If you’re to learn the importance of design for manufacturing analysis, it’s important first to understand the process. What does it involve? You’ll learn everything you need in this short guide!
What’s Design for Manufacturing?
Sometimes called design for manufacturability but shortened to DFM in both cases, this is the idea of optimising the design of a product, component, or part. While there is some focus on quality, the main goal is to make a product, component, or part at a lower cost or using a simpler method.
Whether making manufacturing easier or less expensive, the manufacturer saves money and can reinvest these funds into the business (or pass them onto consumers when in a competitive market).
Principles of DFM Analysis
As you’ve seen, the basic principle of DFM is to continually improve the manufacturing methods and processes of specific products, parts, or components. Therefore, DFM analysis is the research process that allows this to happen. DFM analysis may highlight an opportunity to simplify tooling, spot mouldability issues, material substitutions, cost efficiencies, production efficiencies, and other solutions.
For professionals in this field, five key areas present more opportunities than most:
Design – Through DFM analysis, professionals may find that your products don’t conform to solid manufacturing principles. Fortunately, companies like Rapid Prototyping Group can offer design for manufacturing advice during the early stages of development. This way, you aren’t wasting resources but instead optimising the design at the beginning.
Process – Why use injection moulding when thermoforming would have produced a low-volume part more efficiently? DFM analysis enables businesses to choose the right manufacturing process for the component, part, or product in question.
Environment – Next, what use are products that cannot perform in the intended environment? None. DFM analysis ensures that all products function in the intended environment. If it cannot thrive under normal operating conditions, you’ll need to find an alternative design, process, or material.
Material – Speaking of material, this is another variable highlighted during the DFM analysis process. With the wrong material, you’ll have to live knowing that there are better options available for the part or product. During DFM analysis, professionals will consider the following:
- Thermal properties
- Mechanical properties
- Optical properties
- Electrical properties
Testing and Compliance – Finally, DFM analysis also reviews how products comply with relevant quality and safety standards. As well as company standards, this includes third-party standards and industry standards.
Importance of DFM Analysis
Why is DFM analysis important? First and foremost, this process allows businesses to manufacture optimised parts, components, and products. Clients, whether manufacturers themselves or end-users, appreciate the higher quality. Generally speaking, all products made with DFM in mind are cheaper to produce and better optimised.
According to one study, decisions in the early stages account for around 70% of all manufacturing costs. What if these early design decisions were wrong? With DFM analysis, you potentially fix small mistakes and reduce the costs of manufacturing.
In some cases, manufacturers use DFM analysis to assess their position in the market relative to other services. Suddenly, you learn your products and how they compare to others in the industry.
All in all, time-to-market reduces, mistakes are highlighted, assembly steps are reduced, and the manufacturing process is optimised. Ultimately, the time you spend on DFM analysis depends on how complex the manufacturing process is for said part or product. Either way, it’s worth the effort both for the business and for all clients. You may find that you can combine parts to reduce the need for extensive assembly, for example.