What is the Difference Between DFM and DFA?

When you begin a manufacturing design project, you want to ensure that you have every part of the process laid out and ready to go. Part of this is deciding upon a methodology for your designs and where to place your energies’ overall focus. Are you trying to reduce your operations’ complexity and the cost of the raw materials and future production? Or are you trying to streamline the assembly processes involved? Whichever path you choose, you’ll have to apply either design for manufacturing or design for assembly methodologies for your upcoming project. But what are the actual differences between the two methods, and does one rank more favorably than the other?

The Details on DfM

Every design team’s goal is to deliver the manufactured products on time, on budget, and of the highest quality. Figuring out how you can accomplish this while bringing costs down is something every designer tries to do with every project. When you focus on manufacturability design, you take the time to figure out the total cost of fabricating individual components and reduce the overall number of machined parts. This helps you better control the production costs and overall efficiency while providing a higher quality of work. 

How About DfA?

In the journey to maximize your budget, your team needs to figure out how best to utilize your materials. Design for assembly means that your processes revolve around reducing the required number of product parts, using paired parts that go together in specific applications, and taking precise measurements of each component to ensure better handling during assembly. Using design for assembly principles lets you create a more efficient process that focuses on making the actual assembly of your products as smooth and without wasted movement as possible.

Still, designers have asked if there are advantages of one train of design thinking over the other. Does a path exist that combines the best of both to create an even more efficient production process?

The Best of Both Worlds

Combining the best aspects of DfM and DfA theory allows designers to find the most nuanced approach to the manufacturing process. To put DfMA (design for manufacture and assembly) into its simplest terms, it represents a set of guidelines that ensure that the product is manufactured and assembled in the most efficient way possible. DfMA encourages teamwork communication between designers and manufacturing engineers to promote collaboration and synergy in their work. Your team can now incorporate modular design elements into your process, bring more economical and multifaceted parts to the table, and find more ways to reduce component cost and total manufacturing time. 

No matter which design method you choose, the team at PennFab, Inc. can help your project bring your design from the earliest stages to completion. Our team of engineers, designers, and manufacturers will work with you every step of the way to bring your vision to life in the most efficient way possible. Contact us today to get started!

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