Design for manufacturing (DFM) is exactly was the name says, it is looking at designing a product in a way, that it is easy to manufacture.
Why Use Design for Manufacturing
There are many reasons to use DFM when developing a new product, some examples of the elements being considered to reduce manufacturing cost are the following.
- Manufacturing Method: for example, if a plastic cover for a mobile phone is moulded and following need machining of a recess for an antenna, it would add significant cost and process time compared to if the recess could have been done as part of the moulding process.
- Tolerances: Excessive tolerances can be very expensive, and in worst case require investment in new equipment if the existing machine isn’t capable of achieving the requirement.
- Labour: Salaries are usually a significant amount of companies expenses, and additional labour for tool setup, assembly etc. will add a lot of extra cost to a product.
- Materials: The choice of material can also play a significant role in the manufacturing cost, depending on the method required to process it.
In order to implement DFM within a company, it require multifunctional teams to take part. It also takes a lot of experience to be effective in DFM, as a product doesn’t only need to be easy to manufacture, but also be useful and effective for the consumer. Often there are some trade-offs that will need to be made.
Design for Manufacturing Guidelines
There is a number of general guidelines used in DFM to reduce manufacturing cost and improve the quality. Some of them can be seen below.
- Use poka-yoke to fool proof the assembly.
- Reduce the number of parts to lower the opportunities for defects and simplify the assembly process.
- Avoid tolerances the process isn’t capable of producing.
- Use common parts across products when possible.
- Design easy ways to assemble the parts, for example clipping 2 parts together is easier and faster using bolts or screws.
- Design the product in a way it is easy to service.
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