In order to leverage DFM&A appropriately, product development companies must carefully assess each project as it evolves. While implementing DFM&A from the initial concept to the finished product, engineers should consider these five things.
Understand the Product Market
It is important to understand the current market for a given product and the estimated production volume? More often than not, these projections are inflated which can cause the design to stray off course. There is a big difference between manufacturing 10 products and 10 million products. Consequently, there is a big difference when designing for economies of scale as well.
Don't OVER DFM&A
Depending on the product requirements and general specifications, the implementation of DFM&A can sometimes be overdone. In these cases, every facet of the development cycle is then jeopardized and typically results in a negative outcome. Overdoing the DFM&A of a product can lead to extensive and unexpected scheduling delays and a probable increase in development costs. We encourage our engineers to strive for a simplistic design while also considering the associated variables for a given project.
Account for Product Requirements
The thresholds for which you reduce cost, minimize complexity, and simplify assembly for a product need to align with the products’ requirements. Are they well defined and clear to all companies involved? Nothing should be assumed when it comes to product development. Every requirement should be fully vetted and agreed to before proceeding down the design path. As the design evolves, requirements have a tendency to change. Therefore, it is best practice as an engineer to closely monitor project parameters throughout development.
Consider Your Tooling Costs
All product development projects require some level of developmental tooling to sustain quantity, cost and design integrity. Tooling can range from very simple manufacturing or assembly fixtures to highly complex multi cavity injection molding tools. It is important to understand the tooling requirements up front to assure project viability. Often times, engineers rely too heavily on DFM&A and can potentially increase tooling costs and delay production. Therefore it is important to consider the manufacturability of a product as early as the design stage.
Think Outside the Box
Creativity and innovation are key aspects of product development. While somewhat difficult to measure, there is a lot of value placed on these intangibles. When it comes to DFM&A, being creative with your design can lead to cost reduction, simplification, and improved quality.