Design for Manufacturing, or DFM, is the process of designing products, including electronics, for ease of manufacturing as well as creating a better, more cost-effective product. DFM is a vital product-development step that looks to simplify and optimize the design to ensure high quality and efficiency during production along with integrity once in the field. The goal of DFM is to reduce manufacturing costs and avoid costly disruptions without sacrificing quality or performance.

DFM is an element of lean manufacturing practices as it focuses on getting the design right in order to minimize rework and waste during the production and assembly steps. The DFM approach is an excellent cost-saving strategy for OEMs and contract manufacturers, like RiverSide Integrated Solutions (RIS), as it increases operations efficiency and reduces time to market.

Products must be designed from the beginning to be manufacturable. The DFM process should occur early in the design phase of a project and should engage key parties including designers, tool fabricators, raw material suppliers, contract manufacturers, and other stakeholders. The goal is to tap into the experience of each of these experts. The team will scrutinize the current design from many angles with the goal of identifying a more cost-effective solution that maintains quality.

Part design  should be focused on the ease of manufacturing because it can help reduce cost and lead to a robust and reliable production process. Several aspects of the design will be considered during the DFM process: part geometry, location and shape of critical surfaces, size, and among others. Additionally, the DFM process should consider material selection, tolerancing, and the selection of critical dimensions as all of these factors impact manufacturability.  By making the right material, color, durometer, dimension, and tolerance choices, OEMs can create parts that can be reliably manufactured in large volume—while minimizing scrap rates and losses.

The Value of Design for Manufacturing

OEMs need to ensure the part is as easy to manufacture as possible.  This will result in more efficient production, better quality, and lower cycle times. Below are several ways OEMs gain value from the Design for Manufacturing process. Read RIS’ brief article for additional tips on DFM for electronics.

·Significant Cost and Time Savings: OEMs are often in a rush to get a new product to market so it is tempting to shorten – or even skip – the DFM process. However, it is important to keep in mind that changes to the design become exponentially more expensive and timely to implement as the product advances through the life-cycle. A thorough DFM upfront will allow any optimizations to be made or issues to be resolved before the changes significantly impact the project timeline or budget. When it comes to DFM, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is very true.

·Optimize Functionality and Aesthetics: if the part design is off even by a small margin, the product aesthetics and functionality will be altered, and this is especially true for parts that require tooling or molds, which are often expensive and time consuming to generate. The DFM process typically includes computer simulations of the design so the team can fully visualize the product. Oftentimes, this step yields additional insights and optimizations that would have been lost if the DFM process was not performed – resulting in a more functional and aesthetically-pleasing product. In addition to a more optimized part design, the DFM process will likely improve the design of specialized tooling such as jigs, fixtures, and dies. Without consideration during product development, the tooling may be unnecessarily complex or inefficient and lead to production challenges.

Looking for a contract manufacturer that offers a range of supply chain solutions and unwavering commitment to quality?

Contact the professionals at RIS today to learn more about our contract manufacturing facilities and the techniques we employ.

Contact Us

·Verify Manufacturability:the DFM process ensures the part can be manufactured. This may seem obvious but there are many instances of products reaching production only to realize the product cannot actually be effectively manufactured per its current design – what a nightmare. To avoid this situation, OEMS must value and put emphasis on the DFM process – and be willing to take the time to make the necessary revisions to improve the part design and manufacturability before initiating production.

·Confirm Assembly: DFM procedures often focus on production but is crucial that OEMs also consider product assembly to ensure new or existing products are designed for efficient assembly. Whether you perform assembly in-house or outsource this activity to a contract manufacturer like RIS, it is important to think through assembly line steps and how the part design will impact the assembly process. Companies should map out the physical flow of materials through each stage of product assembly to identify areas for improvement and optimize the process. Less is often more when it comes to product assembly. For instance, a best practice is to minimize the total parts and tools utilized, and optimize their placement including orientation. If performed properly, designing and optimizing for assembly will reduce overall manufacturing costs and avoid costly disruptions without sacrificing quality or performance.

·Drive Simplification and Minimization: certain design features significantly impact part cost such as tight tolerances and engraving. These drive-up cost and directionally reduce production efficiency. As part of the DFM process, OEMs should look at design alternatives and should ensure any complex or intricate features are “must-haves”. DFM will also look for opportunities to reduce raw materials such as replacing solid part sections with more hollow sections, without sacrificing quality or integrity. These design adjustments may seem like a small reduction in material but when multiplied over many production runs the result can be a significant decrease in manufacturing costs.

·Drive Production Efficiencies: the process of creating a product is often as important as the product itself. If the creation process is not considered during the design stage, it can be difficult to build standardization and efficiencies into production and assembly. During the DFM process, designers must keep in mind that operators on the factory floor are going to follow the blueprint provided and will not be able to easily make design adjustments on the fly – thus the design must be right the first time.

About RIS

RIS is an advanced contract manufacturer providing robust solutions in circuit board assembly, product assembly, kitting, supply chain management, fulfillment, distribution, and reverse logistics. We employ more than 300 people and provide services to OEM’s across the world. We operate 3 state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities within the U.S, and as your one-stop-shop we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing needs.

With all of the choices in contract manufacturers out there, we know it can be difficult to find someone that not only understands your business model but also has your best intentions in mind. RIS has proven to always be a win-win focused relationship. As your one-stop-shop, we have the capabilities, capacity, quality assurance standards, and resources to provide you with support for all of your manufacturing needs. We understand that supply chain management is difficult and very time consuming, so we urge our customers to utilize us in the fullest capacity. Our total-package solutions include:

· Extensive supply-chain network

· Purchasing and inventory management

· Dedicated Program Manager

· Warehousing and drop-shipping capabilities

· Flexible order fulfillment

· Product assembly: sub-assembly and full product

· Scalability to meet your needs

Contact us today at (507) 523-3220 to see how we can help with your manufacturing project, or click here for a quote.

Meeting and Exceeding Manufacturing Expectations Through Quality Control
Article Name
Meeting and Exceeding Manufacturing Expectations Through Quality Control
Quality is the key to success in manufacturing. As a contract manufacturer, your objective is to demonstrate quality that is exact — meaning the product quality can be defined, verified, and repeated again and again.
Publisher Name
Riverside Integrated Solutions
Publisher Logo