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Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

What is meant by DFM?

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is the engineering practice of designing products in such a way that they are easy to manufacture. DFM facilitates the manufacturing process to reduce the manufacturing costs of the product. Design for Manufacturing allows potential problems to be fixed in the design phase when it is less expensive to address them than later in the production process.

What are DFM and DFA?

In electronics, the term Design for Manufacturing actually refers to Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA), because the production process is divided into two totally different activities:

  • Manufacturing (or Fabrication) of the bare PCB board;
  • Assembly of components on the PCB board.

So Design for Manufacturing in electronics is also known as Design for Fabrication (DFF). It is concerned with selecting cost-effective raw materials and attempting to minimize the complexity of manufacturing operations during the product design phase in order to avoid errors and respins and to reduce the overall manufacturing time and costs for Printed Circuit Boards (PCB).

Similarly, DFA is concerned with reducing the product's assembly time, costs, and complexities - as well as errors - by minimizing the number of individual parts, assembly steps, and potential for variability in build quality.

Valor DFM spanish

Why Design for Manufacturing is important?

Design for Manufacturing is increasingly important in the current scenario, where products are increasingly complex and need to arrive on the market quickly. Traditionally, prototyping and production are being used to uncover DFM issues. But this method is inefficient, time-consuming, and expensive.

As shown in the chart below, the cost for fixing a problem increases along the product lifecycle. At each step, fixing a problem costs 10 times more than the previous step. The most expensive failures are the ones that you find in the field. So the ideal situation is that in which you find issues as soon as possible in the Design Process.

DFM in the NPI business process

What are the design considerations for manufacturing?

Siemens offers some important Design considerations for Manufacturing. You can no longer consider Design and Manufacturing as two separate worlds. You should review the whole process so that the mindset of manufacturing is present at every stage of the design. It is actually quite simple. You must perform DFM analysis at key milestones of PCB Design. Catching DFM problems early during PCB design saves time as fixes can be more difficult at a later stage. Siemens DFM tools allow this "incremental DFM", which provides visibility to the person responsible for any stage of the "Design and Release" process. This approach helps PCB Designers become more “manufacturing aware”.

“Shift Left" DFM Concurrent PCB Design Process

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