Design for manufacturing is an important aspect of product development. It streamlines the manufacturing process and aligns it with the product design so that the production volume can be achieved and the cost of production goes down. Design for manufacturing ensures that the right method of production is employed with the underlying resources that the firm owns.
DFM should ideally take place early in the design process, well before tooling has started. All parties involved in the project, including engineers, designers, contract manufacturers, mold builders, and material suppliers, must be included in a completed DFM.
Did You Know? Design choices like materials and production techniques can account for about 70% of a product's manufacturing expenses.
What is Design for Manufacturing?
Design for manufacturing (DFM) is a significant part of the production plan since it involves developing the product's production process and the product itself. Design impacts every aspect of production, including costs, timing, and ultimate customer satisfaction. A company with a DFM is necessary for any business that wants to launch a brand-new product.
Even short manufacturing runs can become impossible due to a bad design. Without considering manufacturing during design, the producer leaves themselves exposed to many errors that could have been prevented if DFM had been a part of their process from the start.
Why is Design for Manufacturing Important?
Design for manufacturing is a necessity for production. There are multiple utilities of DFM, that state the importance of manufacturing and here are a few of them:
Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) tries to make the production of a product as easy and economical as possible. DFM has the objective of cost reduction through detecting and eliminating manufacturing-related challenges and inefficiencies. It is an efficient tool for reviewing the product's design and identifying the inputs used on the assembly line. With significant analysis, a few bottleneck inputs may be identified, and eliminating one will reduce cost.
The challenge in developing hardware is moving from a prototype to production. Consideration of DFM at the outset of the product development cycle decreases the need for redesign effort, enhances product quality, and shortens time to market.
Important Aspect of DFM
Businesses should keep in mind that it's unlikely that industrial workers will have a thorough understanding of handling problems in the design process. There are essentially five principal aspects that are examined during a DFM process.
The part or product must be manufactured using the appropriate manufacturing process. To make a low-volume item that might have been produced through a lower-capitalized technique, like thermoforming, you would want to utilize something other than a very capital-intensive process like injection moulding, which requires the construction of tools and dies. That would be an example of overkill, similar to employing a tank to destroy an anthill.
Design is important. The part or product's actual drawing must adhere to good manufacturing practices for the production process you've chosen.
It's crucial to choose the appropriate material for your part or product. Some material characteristics to take into account during DFM are as follows:
- Mechanical characteristics - How durable must the material be?
- Optical Properties - Does the material have reflective or transparent optical properties?
- Thermal characteristics - How heat resistant must it be?
- Colour - What shade of colour must the component be?
- Electrical properties - Does the substance need to be a dielectric or an insulator?
- Flammability - What flame/burn resistance is required for the material?
Also, make sure to discuss the material with your contract manufacturer. They may have access to pre-existing materials in their portfolio, allowing you to negotiate reduced material prices.
Your component or product needs to be built to survive the conditions it will encounter. No amount of form will matter if the component cannot operate correctly under normal operating circumstances. Be sure to include environment tests in the DFM.
All goods must meet standards for product safety and quality. These standards can be third-party standards, internal company standards, or industry standards. Ensure that your testing partner is ISO or ISI certified, so your product quality adheres to industry and safety norms.
How Long does FDM take?
Naturally, the length of any process will vary depending on the final product, the components used, the production process, and the complexity of the required process. However, the DFM process typically takes two weeks to complete. This time frame could go up to three or even four weeks for more complicated products.
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Design for Manufacturing Examples
DFM uses cross-functional processes in order to examine the design from all angles, including the component, sub-system, system, and holistic levels, to ensure that it is cost-effective and optimal.
- Snap fits are a productive method of joining two components that minimises material costs, improves ease of assembly, and saves time and money during production. The connection can be 3D printed with additive manufacturing to increase productivity.
- By optimising the shape and geometry of goods, DFM can be utilised in casting to facilitate the process and reduce casting faults.
- Recently, Texas Instruments Inc.'s gun sight design for an American tank was subjected to DFM. This resulted in a reduction in the number of parts required for assembly from 24 to 8 and a sharp reduction in production time.
The importance of design for manufacturing cannot be overstated. By considering manufacturing processes and constraints during the design phase, companies can reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase the overall quality of their products. Design for manufacturing also allows for flexibility in the production process, making it easier to adapt to changes in demand or market conditions. Overall, incorporating design for manufacturing principles into the product development process can greatly benefit a company in terms of both financial and operational success.
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