Guest post by LiveWorx Sponsor HCL Technologies

As History would have it

I’m a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics”, said Lightning McQueen to Mater in the movie ‘Çars’ and for a generation which is always eager to get off their feet…stronger, faster, quieter and better is essential to the automotive industry’s vocabulary. Model T defined these words with much lucidity-the revolutionary car not only transformed the transport industry but also questioned old production practices. A believer of ‘simplicity for efficiency’, Henry Ford’s idea of simplifying design for better end results, though not new then, but may have gained momentum somewhere around that period. Least was it known to Ford that the concept would soon grow to have a face and be named as Design for Manufacturing.

What was started by Eli Whitney (use of analogous parts in manufacturing) might probably have played a major role in shaping Design for Manufacturing and Assembly in the later years, as a result of which Model T was presented to the mass. Companies like Chrysler and Ford were known to invest heavily into educating their lot. The rest, as they say, is history! Today, DFM/A is a way of transport industry-automotive, locomotive, aerospace, optimization is always a great idea. Be it designing and manufacturing PCBs or suggesting an alternate design, automotive industry has exponentially grown due to DFM. With stiff competition for business and shrinking time-to-market requirements, it has become important to revisit age-old methodologies which need to be approached in a transformed manner.

A right tool for the skill

Earlier, organizations used to operate as a single entity doing most of the stuff from design to manufacturing. Designers and manufacturing engineers could walk across the room or to an upper/lower floor and talk to each other. Manual reviews, handbooks used to work in such scenarios for addressing DFM/DFA requirements. With changing times, that has drastically changed. An organization headquartered and having a central design team in the US could be having a bulk of its detailed design being done in a captive center or ODC in Europe while the product gets manufactured by its suppliers in Asia. To address this changed environment, one needs a better solution which has a thorough understanding of the aggressive developmental need of this industry along with an exposure to the rich history of DFM/DFA. This would guarantee a tight fit-being able to use DFM/DFA as per (or, within) the standards of transport industry. A player which has ample experience in the industry and ensures quick and easy interpretation at all levels. Crucial aspects like-

  • Shrinking product lifecycle, for instance, the lifespan of a car has now reduced from 10 or more years to 5-7 years.
  • The need to produce complex parts (as safety standards march ahead or an idea of another comfortable feature is conceived).
  • Design Engineers single-handedly impacting the total cost of a product.

should be well understood, triggering a suitable action and giving out apt suggestions!

But that’s DFM, not DFA?

Using two different tools for two closely related processes proves to be inconvienient in the long run. One fit for all is always well received. Driving-

  • Increased efficiency in assembly with lesser resources.
  • Better quality products with better value (from buyer’s point of view).
  • Optimum utilization of assembly equipments, thereby, resulting in the unit’s profitability.
  • Better functioning of assembly system.

are benefits which should be reaped by the right practitioners of DFM/DFA.

Anything else?

It should be simple and support newbies and experts!

Designers should be able to load any CAD design, a click and done! Essentials such as preferred material, volume, thickness issues, et cetera. should be its fundamental on which the bricks of alternate recommendations and faster cycle time, allowing engineers to ideate on the fly….is laid.

Why should expert reviews look at issues which can be detected by a software? An expert can go deeper into suggestions which truly is innovative and out of the realm of a software. A software can ensure a design to be good enough for review, thereby, improving it further. A monotonous task of reviewing hundreds of features and best practices can be completed in a jiffy…

Have you looked at DFMPro?

For more information on the latest cutting-edge tech solutions, register for LiveWorx 18, June 17-20, 2018 in Boston!