What is Design for Manufacturing and Assembly?

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is all about reducing the cost of piece-parts. Design for Assembly is all about reducing the cost of putting things together (assembly).  What’s often forgotten is that function comes first.  Change the design to reduce part cost, but make sure the product functions well.  Change the parts (eliminate them) to reduce assembly cost, but make sure the product functions well.

Paradoxically, DFM and DFA are all about function.

Here’s a link to a short video that explains DFM and DFA: link to video. (and embedded below)


4 Responses to “What is Design for Manufacturing and Assembly?”

  • Chris Tsai:

    I’d like to refine/expand your definition for DFM and DFA.

    Not only is DFM about reducing piece part costs, more specifically, it’s about understanding the sources of cost in the manufacturing process and providing the necessary input to trade-off analyses in conjunction with DFA. DFM brings transparency to the supply chain so target costing at the part and system level can effectively be accomplished.

    DFA, on the other hand, is much more than minimizing assembly cost. It’s also about simplifying the design and driving innovation. Design simplification through part count reduction has the most leverage on UMC, inherent quality, and time to market. Minimum part criteria applied to existing concepts drives innovation into the evolution of the concepts by removing artificial constraints imposed by the perceived need for parts. Parts aren’t needed (in most cases), the functions they perform are what’s needed. The opportunity for innovation comes in trying to meet the functional needs, preferences, and expectations of the customer with the fewest parts.

    So, your statements about function are right on and tie directly to the concept of value. Value is defined as a product’s performance and delivery/availability (and the perceived benefit) in comparison to the cost or price. So, when a product’s functions are provided at a lower cost and/or price, value is improved.

  • Mike:

    Chris, Thank you for your additions. The intent of my one minute video and short post was to explain DFA and DFM at the highest levels, not as a full definition, but more of an invitation for a discussion. As you say, there are more facets to DFA and DFM, and I agree completely with your assertion that value is most important. Without “without “value thinking” there is no viable product and no business.

    Thanks for your thoughts. They add much appreciated context to my post.


  • Mike Clayton:

    DFM in 80’s was Design for Manufacturability.
    And in many cases, the involved simulation methods to assure that component parts were precise enough for automated assembly, often adding special shapes to assist assembly, like tapered locator pins.
    In the 90’s, limitations of DFM caused many to add DFR (Design for Reliability), and after that, the high rate of new products from competitors that ignored these niceties in favor of “first to market” forced the “good guys” who understand importance of DFM and DFR to add Agile Design methods, supported by better software and simulation models, and for long production flows, they added short-flows to pre-qualify segments of the new product-process integration.
    In the 21st century, we are seeing intelligent process equipment with interchangeable tooling that can adapt to new product requirements (not enough of that, however, yet)

  • Can you tell me why Manufacturing sector under Mechanical Industries are not so friendly towards DFM as compared to Electronic Sector?

Leave a Reply

Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner