07.20.23 | 5 min read

Optimizing Production with Plastic Design and Manufacturing

Plastic manufacturing is an extremely complex process that requires a significant amount of labor and expertise. Choosing the right materials, mixing polymers, and molding the plastic requires knowledge of the specific industry, the applications of the process, and the characteristics of the specific type of plastic. 

Optimizing the production process includes improving your design and manufacturing: deciding on the manufacturing process, the design and material of the product, the product’s environment, and meeting all of the compliance and testing safety and quality standards.  

Design for Manufacturing, or DFM, is the process of designing a better product that is manufactured at a lower cost. Simplifying, optimizing, and refining the product design is the main goal when implementing DFM.  

How DFM Streamlines the Manufacturing Process

Enhances Part Quality and Streamlines Production with DFM

There are five key principles of DFM that contribute to the improvement of product quality, including process, design, material, environment, and compliance.  

Process of Plastic Design and Manufacturing

Choosing the right manufacturer and manufacturing process is critical for the quality production of a product. In order to decide on the right manufacturing process for your product, you will need to take into account the number of parts being made, what material is being used, how complex the product is, and the tolerances required of the product.  


The design of your product must comply with the manufacturing process that has been chosen. Looking at the product from the inside out and considering thickness, texture, and other features will help you create a design that works well with your product and allows it to function properly.  

Materials for Plastic Design and Manufacturing

When selecting the material for your product, it is important to make sure that it has all of the properties your product needs. Figuring out how strong the material needs to be, if it needs to be a certain color, if it needs to be heat-resistant, what electrical properties it needs to have, and if it is flame resistant will help you select the right material. You can also discuss materials with your manufacturer, as they will have extensive knowledge of what materials they offer and what properties they have.  


Much like when deciding what materials should be used, considering what environment your product will be in frequently will ensure your product is successful. If your product is going to be outside, for instance, it is important that the material you have chosen is heat and weather resistant, but if your product is only going to be inside, you won’t have to worry about weather resistance as much.  


Many products will need to comply with quality or safety standards. There are many industry, third-party, and internal standards that need to be met. Working with a manufacturer that has experience and knowledge of some of these standards will save you time and money on fines and recalls.

Optimizing your design through DFM principles ensures that your product meets all regulatory requirements and is created with the best materials and processes for your specific needs. Since you are working with a professional manufacturer, you are able to receive your product faster, thanks to efficient manufacturing processes and expert design capabilities.   

Plastic Design and Manufacturing Delivers Cost-Effective Solutions

Implementing DFM solutions can greatly reduce production costs by eliminating costly design modifications or reworks, standardizing materials, and optimizing manufacturing. DFM can also lead to reduced waste, shorter assembly time, and lower tooling and equipment costs.  

Reduced Time to Market with DFM

Keeping clear communication between designers, engineers, and manufacturers throughout the production process contributes to faster time-to-market. The efficiency of the manufacturing process with DFM also contributes to the rapid production of prototypes. These early prototypes and simulation tools accelerate the design and testing phases.

Implementing DFM in Plastic Design and Manufacturing

When implementing DFM, it is important to involve all relevant parties, including your stakeholders, from the very start. This reduces the risk of miscommunication or a change in direction during the manufacturing process. You also need to prioritize manufacturing with all of your design processes, so your designs can be implemented effectively.  

Some challenges can present themselves when applied to plastic manufacturing.  Since there are so many types of plastics with differing properties, designers and manufacturers need to determine the right material for your application. This can sometimes pose problems if the wrong capabilities are given. Product defects can also occur during injection molding due to thermal stress. These issues are important to note during the manufacturing process so they can be avoided.  

Get Plastic Parts Designed for Performance from LMC

At LMC, we utilize DFM to make sure your parts are optimized for manufacturability so your project is set up for success from the very beginning. Our expert engineers work with you to find the best design for your project and our plastic insert molding, over-molding, and injection molding experts will find the right material for your needs.  

We are dedicated to lightening your workload by taking on the manufacturing, heat treating, and secondary processing of all of your products with our network of trusted suppliers.  

Contact our team today to see your product meet its full potential.  

Article | Design for Manufacturability

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