to improve the setup’s manufacturability in the early phases. As OEMs increasingly outsource manufacturing to distant locations, DFM interventions are increasingly important to guarantee a profitable system.

Increase the Breadth of DFM

As manufacturing becomes more efficient over time, the corporation may shift its focus to additional elements that affect the product’s manufacturability by widening the scope of DFM. DFM approaches may optimize product dimensions and weight, tooling costs, scrap reduction, labor costs, overheads, etc. These factors directly impact the product cost structure, and optimizing these areas can increase the organization’s overall efficiency.

Who is Responsible for DFM?

The responsibility for DFM can vary depending on the organization and its structure, but typically the following individuals or teams are involved:

Design Engineers: Design engineers are responsible for creating the initial design and ensuring that it is optimized for manufacturability.

Manufacturing Engineers: Manufacturing engineers are responsible for reviewing the design and making recommendations to improve the manufacturability of the product. They work closely with the design engineers to ensure that the design is optimized for the manufacturing process.

Quality Control: Quality control ensures that the product is manufactured to the required quality standards.

Procurement: Procurement is responsible for sourcing the materials and components required to manufacture the product. They work closely with the manufacturing and design teams to ensure that the materials and components are suitable for the intended use and are manufactured to the required quality standards.

Management: Management is responsible for setting the overall strategy for the organization and ensuring that resources are allocated appropriately to support the DFM process.

How Long does DFM Take?

The time required for design for manufacturability is determined by the product’s complexity, the organization’s size, and the resources available. However, as a general rule, DFM is a continuous process that begins at the initial stages of product design and continues through the entire product lifecycle.

A DFM process, on average, takes around two weeks to complete. For more sophisticated products, this time frame may be extended to three or even four weeks. The length of the DFM process is influenced by factors such as the complexity of the product, the resources available, the experience of the design and manufacturing teams, and the size of the organization.

It’s important to note that DFM is not a one-time process but rather an ongoing effort that requires continuous improvement and optimization. This means that even after the product has been manufactured and brought to market, the DFM process should continue to ensure that the product is manufactured efficiently and cost-effectively and that opportunities for improvement are identified and addressed.

Examples of Design for Manufacturing

Here are some examples of Design for Manufacturability (DFM) in action:

  • DFM is a process that considers the ease of manufacturing when designing a product. For example, a product designer might design a product with snap-fit components that can be easily assembled without needing screws, bolts, or other fasteners. Snap fits are an effective method of connecting two components that saves time and money in production, decreases material costs, and enhances ease of assembly.
  • DFM may be utilized in casting, improving the casting process and reducing casting errors by optimizing product form and geometry.
  • DFM was used in a design for an American tank gun sight produced by Texas Instruments Inc., which reduced the number of distinct parts required for assembly from 24 to 8 and significantly cut manufacturing time.

Conclusion

DFM is a crucial aspect of the product design process, aimed at reducing production costs while maintaining performance. By considering factors such as the number of parts, standardization, modular assemblies, and manufacturing technology, manufacturers can optimize their production processes and ultimately achieve success. The benefits of DFM, including reduced production costs and improved performance, make it a valuable tool for any manufacturer looking to succeed in today’s competitive market.

LEADRP’s experienced and skilled engineering team can conduct detailed DFM analysis before production. You need to provide your design, and we all have the expertise to ensure a proper manufacturing process. Please email us your design and get a free DFM analysis and quote today.

References

Design for manufacturability – From Wikipedia

WHAT IS DESIGN FOR MANUFACTURING (DFM)? – From TWI Ltd.

A Guide to Design for Manufacturability – From aPriori

FAQ

Design for manufacturability or design for manufacturing (DFM) is the engineering process of designing parts to optimize their manufacturing ease and production cost, given their form, fit, and function needs.

Design for manufacturing (DFM) is significant since it involves creating the process and the product itself. The design influences every aspect of manufacturing, from costs to timeliness to customer pleasure.

DFMA stands for Design for Manufacture and Assembly. It is a methodology that focuses on optimizing the design of a product to improve its manufacturability and assembly, reducing production costs and improving the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process. 

About The Author

On-demand Manufacturing Service

LEADRP provides prototyping and on-demand manufacturing services, including CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, custom tooling, injection molding, urethane casting, and 3D printing. With LEADRP, you can solve any challenge throughout product development and manufacturing. Click to tell us about your project or contact us for more information.

From Design to Prototype
Scroll to Top

We make your custom products better and faster

Whether it's a one-off prototype made or a batch production of thousands, LEADRP is ready to support your project. Just leave us a message, and we will contact you within 12 hours.

All uploads are secure and confidential, click to check our IP Protection Policy. You can also contact us (service@leadrp.com) to sign a NDA before sending any design files to us.