03.03.23 | 5 min read

Why is Design for Manufacturing Important?

Keeping an eye on production factors is a necessity

A common question we hear is: why is design for manufacturing important? The quick answer is: Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is an important part of the product development and manufacturing processes. It ensures that products are designed with production in mind, considering cost, speed, ease of assembly, and quality control. DFM can help maximize efficiency and reduce costs by streamlining the manufacturing process, improving manufacturing accuracy, and reducing waste.

Continue reading to learn how DFM can save money and the steps involved.

Ready to Optimize Your Part Quality? Request a quote today and discover how LMC Industries get your parts program running like clockwork. 

Design for Manufacturing Reduces Costs and Saves Money

Most companies are interested in lowering costs and saving money. Designing a product and getting a working prototype doesn’t mean it can be manufactured efficiently and at the lowest cost. 

DFM expert and author David Anderson wrote, “skillful improvements at the design stage are 10 times more effective than at the manufacturing stage.” He also explains that only 8% of the total budget has been spent when a product is designed, but product architecture determines 60% of the cost. The rule of 10 says it costs 10 times more to find and fix a defect at each stage of assembly. Finding a defect at the final assembly could cost 100 times more to remedy.

Applying DFM principles can reduce costs and save money in several ways:

Reduced Material Waste — When the design is optimized for production, less material waste is produced during manufacturing, resulting in cost savings. 

Lower Production Costs — DFM can help simplify manufacturing processes, reduce assembly time, and minimize the number of components required, resulting in lower production costs.

Fewer Quality Issues — DFM can reduce the risk of quality issues, such as defects or errors, which can create downstream issues and be costly to fix.

Faster Time to Market — DFM can help streamline the design and manufacturing process, resulting in faster time to market and increased revenue potential.

Improved Product Performance — DFM provides an opportunity to optimize the product for better performance, leading to increased customer satisfaction and potentially higher sales.

Longer Product Lifespan — DFM can also result in more durable and longer-lasting products, reducing the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Medical Device Contract Manufacturing is Rising: With demand growing, the medical sector is increasingly turning to external sources for production.

Important Design for Manufacturing Considerations

There are several design considerations for easy and efficient product manufacturing, which can result in reduced costs, improved quality, and faster time to market. These considerations will depend on the component and its intended use, but a comprehensive view that incorporates the component, the complete part, the manufacturing and assembly processes, and the intended use and environment of the part should be considered.

Follow Design Guidelines — A product designed for metal will be designed differently from a part designed for plastic. There may even be some design differences between different types of plastics or metals. 

Review Existing Designs — Design engineers will review the designs to identify potential manufacturing issues. For example, they may ensure that hole distances to the edge are appropriate for the metal thickness or that gates are appropriately placed on injection molded products. 

Consider Manufacturing Equipment — Understanding manufacturing equipment capabilities and limitations will reduce production challenges and contain costs. For example, extremely tight tolerances on a part, when not necessary, may require additional quality checks that drive the part cost up. Similarly, unusual features in metal fabrication may require special tooling, which can also increase costs. 

Material Selection – This is a critical component of the DFM process since it significantly impacts a product’s manufacturability, performance, and cost. The selection of materials should consider factors such as the desired physical product properties, compatibility with other materials in the product, the required manufacturing processes, and the cost of the materials. Sometimes substituting materials can significantly reduce costs without compromising function or reliability.

Standardizing Components Across Products — Using standardized components or hardware across products can save money, so when possible, use a component from a current product instead of customizing a new component. 

Reducing the Number of Components — If a component or product has multiple parts, design engineers may evaluate it to see if multiple components can be combined without significantly causing a negative impact on its quality, function, aesthetic, or cost. 

Insight into Inset Molding for Plastic Components: Get an in-depth look at the process, complete with design considerations.

Connect With Design for Manufacturability Experts at LMC Industries 

At LMC Industries, our goal with design for manufacturability is to optimize the design and manufacturing processes to reduce costs and save money while maintaining or improving product quality, performance, and reliability. By following the principles of DFM, we can help you improve your bottom line while delivering better products to your customers.

If you have a challenging manufacturing problem or are launching a new product, contact us to get connected with one of our metals and plastics experts!

Article | Design for Manufacturability

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