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Monday, August 24, 2009

Design for Manufacture

Definition of Design for Manufacture (DFM)
  • Design for manufacture or design for manufacturability (DFM) is a design methodology.
  • It is a proven design methodology that works for any size of company for any product.
  • DFM is designing the products proactively.
  • It is the process of designing the products to optimize all the manufacturing functions: procurement, fabrication, assembly, testing, delivery and service.
  • It is the process of designing the products to assure the best quality, reliability, regulatory compliance, cost, safety, time-to-market/lead times, service levels and customer relations.
  • Ultimately, "design for manufacture (DFM)" should achieve increase in value for money (VFM) to customers on a continuous basis and thus help provide not only customer satisfaction but customer delight.

Objectives of DFM

  • Design products right the first time for the easiest and fastest production, assembly and testing, best quality (including reliability) and the shortest time-to-market/lead times.
  • Design, develop, construct and deliver products at dramatically cheaper total costs using DFM to cut labor, material, overhead and distribution costs.
  • Use standardization to increase purchasing leverage, simplify supply chain management, enhance flexibility and reduce all the related overall costs.
  • Design, develop and manufacture the products on-demand; customized for niche markets, different countries and customers.
  • Design, develop and manufacture any quantity of mass-customized or standard products on-demand without forecasts, batches, inventory or purchasing delays.
  • Rationalize product lines to eliminate or outsource certain existing products, after due analysis of their overall potential for profitability, to increase the profits, free the people and simplify supply chain management.

Advantages of DFM

  • Since various factors and issues/problems of manufacturing are considered right at the time of designing the products and built into them, the parts are designed for ease of fabrication and commonality with other designs. Thus, it cuts down the product development time and associated costs significantly. Time-to-market gets reduced allowing faster entry of new products into the markets which has its own advantages with reference to competitors.
  • DFM encourages standardization of parts, maximum use of purchased parts, modular design and standard design features. That also helps in reduced lead times, better quality and reduced overall costs.

Bad Old days..........

  • Before DFM, the motto was "I designed it; you manufacture it!"
  • Designers worked in isolation or only in the company of other designers in their own vertical silos.
  • Designs were then thrown over the walls of the silos to the manufacturing people. Manufacturing people were left with the alternative of either objecting to the design since most of the times it was not designed for manufacturability or some how manufacture it with difficulties/inefficiencies because redesigning as per the ease for manufacture might delay the whole project.
  • However, in either case, generally it involved lots of delays with increased time-to-market.

Current Good Trends..........DFM: An Integrative Approach

  • Product development can be done in multi-functional teams with early and active participation from customers, marketing, research and development/design, vendors, purchasing, manufacturing, quality, service, finance, legal experts etc. The teams will work to achieve the design for functionality, styling, quality, reliability, safety, cost, delivery, ease of fabrication/production, assembly, testing, shipping, ease of service, customization, expandability, and various legal and environmental compliance.
  • Product development teams need to understand how products are manufactured through understanding and experience in manufacturing. Design teams should be aware of manufacturing processes well and keep themselves updated on the development of new manufacturing processes.

Main DFM Guidelines

  • Design for easy fabrication/production, assembly and testing.
  • For this, study the manufacturing problems and issues of past and current products.
  • Use specific design guidelines for parts to be produced by specific processes.
  • Use more and more off-the-shelf parts.
  • Avoid designing right/left hand (mirror image) parts. Design such that the same part can function in both right or left hand modes.
  • Design each part to be symmetrical from every view so that the part does not have to be oriented in any unique way for assembly.
  • If symmetry cannot be achieved, make the parts very asymmetrical. The workers will not be able to assemble the part wrongly, even inadvertently.
  • Use concurrent engineering of parts and tooling and thus, minimize tooling complexity.
  • Understand the manufacturing process well so that you can design parts for fixturing.
  • Optimize the tolerances using design of experiments (DOE) to provide a robust design with high quality and low overall cost.
  • Prevention is better and far less costlier than cure. So, in the first place, obtain the parts from high quality reliable sources.
  • Minimize cutting tools and also use single setup machining thus minimizing the setups.

For More Guidance, Assistance, Training and Consultation


Also refer: (Prodcons Group); (Training Programs by Prodcons Group); (Productivity Consultants)

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