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Design for Manufacture & Assembly

DFMA stand for design for design for manufacture and assembly. It comprises two methods: design for
manufacture (DFM), which is about creating a process that manufactures parts of a product with ease; and
design for assembly (DFA) which is how effectively a product can be out together from its constituent parts.
DMFA can be broken down into a set of guidelines to ensure a product is made to reduce time, cost and
effort. These guidelines help to address any possible improvements to a product, to reduce both
manufacturing and assembly costs and to allow guidance in ensuring the product is in its simplest form
It is used a great deal in industry to ensure teams are able to break down problems efficiently and to give
estimations on product price helping to provide comparison with competitors in the market. Cost is
especially important in a price competitive market and so decisions of materials and manufacture will be
heavily influenced by this factor.
There are many reasons why DFMA is used in industry when creating a product. These can be placed into
four major groups:

Time of assembly
Time is money, and so it is important to revise every step in the production and manufacture of a
product and ensure there is no wasted time. Practices such as self aligning parts and vertical
assembly can be applied.

The more parts in a component, the more complex and therefore the harder to assemble. Increasing
the number of parts also increases the chance of component failure, as there is a greater chance of
fault or damage to a part.

Cost is an important factor in a price competitive market, by eliminating unnecessary parts and
materials and decreasing the amount of labour, the price of the product can be reduced.

Total time to market

It is important to ensure the time from design to production is as short as
possible so that the product is available to the consumer as soon as possible.

Analysis of Design for manufacture and assembly

For the design of a product to be successful, by improving previous designs, it is important change aspects
of the design or now improvement can be made. The function of the product must always come before the
cost as the product must be able to carry out its purpose.
Design for assembly

This is usually the starting point for most design processes. How the parts of a product fit together needs to
be as simple as possible. Complex designs means more labour or specialised machinery may be required
to piece the product together, adding to cost.
Methods of reducing the number of moving parts includes combining components, which can be seen in
the Honda gx160:
Here a washer and nut have been combined, although the number of parts have been reduced, this has
not affected function or performance of the component.
Design for manufacture
Manufacturing is the process of creating the individual parts of a product. DFM is a guideline to follow to
ensure the design is changed to reduce the cost of an item and to reduce the number of moving parts.
To analyse the effectiveness of DFMA, a point system is used whereby parts are grouped into critical and
uncritical. To decide whether a part is critical, it must answer yes to one of the following questions:
Is the part made of a different material from the other parts or in some way isolated?
Does the part move relative to other parts already assembled when the

product is in operation?
Is it essential for the product to be separate from the other parts as its
assembly may make it impossible to assemble other parts?

If any of these questions answer yes, one point is scored, if the answer is no,
zero points are scored. If the component scored zero then it is not classed as
critical and therefore the aim is to redesign the part so that the function may be
carried out by another part. The product is then reassessed by the same process
and by its efficiency. The number of parts scoring one is summated and this
gives the theoretical part count. This is then multiplied by the theoretical
assembly time, dividing this by the product of the total real part count and the
actual assembly time gives the design efficiency.
The assembly design efficiency is given by the theoretical assembly time divided
by the actual assembly time.
The aim is for the design efficiency to be as high as possible.
Adding symmetry to the design can also improve assembly efficiency as it
reduces assembly time, for example, an operator must recognise the orientation
of a part before assembly, which adds extra time to the assembly time.


Design for the Environment
When designing a product it is important to keep in mind what will happen after the product has been used
and is no longer functioning as efficiently. As our material resources are limited, recycling should be a key
aspect of the design process. It is important to recover as much of the material as possible.

Non-Toxic processes
and production



Minimum energy

Minimum emissions
and waste
Design for

use of
packaging materials

Design for
al packaging

Design for the


Design for
Disposal and
Enable easy
disassembly of

Maximise use of
recycled material
contaminants eg
plating of

Recyclable or