DFX, or design for X, can be defined as a knowledge-based approach that attempts to design products that maximize all desirable characteristics—such as high quality, reliability, serviceability, safety, user friendliness, environmental friendliness, and short time-to-market—in a product design while at the same time minimizing lifetime costs, including manufacturing costs. Historically, designers have tended to underemphasize or overlook the preceding factors and have concentrated their efforts on only three factors: the function (performance), features, and appearance of the product that they develop. They have tended to neglect the “downstream” considerations that affect the usability and cost of the product during its lifetime. AT&T Bell Laboratories recognized the need to satisfy these objectives and used the term DFX to designate designing for all desired factors.2 DFX was described as a design procedure in which the objective broadly covers cost-effective “downstream” operations: distribution, installation, service, and customer use. Reliability, safety, conformance to environmental regulations, and liability prevention are also objectives. These are in addition to low manufacturing costs. DFX is “the process where the full life-cycle needs of the product are addressed during the product’s design.” AT&T made note of the value of incorporating DFX knowledge into CAE/CAD (computeraided engineering/computer aided design). Education was stated to be essential.3

The following design objectives have been recommended as being most important.

Function and Performance These are still vital. The product must perform the task for which it is designed.
*Adapted from Chap. 2 of Design for Excellence, by James G. Bralla, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1996.

9.25 Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill ( Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.

etc. Will the product continue to provide its desired function over a period of time? Will it retain its appearance. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. its accuracy. Long-Term Quality That is. and use of the product and other persons must be protected from physical injury and illness. it is one which. reliability. The product itself should be nonpolluting and. its use. this involves designs that ensure that recyclable components can be separated easily from the rest of the product. shipability. Will the product. Even if Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies.26 ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENTS Safety Those involved in the manufacture. Manufacturability This includes testability. or the ease with which it can be attended to to avoid future failures. as noted above. when the product is discarded after its useful life.—all the objectives of DFM. This objective is closely related to reliability. are its components configured so that they can be recycled easily? Design for the environment (DFE) has been used as a term to describe this approach. Design for disassembly is the name given to the system of product design that emphasizes recyclability of components. Environmental Friendliness This is closely related to safety but affects all living creatures and plant life.DFX* 9. nonhazardous in its operation and disposal. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. A sound design from the safety standpoint is one whose manufacturing process does not involve hazards to workers. it is one whose operation poses the minimum risks to the user and those in the vicinity. Primarily. quality.digitalengineeringlibrary. Easy serviceability may compensate for what otherwise would be a reliability problem. Serviceability (Maintainability and Repairability) This involves the ease with which the product can be returned to use after some failure has occurred. its ease of use. Quality and reliability cannot be built in if the basic design is not conducive to them. and its disposal avoid the release of pollutants and other environmental hazards? The manufacturing process should be one that generates minimal pollution. . and durability (the customer tends to group these objectives together. etc. but perhaps the most important stage is the design stage. its manufacturing process. All rights reserved. the designer should also). sale.? Quality and reliability result from care and attention at a number of stages. does not entail hazardous waste.

or Ergonomics This involves how well the product fits its human users. Edosomwan and A. 1996. easy customizing. McGraw-Hill. A. Ballakur (eds. Gatenby. and peripheral functions. A. Chicago.). Design for Excellence. 45. Other objectives such as installability. transportation. particularly with many consumer products. shipability. “Design for `X’ (DFX): Key to Efficient. air-conditioning. which may be a very important factor in its salability. 1989. Short Time-to-Market This is how suitable the design is for short lead-time Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies. how easy it is to use. Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. Appearance (or Aesthetics) This is the attractiveness of the product.. Chap. David A. attachments. “From DFMA to DFX: An AT&T Example. like the stereo. The company that puts an innovation on the market first often reaps ongoing benefits in the form of increased market share for its product. etc. may be more important to the buyer than its basic function. James G. REFERENCES 1.. McGraw-Hill.” paper presented at the 1993 DFM Conference at the National Design Engineering Conference. New York. in the case of an automobile. Features The accessories. . Profitable Product Realization. i. Suing Kim. Short time-to-market has important implications in the current era where product designs change rapidly and where commercial success often hinges on being the first supplier to market a product with particular features.DFX* DFX 9. Productivity and Quality Improvement in Electronics Assembly. Bralla. (Human factors engineering was a previously common term for the discipline that this involves. New York. This normally means whether the design is one that requires unique long lead-time tooling for some of its components. All rights reserved.digitalengineeringlibrary. also may be important in many cases. 3. March 1993. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website. 2.” in J. R. and cruise control in an automobile.) Is the product easy for the user to install and operate? Are all functions and controls clear? User unfriendliness can lead to safety and reliability problems as well as make the product less functional.27 User Friendliness. Layendecker and B. upgradeability. DFX. testability.

digitalengineeringlibrary. Any use is subject to the Terms of Use as given at the website.DFX* Downloaded from Digital Engineering Library @ McGraw-Hill (www. . All rights Copyright © 2004 The McGraw-Hill Companies.