What is DFM?

Design for Manufacturability, also known as Design for Manufacturing (or DFM), is the process of designing and engineering a product, while consciously evaluating each step of the manufacturing processes, to discover efficiencies that will reduce the cost of producing the product. This is done by simplifying, optimizing and refining the product design. DFM allows potential problems to be fixed in the design phase which is the least expensive place to address them.   

When Should DFM Be Done?

DFM review can be performed at any stage of a product’s life, from napkin sketches to legacy products that have been produced for decades. But consider that 70% of the cost of a product--. the materials, processing, and assembly are determined by design decisions. For this reason, we have found great success in partnering early in the design and engineering of products. It is better early in the design phase rather than after the product launch. Mating parts may be affected and delayed launches or cost issues reduce sales. While early in the product life is ideal, legacy products offer significant opportunities for cost savings.

Legacy Products Can Reap the Greatest Returns from DFM

“We’ve always made it that way” are the six most dangerous words used in manufacturing and almost always lead to significant DFM opportunities. We find more savings in legacy products than anywhere else. Manufacturing equipment and machine tool technology are rapidly changing and products designed 25 years ago may have been designed with the machine technology at the time in mind. Likely processes have improved and costs can be found through minor changes.

Often after a product successfully launched design teams move on to new products, and significant savings can be found by monitoring any post-fabrication processes such as assembly. Our dedicated team can meet with your engineers and technicians to find concerns and offer suggestions to improve product design. 

Technology Changes Make DFM Possible

Buyers, Supply Chain Managers, and Engineers often have a thorough understanding of manufacturing processes from metal stamping and fabrication to machining and injection molding. However, the technology within these highly specialized contract manufacturing industries is evolving faster than ever. New technology and manufacturing processes can be applied to old products to improve quality and reduce cost. 

Precision Sheet Metal

How To Identify DFM Opportunities

We have several customers who hold regular lunch-and-learn meetings for their design staff to review products monthly, every six months or once a year, depending on the volume and frequency of new product launches. Often DFM can be identified when hosting tours to your supply chain. Reviewing product in WIP and talking with your process technicians often yields ideas that can save your company significant cost and trouble.

Who Should You Involve in DFM Reviews?

Design engineers, end-users, marketing, quality engineers, manufacturing technicians, and contract manufacturing vendors all have valuable experience to input. When including your supply chain, we recommend being broad in your invitations. If your team feels this is a CNC machined job, you should include die casters, fabricators or injection molders. Typical sheet metal jobs can often see tremendous savings when applied to tool and die metal stamping. 

Don’t corner yourself into a particular manufacturing process. Let us help you make subtle design changes that would result in lower costs by selecting different manufacturing processes. Metalcraft Industries has been working with partner and complimenting companies for over seven decades. We can help assemble a team of process experts to review your product for the most cost-efficient manufacturing.

A DFM Review That Resulted In A 74% Cost Reduction

How would you like to tell your boss that you found a way to decrease the cost of one of your purchased parts by 74%? One of the most dramatic  DFM cost-saving opportunities came inadvertently from an existing sheet metal customer. We were touring their assembly process for a product we were currently producing for them that was causing some assembly issues for their technicians. The product was a heavy gauge bracket and the issue turned out to be a fairly simple drawing miscommunication that was resolved in minutes. While watching the assembly process, however, we noticed another part that was part of the BOM and assembly that was currently being CNC machined. The part was round and required significant material removal during the machining process. Our team recognized the overall shape of the part as being a possible “Deep Draw” candidate. Read The DFM Case Study.

Ownership Of Designs

Metalcraft Industries Inc. is an ISO 9001:2015 certified company. However, our certification restricts us from performing product design. We will assist and make recommendations based on DFM principles, but all ownership of design is the sole property and liability of our customers.

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