Design for Manufacturing

Design and conceptualization of a product plays a vital role in its manufacturing. In the past, manufacturing was fundamentally driven by the adage, “if it’s designed, then it’s machined.” Downstream manufacturing issues were not considered in the design phase, and design review heavily relied on past experience. This resulted in unnecessary costs and time.

What is Design for Manufacturing (DFM)?

Design for Manufacturing is an engineering concept that designs products with their actual manufacturing in mind which ensures designed parts and assemblies will be easily manufactured, with the goal being smooth and inexpensive product manufacturing.

DFM advocates that a product’s parts and assemblies can be designed in the minimum possible time with the least development cost—and goes a step further by improving quality and reliability to a superior level, satisfying customers’ needs and ensuring a timely entrance to the marketplace.

Design for Manufacturing Concept

Design for Manufacturing Principles:

  1. Process: Minimizes the amount of manufacturing operations required on the parts
  2. Design: Designs parts and assemblies efficiently and effectively, reducing in number of parts
  3. Materials: Standardizes materials and components
  4. Testing: All products and components must comply with the industry standards and safety certifications.
  5. Environment: Designs the parts and assemblies taking into consideration the surroundings in which they will operate

Why is Design for Manufacturing important?

  • DFM helps significantly reduce engineering change orders (ECOs), manufacturing defects, costs, and delays
  • DFM helps designers carry design check to know if those parts and assemblies are manufacturable. If downstream errors occur during design checks, DFM corrects these problems
  • Around 70% of manufacturing product cost is dependent upon the product design decisions while 30% of cost is dependent upon manufacturing decisions. So, DFM is very important to optimize design decisions like deciding material and manufacturing methods, which helps reduce the product cost
  • DFM ensures a product is manufacturable and likewise recommends the design changes so that a product would be manufacturable and would have no downstream/manufacturing defects
  • Helps designers check their designs for manufacturability and assembly and correct these problems early in the design stage.
  • DFM is important to reduce the product cycle time and thus the time to market. DFM incorporates future issues early in the design phase and eliminates them so the number of design iterations are reduced.

Factors that affects design for manufacturing:

  1. Number of manufacturing processes:

The type and number of manufacturing operations or processes that are involved affects the DFM. DFM should handle the errors given by the complex manufacturing processes. Only those manufacturing operations or processes must be involved that are essential in the function of the design.

  1. Product variants:

Many a times a single product is manufactured with the variants like size, aesthetics, material, function etc. often due to customer need or market. DFM must have the framework defined in order to handle different variants and their aspects.

  1. Component availability and price:

One of the major factors affecting DFM is component or material availability and its price. DFM needs to keep track of each and every component or material, and its availability. It is better to do the detailed analysis of component prices which directly affect the product costs and profitability.

  1. Design costs:

Design costs directly impact the product costs. DFM must efficiently handle any design changes and rework required and minimize them to improve time to market and product profitability.

  1. Last stage design changes:

DFM should manage last-minute design changes quickly and effectively to avoid the delay in product development and thereby in the product launches.

  1. Failure analysis technique:

DFM systems must incorporate feedback and inputs from failure analysis tools being used. Design issues may result into future issues related with manufacturing and functioning of the product.

  1. Product quality and regulatory requirements:

DFM needs to take care of the quality and safety standards with which a future product must comply by. DFM should incorporate certification requirements and ensure that the design is made as per the standard safety and quality guidelines. Every product needs to comply with industry regulatory requirements.

Design for Manufacturing benefits:

  1. Reducing the product cost: Reduces part numbers, saves material and labor costs, lower cost of design iteration and replacement
  2. Speeds up market entry: Early recognition of an (manufacturability) issue reduces product development time and hence the time taken to market
  3. Improved product quality: Helps attain better or more consistent quality control through standardization and thus results into super product performance
  4. Safer working environment: Helps create a safer working environment since construction operations can be removed from a site and moved somewhere else
  5. Suitable to varied environments: Can be implemented in an environment with molding, casting, forging, assembly, and other forming processes
  6. Improves productivity: Incorporating DFM in design process of parts and assemblies improves productivity of the designers and engineers

Examples of effective DFM:

Effective examples of DFM adoption are below. These companies are DFMPro customers who incorporated design for manufacturing principle in their design process.

  1. Leading Defense Manufacturer uses DFM software for material optimization

A major Aerospace & Defense OEM was struggling with material specifications with old vs new materials. Learn how DFMPro helped this customer identify material issues early in the design stage, resulting in considerable savings by reducing scrap and time. Read full success story

  1. Aerospace manufacturer reduces component Costs by 10% by using DFM software

An aerospace manufacturer aimed to reduce program cost by 15% over the five years. Also, they needed to reduce the manufacturing complexity and control component costs. Learn how DFMPro analyzed and identified critical design issues that contributed to increasing costs and helped company achieve their objectives. Read full success story

  1. Learn how an automotive supplier incorporated DFM in their design review process to address manufacturing delays. Read blog post
Scroll to Top