Design for Manufacturing and Assembly - Article and video

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA)

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Have you ever been ‘no quoted’ by a component fabricator for a component you designed. Or the quote to make the component was way high? The likely reason for either was the fabricator saw that your component was going to be a hassle to fabricate. So, either they didn’t want to deal with the problems or they were going to charge you to deal with the problems.

Possible sources of fabrication hassles include:

Similar problems occur for assemblies. The overarching problem – no considerations of design for manufacturing and assembly.

Video recording of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly webinar

Examples of component hassles

Here are some examples of designs that are a hassle to fabricate:

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

The focus of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) is to prioritize ease of manufacture of components and simplified assembly of components into final product. This must occur during the early design phases of product lifecycle. The goals are to reduce time-to-market and reduce total production costs. The focus in this article is on custom-made components.

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly principles

There are several Design for Manufacturing and Assembly principles, including these:

The remainder of this article will focus on the first three principles.

Select materials that are compatible with proposed fabrication processes

This means selecting materials that enable a component to be easily fabricated. For example:

Design component features that are compatible with proposed fabrication processes

This means designing component features that can be easily produced. For example:

Consult with manufacturing experts early in the design stage

Talk to suppliers when you’re starting to design components for a product. What do they think of materials, shape, and tolerances? Do they have material recommendations? But be careful with their material recommendations since suppliers are not design engineers and they don’t know or understand all the design requirements. A 15 minute discussion for critical components can have a huge impact on your ability to meet launch deadlines, keep costs low, and prevent quality and delivery problems once the product goes into production.

Final thoughts

Component design decisions have a big impact on ease of component fabrication which influences component cost and the ability of meeting product launch schedules and product shipment targets.

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly may require working with not so low-cost suppliers, at least to get a product launched. But the benefits are huge. You can always cost reduce once you have a good design and have worked on the bugs. There are probably just a few of you who have tried to work with low-cost suppliers from the start and regretted it.

Check out these books to learn more about design for manufacturing and assembly

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