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What is Design for Manufacturability (and why should your company care)?

November 17, 2016

Let's say your company has designed a great new product and is now looking for a CNC machine shop to build its parts. You're happy with your model and think it should be a snap to produce.

You're all set, right?

Maybe. But maybe not if you haven't taken Design for Manufacturability - or DFM - into account. DFM is a process for finding the best way to make a part, an assembly or an entire product. It encompasses many aspects of design and production, but for our purposes we're focusing on how DFM affects machining.

Let's look at what issues might come up in making your new part - and how you can get around them with DFM.

When Design for Manufacturability is needed

If you're just second-sourcing a part that is already in volume production, you likely don't have to worry about Design for Manufacturability (DFM).

But if it's a brand-new part that is early in the design phase and hasn't scaled in production, or a new iteration of a part, you probably need the help of DFM experts. If your existing supplier hasn't acquainted you with DFM, it may be that the supplier lacks that capacity. If so, consider finding a supplier who knows DFM principles well and can put them to work for you.

The biggest benefits of DFM:

Cost: DFM machining expertise can make sure you're not paying more than you need to for a part.

Speed: This same expertise can also help you get your part built faster, avoiding unnecessary delays and enhancing success by getting to the market faster. Bringing new designs or concepts to market most quickly often determines success. DFM can be a differentiator by helping prevent unnecessary design iterations and issues that can delay product launch.

Feasibility: Sometimes a design looks great in your drawings, but can't be built as specified.

We'll explain the details of these factors in future blog posts. But for now, let's consider how you team up with a machine shop that can meet your DFM needs.

Trust: The key to a good Design for Manufacturability partnership

There are a lot of machine shops that are content with taking marching orders, building a piece from the plans they receive without any changes. A machining partner with DFM capabilities will have the in-house expertise - usually several engineers on staff - to show you how to get the job done cheaper and quicker.

Once you've found such a relationship you may be hesitant to hand over all the details of your design - how it's going to be used, the product it's part of, etc. But it's critical for your machining partner to know those things to pass along the DFM expertise you may be lacking. A good partner is not interested in passing along proprietary secrets to your competition. Rather, they want to build a strong relationship with you - not just with your initial project, but projects to come.

On the other side of the partnership, the machining partner wants to be clear that you're interested in a long-term business arrangement as well. Once that becomes clear, the partner will be able to provide more information, as well as prototypes if necessary, to help you move your projects along quickly and efficiently.

Like any business relationship, good communication is key. Emails work well, to a degree, but sometimes you just need to pick up the phone and have a chat. A good partner will respond quickly to you, no matter how busy they are, because they know that time is critical for everyone.

How Talon can help with your Design for Manufacturability needs

Talon has a team of 12 engineers on its staff, trained and ready to help with DFM issues. We know what it takes to give companies the products they need quickly and efficiently while saving on unneeded costs. We've done so for customers on hundreds of parts and projects, and we're confident we can do it for you.

For additional information, contact:

Jesse Miller
Director of Engineering
(320) 251-0390