What is design for manufacturing and what are its needs?

The last few decades have brought production companies many new challenges. Technology and improved freight transport have allowed companies to source parts worldwide. That enables companies to offer products at lower prices. Unfortunately, the changes have also resulted in more manufacturers entering the market and increasing the number of competing companies. Manufacturers are increasingly turning to design for manufacturing to maintain sales results and regain growth. So what is DFM, and what is its need? Find out in the article below.

Nowadays, products must be of high quality and quickly placed on the market not to lag behind other products. Properly planned and implemented DFM processes enable companies to develop high-quality products in less time at lower production costs. Higher quality at a lower price usually means more sales and greater customer loyalty. In the age of digitization, it isn’t easy to imagine a successful manufacturing company that does not have an implemented DFM process. Before we look at the benefits and needs of DFM, let’s first look at the definition of this concept.

What is DFM: The definition

DFM or design for manufacturing is a set of design principles that are part of the technical analysis of a manufactured product. It relies on comprehensive tests with various parameters to verify that the process corresponds to the project’s actual needs. Design for manufacturing plays a significant role in the EMS industry. Thanks to the correct implementation of these processes, manufacturers can identify potential implementation problems at an early design stage when the costs are still relatively low.

In the beginning, the element must pass through a wide variety of texts that are carried out using a professional system. In most cases, these are CAD software. Second, real-world simulations provide a lot of data, and their proper use leads to an even better understanding of part characteristics and the possibilities to improve its production. However, this process is complicated and requires knowledge of the specifics of the entire technological infrastructure and its proper preparation. That is because DFM has specific needs and requirements.

DFM – added value in the CEM industry

In most cases, DFM is defined as a solution that allows manufacturers to develop a final product much cheaper and launch it on the market. However, if the manufacturer does not implement design for manufacturing, some design assumptions often become different from reality. For example, there may be a situation where more expensive or more difficult to assemble components or materials are used without any specific reason and a real positive impact on the production result. By identifying suitable materials or components using DFM, we reduce production costs.

However, this is not the only advantage of this process. It is important that thanks to DFM, manufacturers can use not only the best materials and their combinations but also choose the right technologies. As a result, the materials used work better and affect the durability of the final product. Moreover, designing for manufacturing has a significant impact on the production process. A thorough analysis significantly reduces the risk associated with the production of the product. That is because it allows you to verify whether the design assumptions reflect the actual conditions, and therefore the final product will work by the manufacturer’s expectations and with the requirements of end buyers.

What are the needs of the DFM process?

DFM is a set of principles used in electronics, especially in the semiconductor industry, to design components that can be easily manufactured. Ease of execution means high efficiency during test sequences. The more the DFM rules are followed, the longer the product lifetime (life cycle). DFM needs a multidisciplinary technique. DFM engineering involves knowledge in the case of electronics production, knowledge of materials and assembly rules, and careful observation of the behavior of given elements under specific conditions. Therefore, it is imperative to correctly interpret the results with the help of experts with a very comprehensive understanding of the problems associated with electronics manufacturing.

Proper component design requires a large amount of data. Specialists from various domains can exchange DFM knowledge to select the most suitable production technique for a given product or detail. With the proper data flow between specialists in materials science, physics, chemistry, and manufacturing, design principles are developed to efficiently and quickly bring a high-quality product to the market. 

What if the manufacturer does not meet the expectations of the DFM process?

DFM is how design engineers review a product’s design to optimize its dimensions, materials, tolerances, and functionality with the most efficient means of production. Therefore, we can briefly say that the failure to meet the needs of DFM makes it impossible to achieve the intended results. However, that would be an overly simplistic explanation.

There is no doubt that manufacturing bypassing the DFM process or carrying it out improperly can ultimately make the manufactured product or component simply unsuitable for release to the market or further use in assembly processes. In this case, as a producer, you have two alternatives. First, you can modify the product and make it work differently, correct. The second solution is to abandon existing products and concepts to create new solutions. However, when reducing time-to-market is critical to your project, both solutions may not be appropriate and effective. Therefore, much more important than eliminating the effects is counteracting, which is to do everything to avoid potential complications and the need to modify the product.

Efficient production thanks to DFM

To summarize, we can indicate that the implementation of DFM means better product quality, reduced time to market, and effective cost reduction. PCB manufacturing standards need to apply some basic DFM principles that require expertise to prepare it for production. However, suppose you cooperate with a professional PCB assembly supplier. In that case, you can be sure that the contractor will analyze your project according to DFM standards before starting production, thus allowing you to prevent further potential complications and guarantee the entire project’s success and also profitability.

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