What is DFM? DFM stands for Design for Manufacturing or Design for Manufacturability.
DFM is a concept that aims at optimizing a product from the very early stages of its design, so when it reaches the manufacturing stage, it is easy to manufacture.
The old way of manufacturing a product was to do it in separate stages.
One person, or a team, would take care of the industrial design, another one of mechanical design, another one of the firmware, and so on.
In the end, they would try to put all pieces together and send it to the factory for manufacturing – this usually resulted in many costly iterations before getting a product that could be manufactured.
In many instances, the result was a failure.
Why is DFM important?
DFM eliminates the risk of ending up with a product that is too complicated and costly to manufacture by, from the very beginning of product development, involving all the stakeholders, including the manufacturing partners.
As explained by our CEO
Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is the process of designing a product taking into account, from the very beginning, the manufacturing plant’s capabilities and availability of components and parts.
DFM in More Details
DFM is all about designing a product for which your manufacturing partner has the capacity and technology to manufacture; components and parts are available, and manufacturing operators will have little trouble running the operation.
You must accomplish all of the above while making sure the device can perform its functions to the fullest and looking good in the eyes of the consumer.
It’s not an easy task.
DFM must be present at all different levels of the product development process.
The design process of a product usually can be broken down into 5 to 10 stages, depending on what kind of product you’re dealing with.
For each of those stages, a DFM mentality must be put in place for every decision made.
In electronics manufacturing, these are some of the most common and most important DFM subdivisions.
- DFM for plastic injected parts
- DFM for wall thickness and plastic materials
- DFM for metal parts
- DFM for hole drilling
- DFM for PCB
- DFM for assembly
- DFM for Packaging
- DFM for certification
Allow me to explain DFM and its importance a bit more.
Let’s take DFM for plastic injected parts as an example.
In case you don’t know, building the molds for the plastic casing of an electronic device is one of the most expensive parts of bringing a product to life.
And many things can go wrong here and can be the difference between moving forward with your product or having it stalled.
Quality issues in injection-molded products go from minor surface defects to serious problems that affect the safety, performance, and function of the product.
The quality issues can be caused by problems related to the molding process, material use, tooling design, or a combination of all three.
How do you keep these issues from happening?
You take a DFM approach when you’re designing the molds for your product and put together an industrial engineer, mechanical engineer, and manufacturing engineer.
The three of them, with their extensive knowledge, should be able to make the best decisions regarding plastic injected parts, assuring a successful outcome.
There are basic guidelines a team should follow when doing DFM for plastic injected parts.
- The inside radius should be at a minimum of 50 percent of the nominal wall thickness.
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What is DFM – Conclusion
Think of DFM as the ultimate teamwork, simultaneous team collaboration that will ensure the final result is something that can be manufactured with little to no problem.
Every person in the team must be an expert in its field and have the capacity to communicate with others to make sure no vital part of the product manufacturing is overlooked.
Remember that DFM, is not just about designing a product that can be manufactured by a certain plant; DFM must also ensure that a product meets its vital functional requirements, otherwise, nobody will buy it.