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Jul. 27, 2020Design for Manufacturing Reduces Cost While Maintaining Value

Designing a part is a complex process that can increase costs and create production delays. Form, fit, and function are essential design characteristics, but if the part can’t be manufactured with your current manufacturing processes, you may incur high costs to adapt processes or redesign the part. Design for Manufacturing (DFM) can help you to prevent this. DFM is a method of engineering a product with a focus on increasing manufacturing efficiency and reducing the overall part costs without compromising quality and performance.

Costs of poorly designed product  

When considering the costs associated with not implementing DFM, consider the Rule of 10. The Rule of 10 states that costs associated with rectifying reliability and quality issues increase by order of magnitude at each stage in the value stream. Catching any opportunities quickly and making improvements to designs is critical.

When to implement DFM

The most effective DFM happens early in the initial design process; however, redesigning an existing product can bring considerable cost savings as well. When HPM engineers challenge the design from component level through system level, you can be assured the design is optimized for manufacturing, and unnecessary costs have been removed.

What is involved with DFM

DFM aligns engineering and production during the design phase and looks for potential manufacturing impediments that could disrupt manufacturing processes, timelines, and budgets. Examples of what may be evaluated follow:

Design characteristics – The actual design is evaluated to ensure it is feasible for manufacturing and the materials themselves. For example, hole sizes, spacing, and alignment should be appropriate to prevent deforming during bending or excessive burrs from punching. Chamfers and beads may be needed to increase stiffness. The grain structure of the metal will be considered for punched tabs to prevent cracks. Experienced HPM engineers will evaluate all design characteristics to ensure they are optimized for the part.

Materials – Materials are evaluated to ensure the most cost-effective options are chosen that are compatible with the product’s intended environment, the product’s functionality, other materials in the part, and manufacturing processes. In addition to the metal used, any surface finishes are also reviewed.

Secondary operations – When possible, a part can be redesigned to reduce or eliminate the need for secondary operations. Minimizing handling means there is a lesser chance of a nonconformance.

Compliance – The design will be evaluated to ensure that it complies with all quality and customer requirements.

Standard components – Engineers will evaluate if standard parts or components that are used in another of the company’s products can be used in place of custom components.

Part reduction – If your product is made up of multiple components or sub-assemblies, HPM engineers will look to see if a design change can reduce the number of components. They do this with a focus on manufacturability because reducing parts might not be cost-effective if a complicated design drives up costs in production.

Understanding manufacturing equipment – All production equipment has limitations, whether it be tolerance or performance. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of the manufacturing equipment is a critical component of DFM. An unusual bend radius, for example, may require additional tooling, which can drive up costs and extend delivery time.

What makes HPM different?

Engineering is our strength. We have a team of 8 fulltime engineers that can evaluate your project for DFM and suggest cost-saving techniques. We start early in the design process to look for ways to reduce costs without negatively impacting the part’s aesthetics or integrity. Our expertise allows us to turn the most complex projects into cost savings. Quality is front and center of our minds at all times, even during the design phase. Our record stands for itself. We are ISO 9001:2015 certified, and in over 13 years through 26 BSI Quality System audits, we have not had one major nonconformance.

What can we do for you?

If you are starting a new project or have a current one from which you would like to find cost savings, and are interested in forming a partnership with a metal fabrication with proven experience in DFM techniques, contact us!