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Design for Manufacture

Design for manufacturing

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is an umbrella concept that is concerned with focusing design team effort on the cost effective use of parts and processes to produce, on time, high quality products that meet customer and business requirements

Over 70% of the costs associated with a product are determined early in the product's design and development. By applying DFM principles early in product design, optimum use is made of materials and processes when change is easier and less expensive, and overall cumulative spend is reduced.

Design for Manufacture (DFM) refers to design activity that is based on minimizing the cost of production and/or time to market for a product, while maintaining an appropriate level of quality.

What this essentially means is that we take cost out of components and assemblies.

A primary strategy in Design for Manufacture involves minimizing the number of parts in a product.

Travis Hardy, Business Manager at Formero, studied the effects of DFM during the product development process.  “The research I conducted last year with over 11,000 professional designers and product developers found that Development Time was the main factor impacting a successful product release to market.”  This research suggests that 72% of ‘new product’ projects are delayed to production by 4 weeks or more due to design for manufacture issues.

Chart below illustrates the key factors that impact a successful product release to market?

Why is Design for Manufacture (DFM) important today?

  • Increases Reliability – Less parts = less chance for error.
  • Higher Quality – As above
  • Simplifies Production – Streamlined processes.
  • Improves Bottom Line – Less parts, less error & therefore less return and management of defects.
  • Time to Market – Less development time, refining and tuning.

With increased number of 3D CAD software programs available, means anyone and everyone has access to designing products – even those who don’t know anything about manufacturing processes.  Furthermore, Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing technologies mean anything can be built, but not mass produced.

Chinese Manufacturing suppliers also mislead many companies with the “No Problem” philosophy, consequently production parts are not to specification and lead times and part prices blow out.

At Formero we guide customers through the Product development process, from design to prototyping, tooling and into production.  The Design for Manufacture (DFM) process is essential so you avoid expensive design changes later down the track.  The fate of your product is locked in at the Design stage. 

Below are the steps for Formero uses to assist companies through the design for manufacture stages.

Some companies use all of the above, but some only use particular elements.

During the design for manufacture stage, Formero examines such things as:

  • Part simplification;
  • Coring out sections to reduce material
  • Simplify the tooling actions, i.e. remove sliders, lifters for plastic moulded parts
  • Gating positions can also reduce tool and parts costs.

Consequently, customers can reduce their tooling and part price by more than 20% and become your competitive edge.

How does it work?

Through direct liaison with the customer's design department Formero undertakes a full analysis of the component and assemblies in order to develop an optimised process solution for manufacturing the component. A full assessment of the service condition and life expectancy requirements ensures improved product quality and reliability, and a range of material and surface finish options are available to meet customer requirements. The overall benefit to the customer resides in the 'one-stop' shop approach to manufacturing that Formero employs, offering a dedicated manufacturing design and problem solving service for existing or conceptual design issues and a co-ordinated technical and manufacturing support service. The primary goal is to ensure that all projects are managed efficiently and to a high standard.

Contact Formero's Tooling & Production team to learn more about this service.


Developing an Innovative Medical Device


AusMedtech Conference Sydney, 15 June 2009:

"Design for Manufacture not only reduces development risk, but also had a straight to the bottom line impact on the perf...