Design for Manufacturability
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
Design for Manufacturability/Manufacturing (DFM) is the process of effectively designing parts and products for easy and efficient production. The idea of designing a part so it is easy to produce in high volumes, utilizing existing technology, while holding tight tolerances is the heart of what we do at Diamond Tool & Engineering. We rise to the challenge of creating tooling for extremely small parts with extreme tolerances and high cosmetic value, even of optical quality. Parts with complex geometries and exotic materials adds to the complexity of creating the best possible tooling. Raw materials, tolerances, and component assembly are all elements that can affect the manufacturability of a part. In using the DFM framework, we are able to discover potential molding problems before we even cut into the steel.
Potential Problems We Try to Anticipate:
Key Guidelines for Smart Design
Some key injection molding design guidelines we follow:
Uniform wall thickness – To minimize voids, shrinkage, warping, and stress. To improve mold fill and cycle times.
Large radius on all corners – For easier part release and reduced maintenance costs.
Minimize wall thickness – To reduce cycle times, promote rapid cooling, and minimize the shot weight – saving money while avoiding problems.
Design parts for easy ejection – High degrees of draft (or taper) assures easy mold release. A more expensive side-action mold is required when no draft is allowed in the part.
Ribs and gussets for strength – To improve rigidity without the use of thick areas for a uniform wall thickness – and reduction in costs.
DFM is Business Critical
Research indicates that 70% of a product’s cost is committed at the design phase of product development. In computer science the idea of “garbage in, garbage out” refers to the fact that a computer will process whatever data is imputed. The data will be unquestionably processed and produce, often with nonsensical results.
In manufacturing, quality in product development has progressed from ‘catching product problems and defects at the end of the production line’ to ‘anticipating and discovering problems during the design phase.’ This proactive approach results in huge savings. Design for Manufacturability minimizes production cost, improves time-to-market, and increases the quality of the product.