In order to make a good product today, it takes more than simply meeting performance and feature specifications. Cost is a major driver in the market today, and in order to be competitive, every step in the development process needs to incorporate manufacturability.
Our engineers are highly trained in DFM in order to deliver a design that not only meets performance and feature specification but also minimize manufacturing costs to ensure that your products can be priced competitively.
Not only do we have experience with DFM, but we also have experience with design for assembly (DFA) and design for inspection (DFI).
There are many considerations that go into DFM, DFA, and DFI.
Set-up/Run Time and Machine Type
Machine setup time and part runtime can significantly affect component manufacturing costs. One example of this is if a manufacturer has to rotate a component during manufacturing in order to approach it from multiple sides, which can significantly increase component cost.
Component complexity can also significantly increase costs. If a part can be run on a cheaper machine the time rate charged can be significantly lower since manufacturers need to charge higher rates for using more expensive and complex machinery.
Machinability depends upon material properties such as hardness, density, and strength. In order to keep manufacturing costs down, it is critical to select materials that not only meet specification requirements but also don’t add unnecessary cost to products. In order to optimize a design’s material type, one needs a strong understanding of the products requirements which can be obtained by performing an analysis. Without a detailed analysis of a product, engineers need to remain more conservative in order to prevent unforeseen failure which can add significant manufacturing cost.
While it would be great to always be able to use materials such as carbon fiber, titanium, and others which deliver exceptional properties they also add significant cost to products and aren’t necessary for most applications.
Materials are supplied in a variety of forms. There are hollow structural sections (HSS), I-beams, bar stock, sheets, plates and more. The unit cost of a material varies depends upon the form specified. For instance, bar stock can cost half of what plate costs per pound for identical materials. In order to keep costs lower, we design components to be manufactured with the lowest cost material form that meets with the necessary specifications.
In manufacturing, tolerances can add a significant amount of cost. Applicable manufacturing methods and equipment depend upon how tight tolerances are. Higher volume machines or more affordable machines cannot replicate the same tolerances as lower volume machines and high-cost machines. Quality assurance can also become an issue. It’s far harder for manufacturers to guarantee tighter tolerances requiring additional time.
Using engineering techniques we can design products to perform similarly to products with tighter tolerances while keeping tolerances lower to reduce cost.
Design and Shape
The more material a machine has to remove, form, or add increases the machines per component run-time and material waste which significantly affects cost. Different types and features also require different machining time. For instance, a chamfer requires less time than a radii.
Our strong understanding of the manufacturing requirements of different features and minimizing the amount of material which has to be removed, formed or added leads to large manufacturing cost savings.
Contact us today to learn more or for a free quote!