When designing a product, manufacturing and assembly aren’t usually front of mind for engineers. But while they may design an excellent product on paper, failing to consider manufacturing and assembly might lead to their product being expensive or difficult to manufacture down the line.
These problems have resulted in leading companies increasingly trying to focus on manufacturing and assembly considerations earlier in the product development lifecycle. To achieve this, they are implementing key ‘designing for manufacture’ principles.
By developing products in line with these principles, design engineers can make better early lifecycle decisions – enhancing the final product, simplifying manufacturing and reducing the costs of production.
There are a number of designing for manufacturing principles, all of which can improve product design and reduce manufacturing costs. These include:
- Reducing the number of parts – This can be achieved through opting for manufacturing techniques such as injection moulding, precision cold forming and CNC machining that can reduce or eliminate the need for additional components like brackets or fasteners.
- Standardising components – Using components that can be bought off the shelf cuts in-house design and testing costs, enables companies to benefit from economies of scale and reduces supply risks.
- Simplifying assembly – By doing so, costs can be saved on the production line, the time it takes to produce each product can be minimised and errors resulting in expensive quality problems later on can be eliminated.
- Reconsidering the process – Many engineers play safe and opt for manufacturing techniques they’ve used in the past. By exploring lesser-known techniques such as cold forming, they may be able to enhance the product or experience other benefits, such as higher levels of material utilisation.
- Asking the experts – Early input from process experts can be invaluable in assessing the viability of different manufacturing approaches, and specialists can often suggest design changes that will reduce cost or improve quality in the final design.
As you can see, these aren’t world-changing philosophies. These basic principles simply require engineers to take a wider, more considered and holistic approach to designing a product. By doing so, time intensive product redesigns can be avoided and cost targets can be met or even beaten.
To learn more about optimising products and cutting component manufacture costs through implementing designing for manufacture principles, download our comprehensive free guide.