Insight on DFMA

DFMA - Design For Manufacturability Analysis

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Insight: DFMA - Design For Manufacturability Analysis


Hello and welcome to Proto labs' Insight video series. 

Today we talk about Design for Manufacturability Analysis, or as we like to call it DFM Analysis.

Hopefully this is fairly self-explanatory. Your supplier gets your CAD Design and advises you whether it will work as a manufactured part or if it could be improved. But beware not all DFM Analyses are the same. Let’s take a closer look.

DFMA tipsa

Let’s put you in front of your CAD system. You need to design a plastic part for injection moulding or perhaps 3D printing.

Next you need to outsource it, so you click send and off it goes to a couple of companies to get a price and a DFM Analysis for some advice from one engineer to another.

What happens when it arrives in the inbox of the application engineer at your supplier? Let’s call him Bob.

Tips on design for manufacturability

Well hopefully Bob opens it up as soon as it arrives and takes a look. It’s going to take him a few hours to go through it and highlight any concerns he may have about the design. He then needs to work on getting a price back to you. He says he’ll get it back to you in three days’ time, is that all right?

But hang on a minute, Bob is stretched. Your CAD diagram is not his first priority, because he’s got an issue with another customer that he has to sort out. Your CAD design falls down the list of his priorities. In fact, do you know what? He’s forgotten about your design, because poor old Bob is firefighting another problem.

It’s now a week later and your boss is on your back. You have a tight deadline to meet. If you don’t get that part sorted out in the next two weeks then you may need to shut down the production line. Now you are losing sleep at night fretting about it.

So, what do you do? You phone Bob up. Where is it Bob? The true answer is that it is half way down Bob’s to do list.

Poor old Bob, but never mind that, what about your part?

Let’s stop this. The answer for both you and Bob is that he shouldn’t be doing this. Software can do both the quote and also the DFM Analysis.

Now let’s replay that scene.

You’ve designed your part and you upload your 3D CAD model into the automated quoting system. It accepts many different file formats, so there’s no issues. You get your quote and your DFM Analysis back in a couple of hours.

If there are any issues with your design, then these will either be highlighted as an advisory, in other words you don’t have to change it but if you do you will get a better part; or as a required change, which means it won’t work unless you change it. 

What about Bob? Well it’s done him a favour as well. He doesn’t need to wade through CAD designs that might or might not become real business. He can spend his time doing what he does best, drinking a cup of tea.

Only joking Bob. No, he is freed up to work with you more closely. He might even suggest how you can reduce your costs or get an even better part. He is now part of your team.

And do you know the best thing? Both you and Bob can now sleep at night.

So, what are the takeaways from this Top Tech Tips session? If you want a fast quote and a DFM Analysis quickly to meet a tight deadline, then check how quickly your supplier can turn it around. Better yet ask them whether they have software to do it.

If they do have software, then it will cut your lead time down. Instead of waiting days for your quote and your DFM analysis, it should only take a couple of hours. This gives you more time to perfect your design and it frees up your suppliers’ engineers to get more involved and become an extension of your team.

If you don’t believe me then check out our digital quoting platform. And don’t worry none of our engineers are called Bob.

In the meantime, have a great weekend and I look forward to sharing our next Top Tech Tips video with you next Friday. It takes a closer look at CNC threading and how to get it right.

Until next week.


With special thanks to Natalie Constable.


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