Manufacturing is one of the key factors which determines product success, as it directly refers to product quality and availability. Design for Manufacturability (DFM) determines the process of ensuring optimum production efficiency and quality while taking care of potential product problems in the design phase itself.
DFM saves on time; cost and effort related to product redesigning process and carves out best-manufacturing output efficiently. It takes care of factors which might impact product manufacturing including the nature of raw material, its physical and chemical attributes and its availability for faster production.
Depending upon the industry and type of manufacturing process the DFM practices vary and are tamed to define check lists for quality and design checks. It has been estimated that by the time product design gets determined, about 80% (shown in the graph in Figure 1) of the total product costs are incurred. These designs determine the manufacturability which in turn impacts production costs. DFM has a vital role to play in controlling product costs.
Figure 1: Product Cost vs Time Graph (Source: Design for Manufacturability Book by DR. Anderson)
Looking at the criticality of DFM, it has become an important ingredient of product success. Here in this blog I have tried to include top 10 contributing factors to DFM.
Complex designs create assembly bottlenecks and make it difficult to meet constraint time frame requirements. Product complexity can be attributed in many ways like the number of PCB layers, number of processors on board, routing and placement of components, heat sink requirements and form factor. It becomes challenging to maintain product quality while shrinking production time. A number of intelligent and innovative methods need to be applied for an effective DFM process and to handle complex product requirements.
The huge number of product variants also makes it difficult to have a standard DFM process in place. It becomes challenging to keep track of material availability and to ensure quality standards. It is always recommended to have minimum product variants to keep manufacturing processes agile.
But there are instances where it is need of the market to have multiple variants of a single product to cater to multiple customer needs; an ideal example here is that of mobile smartphones. The only solution to tackle this challenge is to have DFM frameworks defined with details of every variant to ensure every aspect of variance is taken care.
Material availability and price do contribute to DFM processes. It is recommended to keep track of every component availability and use components with End of Life (EOL) either approximately equal or greater than defined for the Product Life Cycle (PLC). Price attributes to the BOM costs should directly relate to product profitability.
It is better to have a detailed analysis of component prices before stepping into the design phase, so that future changes are avoided.
Product development investments should be future-proof. Enough research should be done to have modular product designs, so that future changes are taken care without scrapping the design and start from scratch. DFM should take care of this aspect and should be devised in a way to take care of all modular changes. This ensures a higher return on investments (ROI) and also reduces time to incorporate design as well as production changes.
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Failure analysis techniques need to be accurate and precise in determining design issues. DFM should be devised in a way that all inputs from failure analysis are taken care.
Design costs directly impact end product costs. The DFM should be handled efficiently to minimize design costs by ensuring minimal rework on incorporating any design-related product changes. DFM needs to be efficient to avoid any design re-spins as it increases development costs and ultimately impacts profitability.
It is always unavoidable to skip critical design changes that come up with prototype testing. DFM needs to take care of these last stage changes while ensuring that development timelines are met to avoid any delays in product launch schedule.
Product design should take care of production feasibility. DFM should take care of proper placement and routing of components, and there should be proper space between the placed components so that soldering failures are minimized. It is recommended to design as per the EMS design/Manufacturing facility manufacturing process layout so that production assembly time can be minimized.
Every product needs to comply with industry regulatory requirements. DFM needs to take care of every certification requirement and ensure that the design is done as per the designated framework. Regulatory requirements are purely industry-specific and every EMS/production facility needs to follow them strictly.
Quality standards determine product success. DFM needs to take care of design quality and ensure that any design changes do not impact product performance negatively.
All the above factors form critical aspects of DFM process and they determine the product success both in terms of quality and profitability. To conclude I suggest that we should always have a DFM process which can yield us maximum output while taking care of all design changes.