So what is Design for Manufacturing? Why do I care? These are a couple questions we hear in the development phase of a new product.  The brief description according to wikipedia.com is that DFM is the general engineering art of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture. The basic idea exists in almost all engineering disciplines, but of course the details differ widely depending on the manufacturing technology.DFM is intended to prevent:

  • Product designs that simplify assembly operations but require more complex and expensive components
  • Designs that simplify component manufacture while complicating the manufacture process
  • Designs that are simple and inexpensive but are difficult or expensive to service and support

I think that is a good overview of the general concept of what DFM is.  So the next question is “why is it a problem?”There are a number of possible answers for this question.  First possible answer is that the manufacturing techologies are continuously changing so it is difficult to keep up with the new technologies available.  This could be true…I am not sold though.  The next answer could be that engineers are not trained properly coming out of college.  This is a possible answer but it seems like it blames the problem on someone else.  Last, the answer could be that engineering is no longer performed at the same facility as manufacturing….bingo! With manufacturing moving offshore to locations far away from engineering, the collaboration that existed in the past between design engineering and manufacturing no longer happens.  Designs are created and then passed to manufacturing to make parts.  Sounds great and very efficient…just not as flawless in practice.  How does an engineer learn about the hidden “gotcha’s” of injection molding? Well, unfortunately, they don’t.  Not until they design a part and have it manufactured do they see problems.With that said, there are now services out there to help with the manufacturing process during the product development phase.  We are Quickparts provide a DFM of every part we review for injection molding.  We saw the void created in the industry and want to provide a free service that helps both our customers and us during the manufacturing process.  We have seen this as a huge success for customer wanting to proceed to injection molding.  This has helped product development companies reduce cost, lead time and ultimately FRUSTRATION. To learn more about the service or see an example, give us a call or check Quickparts out at http://www.quickparts.com/ToolingProduction.aspx.Here is an example of a DFM report: http://www.quickparts.com/UserFiles/File/Design_For_Manufacturing_analysis_report.pdf