The Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is a widely adopted process of designing a part or product that meets the requirements of manufacturing processes to actually produce the part. It is the responsibility of product engineers to not only design the part for fit and function, but also design it to remain feasible for manufacturing.
Avoiding DFM in product development can significantly influence the cost and delay the product launch. This is primarily due to the fact that almost 80% of the budget, including material cost, tooling cost and assembly cost are already worked out once the product moves from conceptual phase to design phase. It becomes very much difficult then to re-design the part/product, if issues crop up at later stages of the development cycle. The cost then keeps on increasing exponentially in efforts that are put up to make the design manufacturing friendly.
DFM is a proven process to save time and cost in the product development cycle. In many cases, costs can be brought down to half the actual estimated cost by adopting this strategy. DFM also minimizes revisions or rework and speeds up the product manufacturing and subsequently reduces the time to market. It is thus important to understand your manufacturing processes in and out, its benefits, limitations and methodologies to design, to ensure that the end product is the one that you desired during the conceptual phase.
• Develop a team to identify possible flaws in the design and changes required by the customers or internal stakeholders
• Evaluate customer requirements completely to ensure that costly changes are avoided later in the development stages
• Ensure that the product design is simple, so that optimization is possible both in terms of design and manufacturing feasibility
• Try to design parts that are universal rather than suitable for specific users. For e.g. design for right hand or left-hand users. This ensures that you do not spend extra time and money on developing different versions of the same part.
• Ensure that parts are symmetrical in design to accommodate easy assembly
While these are some of the common tips, there are several other ways to ensure that your product design is feasible to be manufactured. Right from concept phase, the DFM practice should be incorporated during the CAD modeling itself, so that change orders are minimal.
At Hi-Tech, we have helped numerous engineering and product manufacturing clients to implement DFM strategy successfully from concept through the design phase by our expertise in CAD modeling, manufacturing drawings development and technical documentation.