More than any other factor, a product’s design has the greatest impact on the total cost of production. In addition to specifying the materials that the product is made from, the design also directly impacts the types of processes and number of operations that a manufacturer utilizes to produce it on the factory floor. So what tools are available to engineers that will help them make good decisions and design the best possible products?
Engineer Design Tools
Two such tools, often used together, are DFM and DFA. Design for Manufacturing (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA) methodologies help engineers refine a product’s design to the point where it has all of the specified attributes required by the customer without being overdesigned and wasteful.
Design for Manufacturing (DFM)
Design for Manufacturing, also known as Design for Manufacturability, focuses on minimizing the number of features, required tolerances, and also the complexity of the manufacturing processes required to produce the individual parts. This helps to control production costs by increasing the quality and minimizing the fabrication time required to produce all the assembly’s components.
Design for Assembly (DFA)
Design for Assembly strives to reduce overall component part and fastener counts. It also encourages the incorporation of self-locating and nesting features wherever possible, to aid in the assembly process. This can reduce or eliminate the need for special tools and fixturing and also increase efficiency whether the assembly process is being completed manually or with automated equipment. DFA also encourages the elimination of all unnecessary redundancy in the design.
Using DFA and DFM in tandem forms the basis of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA). It will facilitate dialogue and teamwork between product designers and the facility’s manufacturing engineering organization. System integrators and contract manufacturers, like Keller Technology, can also participate at the beginning of the design process to suggest refinements to the product design that help to reduce cost and improve manufacturing efficiencies.
Contact Keller Technology to learn more about some of the most recent processing and manufacturing innovations that will help you design the most cost-effective and successful products.