If there is one thing you will notice with today’s best industrial designers, it is that they work on every project based on DFM. Without it, any product created would not be without critical flaws and issues that ensure its downfall.
But what is DFM?
DFM stands for Design for Manufacturing. It is a general engineering practice of developing a product in such a way that it becomes easy to manufacture. This concept is present in almost all engineering specializations, but the implementation varies depending on the manufacturing technology to be used.
DFM is used to make the process of product design simple, manageable, and cost-effective. Prior to actual development, designers would study the ways and techniques in which the product can be manufactured at the least manufacturing cost.
Why DFM is important
DFM is beyond important; it is crucial in the sense that it serves as the foundation of the overall project design process. The best industrial designers know that they cannot just build a product from scratch, especially when it is meant for consumer use.
Now the question is, can you design a product without a DFM?
Technically, you can. However, creating a product without it would most probably stall the overall development process. It is because of the following reasons:
- DFM serves as your roadmap from conceptualizing your product to actually building it.
Building a product is a linear process. It cannot move on to one step without completing the previous task. Indeed, there are tasks that can be performed simultaneously, but they are part of a bigger job intended in that particular procedure. Without a roadmap at hand, you may end up building a product that doesn’t reflect your vision, nor performs your expected functions.
- DFM takes you to the most practical ways to build your product.
Aside from guiding you in each process of product development, DFM also provides you with the most practical options in building it. This includes the raw materials for production, the technologies to be applied, and the equipment to be used.
All these requirements cost money. Neither do they come cheap. You need to source out raw materials from different suppliers and use specialized equipment. In the eyes of industrial designers however, there are ways in which product components can be readily acquired, such as screws, bolts, etc. Some parts meanwhile have to be custom made, so this is where the costs for manufacturing shoot up.
DFM provides ways in which a product can be manufactured at the lowest possible cost, given the available technologies and building processes to be used. This saves you not only money, but also time for product development.
- DFM lays down the timeline to build your product.
Lastly, DFM is used to plan the product development process, not just in terms of capital outlay, but in terms of time. Time costs money, and the longer you spend on a process, the more money you spend.
DFM provides estimates as to when a product building task is to be completed. This includes how many man-hours it takes to complete a task, and how many people with the right skills are needed to fulfill it. From there, you can make the necessary adjustments without having to spend more money.