design for manufacturing

The Basics of Design for Manufacturability

When developing a new product, it’s important to follow the basics of design for manufacturability (DFM). DFM involves optimizing all the component parts of a product to enhance the ease of manufacturing. You can do this by refining the product design to simplify the assembly process – which has the very important side benefit of creating higher-quality products at lower cost.

Understanding Design for Manufacturability

DFM is all about thinking about manufacturability during the design process. This should happen at all stages of design, starting before parts have been finalized and tooling has begun.

To be effective, DFM needs to involve all the key stakeholders in your project, not just designers, but engineers, contractors, and suppliers as well. They need to examine the original drawings, consider the design of competitive products, talk to the contract manufacturer and sub-assembly providers, and more. The goal is to rethink the product’s design to try and make it better – and easier to manufacture. Applied properly, DFM can result in cost savings of 30% or more.

Five Principles of Design for Manufacturability

The DFM process incorporates five basic principles –design, material, process, environment, and compliance and testing. Each principle is equally important.

1.     Design

DFM starts with the product design. Make sure your design conforms to accepted manufacturing principles for the chosen manufacturing process. Don’t aim unreasonably high; use spec tolerances that are reasonable but still produce a quality product.

2.     Material

Make sure you choose the right material for your components and final product. If an alternate but technically acceptable material is available at a lower cost, use that instead.

3.     Process

You need to choose the best manufacturing process for your product. The process must be capable of handling your projected volumes and the types of parts specified while meeting your quality requirements. You also want a process that fits your needs – don’t choose a process that requires a large capital investment if you’re only using it for small product runs.

4.     Environment

Ensure that your component parts and the final product can endure the environment in which it will be used – but isn’t over-designed in that regard.

5.     Compliance and Testing

Finally, make sure that your final product complies with all applicable safety and quality standards, including all governmental and industry-specific regulations.

Let Thermal International Press Help You Find the Optimal DFM

Thermal Press can help you determine the optimal product design for manufacturing and assembly. Whether you need input on the original design or seek a re-design to reduce costs, we have the experience you need.

Contact Us or call (925) 454-9800 to speak with a Thermal Press engineer.

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