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Practical DFMA Top Tips
Further
Design for Manufacture and Assembly Top Tips 2


Essential Product Development for Engineers


Practical DFMA Top Tips 2



  • Use standard consumables from stockists wherever possible. Don’t waste time and effort designing and manufacturing your own. Instead, contact stockists with your requirements and let them search for you. Consumable examples include bungs, caps and spacers. All such items are candidates for stock items. What’s more they are very cheap, available in numerous profiles and various colours. Obtain quotes for the best prices for these items. Remember the technical performance of these outsourced items is well understood and available on request, typically as data sheets.

  • Talk to shop-floor manufacturing, assembly, quality and inspection personnel about DFMA issues. Importantly, gain the opinion of suppliers; they will be able to offer a host of knowledge, experience and expertise.

  • Can lower cost materials which still perform the same function (short and long term) be considered?

  • Guard against over-engineering. It builds-in mass and cost. Identify and root out excessive material thicknesses, as well as unnecessary fasteners and consumables. Could some quick Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of your CAD model, help you optimise the part, and so help reduce mass and excess?

  • When bought-in parts are delivered, can lower cost, quicker and easier to remove packaging be used? Any alternative must be fit for purpose. 

  • Consider removing or amalgamating steps in the assembly process. Reduce the total lead-time by reducing steps. However, be aware of the potential to over-complicate adjoining stages, with the resultant risk to quality.


DFM Design Principles from NIELITA


More Practical DFMA Top Tips... 

  • If possible, gauge likely customer responses to modifications. Get your sales and marketing team to assist. Are there options to obtain user opinion online? Have you loyal customers or sample groups from who you can gain honest feedback? Remember 'customers' may also include production personnel, fitters and maintenance guys who have to handle and assemble products. All their opinions are valuable. 

  • Whilst reducing costs (and in design engineering in general) attempt to make products as safe as possible. Aim to design out any potentially dangerous features from parts, assemblies and products. If this isn’t feasible, fit guarding around them. If this also is not a possibility, use warning stickers and signs as a last resort. The legal implications (personal and corporate) of unsafe products are far too serious to ignore or overlook. Risks should always be assessed. Formal risk assessments, accreditation and certification may well be needed to meet legal obligations for some products. Is retesting and re-certification necessary after modification?

  • Buy versus Make Decisions: Can a supplier source components or assemblies more cheaply than you can make them, yet maintain the desired quality? Do they possess specialist capabilities and skills you cannot match internally? Would the business benefit by freeing up employees to undertake higher value activities, rather than routine tasks? If so, obtain quotes and ensure your supply requirements and quality standards can be met. Also, make sure you can control any future design changes, with the use of a structured engineering change order system. Don’t give away knowledge or processes which give you a competitive advantage. Also guard against the loss of any Intellectual Property (IP). More buy-versus-make advice can be found here...

  • Consider negotiating and re-sourcing purchased items to obtain the best price. Obtain alternative quotes to compare.

  • When using sheet material to produce net-shapes, maximise the usage of the sheet to minimise material waste.


  • Attempt to design parts that require the minimum manufacturing operations and orientations (preferably one).


More Practical DFMA Top Tips... 

  • Ask if a component can be made smaller or with less material? Is a lower cost material a possibility?

  • Look for novel ways to manufacture items quickly and more cheaply? Is there an alternative process that could be used? Review how products from completely different industries are manufactured and assembled for clues.

  • Can secondary and finishing processes be eliminated or lower cost, quicker alternatives be found?

  • As a more far reaching, perhaps future activity, attempt to rationalise the range of products you produce. Are there products in your range that duplicate the functions of others? Or put another way, could you reduce the range by making relatively straightforward modifications to some products so they perform the function (and perhaps the scope) of others?

 

OK, so as you can see there is a wide range of really useful advice to assist you and your cross-functional team, to potentially dramatically reduce costs and make big improvements to your products. For many of these, practical DFMA top tips include simplification and minimization as central themes. Some advice will apply more than others, depending on the nature of your products. Finally, are there others you work with who could benefit from this checklist? Spread the word to those who could profit from it.

Practical DFMA Top Tips

 Practical DFMA Top Tips - Real World Product Example



Squeeze Time and Money out of Production Using Design for Manufacturability from SOLIDWORKS




Next... Technical Documents and Data to Assist Manufacturing and Assembly


Back to Product Development Essentials 


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