Design for Manufacturing is an emerging design philosophy under the Design for Excellence (DFX) ideology. DFX is a set of relatively new methods for managing design and production processes. These methods find more and more use in product design today due to their incredible benefits.
From the many methods under DFX, designers choose one or more that are relevant to their product design objectives. Then, by implementing the principles under each of those methods, the designers can ensure an excellent product design.
Design for Manufacturing (also known as Design For Manufacturability or DFM) is often confused with Design for Assembly, but in reality, they are separate methodologies. They can be combined into a single production method though, called Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA). In this article, we’ll be focusing on DFM, so let’s start from the beginning.
What Is DFM?
Design for Manufacturability is a product design ideology that focuses on creating a better design at a lower cost by optimising the selection of materials and manufacturing processes. Following these guidelines, the final product should be easier to manufacture and the production should take less time when compared to the original design.
DFM helps us analyse the different aspects of design and manufacturing processes in the light of many prudent principles. It provides new ideas and techniques to bring about a positive change in product design to benefit all the involved parties (designer, manufacturer and customer).
Such an advanced manufacturing simulation was once a pipe dream due to the lack of available tools and manufacturing processes. This is no longer the case. Today, with advanced digital manufacturing simulation tools and low-cost fast manufacturing processes, such as additive manufacturing, it is easier to carry out extensive simulations and even create physical iterations for specific products.
These tools enable deep DFM modeling and real-world testing at a fraction of the original cost. Thus, an increasing number of manufacturers are integrating DFM into their organizations to reap its many benefits.
There is a range of reasons why DFM is so invaluable in the competitive markets of the present day. Let’s take a look at how following DFM principles can result in an efficient design and manufacturing setup. With DFM, we can:
Build realistic cost models in line with product objectives
Minimize manufacturability issues so that the product can be manufactured quicker and in a more economical way
Create an efficient design that leaves room for potential design changes in the later stages without a huge cost.
Ascertain unnecessary design features that add costs and eliminate them
Drive down supplier bids by modifying the design using DFM principles