Manufacturing Design

November 29, 2021

What is Design for Manufacturing (DFM)?

Design for Manufacturing or Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is the process of simplifying and optimizing product design and engineering, along with its parts and components for ease of manufacturing process. Design for Manufacturing is usually done at the earlier stages of the product development process with the ultimate goal of making better products for ease of manufacturing and reducing manufacturing costs. Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is often used interchangeably with Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) but these are two different concepts.

Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is just a fraction of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).

DfMA combines two methodologies – Design for Manufacture (DFM) and Design for Assembly (DFA), with both seeking to reduce material, overhead and labour costs.

Design for Assembly (DFA) focuses on reducing product assembly cost and operations while Design for Manufacturability (DFM) focuses on reducing overall manufacturing cost and minimizing the complexity of manufacturing operations.

In this article, we’ll discuss more on Design for Manufacturability (DFM). Simply put, Design for Manufacturing or Design for Manufacturability (DFM) is a crucial process utilized by product designers and engineers to avoid costly mistakes and rework in the early stages of product modeling that could complicate and delay the manufacturing process.

what is design for manufacturing

Principles of Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

Ideally, Design for Manufacturability (DFM) should occur early in the design process, before the tooling and the assembly is done, when the product is being modeled. This makes the manufacturing process less time-consuming, which in turn, will reduce manufacturing costs and increase the efficiency of your manufacturing processes.

Design for Manufacturability (DFM) requires all stakeholders of both the design and manufacturing processes to be involved. The intent is to challenge the design at all levels from components and sub-system to parts and assemblies in a holistic view. This process ensures that the product design is optimized for manufacturing and does not have unnecessary costs embedded in it.

Key principles of DFM can be broken down into:

principles of design for manufacturing

Manufacturing Process

Determining the right manufacturing process is a vital step for Design for Manufacturability (DFM). The objective of choosing the correct process for a part, component or product is to get the job done well at the lowest cost possible. During the design process, the design team will analyze what and how to meet these two criteria. You don’t want to be using a highly-specialized process for a product that could be delivered with the same quality at a lower cost. When optimizing Design for Manufacturability (DFM), these are the key things that your company should consider: number of parts being made, the material being used, the complexity of the surfaces, tolerances required and make sure to check if there are any secondary processes that will require additional manufacturing cost.


At design stage, your team will analyze how well your drawings conform to accepted manufacturing principles in accordance to the manufacturing process you’ve chosen for your product development.

Design simplicity and efficiency is essential making design decisions. Designing a product for efficient assembly and reducing the number of parts will avoid possible complications to occur during the manufacturing process. Be sure to discuss the final design with your manufacturing team to ensure that the design conforms to good manufacturing principles for the selected process.

design for manufacturing


Standardization of materials and components to be used for your product can greatly help in manufacturing and assembly. Similar to the Design Principle, it is possible to erroneously choose expensive materials that are not necessary for the product you are developing.

To help with manufacturing and assembly, here are some material properties to consider for Design for Manufacturability (DFM):

  • Mechanical Properties – How strong does the material need to be?
  • Optical Properties – Does the material need to be reflective or transparent?
  • Thermal Properties – Does it need to be heat resistant?
  • Color – What color does it need to be?
  • Electrical Properties – Does it need to an insulator or a conductor?
  • Flammability – How flame / burn resistant does the material need to be?


Apart from ensuring your design and materials selected for your product are apt for production, you also need to ensure that your product can perform in the environment it will be subjected to. Product Design for environmental considerations not only involves selecting designing and selecting materials that can withstand the products operating environment but also, it involves reducing the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.


Noncompliance in manufacturing has been an increasing concern over the past years. Testing how your manufacturing operations will work is pivotal. Manufacturers should ensure that the manufacturing process is in compliance with all aspects like the technical, legal, and corporate requirements, regulations and practices as they produce and market products.

guidelines for design for manufacturing

Guidelines for Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

The importance of designing for manufacturing (DFM) is outlined by the fact that about 70% of manufacturing cost is determined by design decisions. This is significant when compared to production decisions which only contributes about 20% to the overall manufacturing cost.

Here are some Guidelines that are proven useful to help on your design decisions when designing for manufacturing (DFM).

  • Minimize Part Count – The best way to reduce your manufacturing cost. Lesser number of parts means lesser cost, lesser time needed for assembly and reduced time to market.
  • Standardize Parts and Material – Standardized Parts and Materials means lesser costs as compared to customized products parts. Also, their reliability factors are more or less, guaranteed.
  • Create Modular Assemblies – The use of module in product design allows you to modify your design without losing its overall functionality.
  • Design for Efficient Joining – Look for ways to join parts effectively in the easiest way possible.
  • Minimize Reorientation of Parts During Assembly & Machining
  • Streamline Number of Manufacturing Operations/Processes – All processes have capabilities and limitations. Only include those operations that are essential to the function of the design.

design for manufacturing software

The Right Software for Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

In the past, product development has always been divided into two significant processes. First, is the design of the product wherein engineers and designers typically use a CAD software to design parts, components and assemblies of a product to be manufactured. The next process is where the manufacturing and production team come in and use CAM tools to develop tool paths. This separated CAD / CAM process has not only created barriers between these two integral parts of product development but also resulted in multiple late stage engineering changes, affecting cost, quality and time to market.

By using an integrated CAD/CAM solution like CAMWorks, design engineers and manufacturing teams are able to overcome challenges associated with the traditional disconnect between design and manufacturing. Manufacturers can now optimize design for manufacturing (DFM) seamlessly, which results in reduced cycle times, control costs, and improve quality, while simultaneously cultivating cooperation and collaboration between product design and manufacturing personnel.

CAMWorks is the first SOLIDWORKS® Certified Gold Product for Manufacturing/CAM Software seamlessly integrated into the design software. It is the market leader in advancements in Automatic Feature Recognition (AFR) and Interactive Feature Recognition (IFR) that offers true associative machining – automatically accommodating changes to the part model. This means that any modifications made to the design are automatically updated in the CAM data, which eliminates time consuming CAM system rework due to design alterations.

Some powerful tools designers leverage to optimize their drawings for DFM are:

SOLIDWORKS Design Checker

An add-in tool that verifies design settings and check consistencies in dimensioning, standards, fonts, materials and sketches to ensure that your SOLIDWORKS Documents meet-pre-defined criteria.


Fully defining the size, positioning and allowable tolerance of individual features of a component before sending it out for manufacturing is vital. Minimize manufacturing tolerances using the TolAnalyst add-in feature that enables users to quickly verify dimensioning and tolerance schemes to ensure proper fit and function of assemblies.


Powered by CAMWorks, creates conditions that apply machining strategies to part features. This eliminated the need of having to program part operations manually. This gives engineers and machinists unparalleled consistency, versatility and speed within an integrated environment.

Make better design decisions optimized for DFM during the design stage that will reduce both your engineering and manufacturing costs.

Want to know more? Contact us for CAMWorks Demo, today.