What is Design for Manufacturing? arrow red

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is the task of transforming an original product design or concept into one suitable for production or assembly.

By incorporating design-for-manufacturing services early in the product development cycle, companies can significantly reduce the time and resources required for manufacturing, while retaining as much of the original design as possible.


Principles and Advantages of Design for Manufacturing (DFM)

Several key principles underpin the successful implementation of DFM:

Simplicity in design

Keeping product designs simple by minimising the number of parts and features has several advantages. Fewer components mean less complexity in the manufacturing process, making it easier to assemble and produce the product.

Simple designs also tend to be more robust and reliable, as there are fewer potential points of failure. Additionally, reducing complexity can lead to cost savings through lower material usage and streamlined assembly procedures.

Ease of assembly

Designing products with ease of assembly in mind can significantly improve manufacturing efficiency. Considering factors like part orientation, accessibility and reducing the number of assembly steps can reduce the time and effort required for putting the product together.

This not only cuts labour costs but also decreases the potential for errors and defects during the assembly process. Efficient assembly designs also often require fewer specialised tools or fixtures, further improving the manufacturing process.

Optimisation for manufacturing processes

Tailoring product designs to the specific manufacturing processes being utilised is crucial for optimising production. Different processes have different capabilities, limitations and constraints, such as material compatibility, tolerance requirements and tooling capabilities.

By accounting for these factors during the design phase, products can be designed to take full advantage of the manufacturing processes, resulting in higher quality, increased efficiency and reduced costs.

Efficient use of materials

Optimising material use is a key aspect of DFM that can lead to major cost savings. Efficient material usage can be achieved through techniques like nesting (maximising material utilisation during cutting), optimising part sizes and shapes and using material-saving design features.

Design for serviceability

Designing products with serviceability in mind ensures that they can be easily maintained and repaired throughout their lifespan. This can be achieved by incorporating features like accessible components, modular designs and standardised parts that can be easily replaced or serviced.

Products that are designed for serviceability often have longer lifespans. Additionally, ease of servicing can lead to cost savings by reducing the time and effort required for maintenance and repairs.

Standardisation of components

Using standardised components and materials across multiple products or product families can streamline manufacturing processes and reduce inventory costs. When components are standardised, they can be produced in larger quantities, taking advantage of economies of scale and potentially reducing per-unit costs. Standardisation also simplifies inventory management, as fewer unique parts need to be stocked and can facilitate easier maintenance and repair by reducing the number of unique replacement parts required.


The Design-for-Manufacturing Process

A robust DFM process typically involves the following steps:

Product Design

The initial design phase, where product requirements and specifications are established, considering both functional and manufacturing aspects.

Manufacturing Process Selection

Identifying and evaluating the most suitable manufacturing processes for the product, based on factors such as production volume, material properties and cost considerations.

Design for Manufacturing Analysis

Analysing the product design to identify potential manufacturing issues, opportunities for optimisation and areas for improvement.

Design Optimisation

Refining the product design based on the DFM analysis, incorporating changes to enhance manufacturability, reduce costs and improve quality.

Prototyping and Testing

Creating prototypes and conducting thorough testing to validate the design, identify potential issues and make necessary adjustments before full-scale production.


Once the design has been finalised and validated, the product can be manufactured using the optimised processes and techniques identified through the DFM process.

Engineers in a design for manufacturing meeting.

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is closely related to Design for Assembly (DFA), another crucial aspect of product development. DFA focuses on optimising the assembly process by simplifying product structures, reducing the number of parts and minimising assembly steps.

While DFM addresses the whole manufacturing process, DFA ensures that the product can be efficiently assembled, reducing labour costs and improving overall productivity. DFA emphasises factors such as part orientation, ease of handling and minimising the need for specialised tools or fixtures during assembly.

Prototyping 2

How Design-for-Manufacturing Affects Manufacturing Costs

Design for manufacturing can significantly impact manufacturing costs before a part has even been made. For example, a historic study conducted by Rolls Royce found that 80% of opportunities to reduce costs across 2,000 parts would require changes to the design. Here are just some of the main ways in which DFM can save money and increase profits in the long term:

Reduced material waste

By optimising material usage and minimising scrap, DFM helps to reduce raw material costs and promote sustainability.

Minimised assembly time and effort

Products designed with DFM principles in mind require fewer assembly steps, resulting in reduced labour costs and increased productivity.

Fewer defects and rework

DFM ensures that products are designed to be easily manufactured, minimising the likelihood of defects and the need for costly rework or repairs.

Improved product quality and reliability

By considering manufacturing constraints early on, DFM helps to ensure consistent product quality and reliability, reducing the risk of product failures and associated warranty costs.

Increased manufacturing efficiency

DFM optimises manufacturing processes, enabling faster production rates, better utilisation of resources and reduced downtime, all of which contribute to cost savings.

Our Work Row2

Adapting Designs for Mass Production with DFM

When transitioning a product design from concept to mass production readiness, Design for Manufacturing (DFM) plays a vital role. DFM techniques are applied to optimise the design for efficient, cost-effective and high-quality manufacturing at scale.

If you are a designer looking to adapt your product for mass production, get in touch with RCT. Our experienced team can work closely with you to analyse your design and help implement any necessary modifications to make your product ready for efficient, cost-effective and high-quality mass production.

Get in touch today...

either contact us on the details below or fill out the form and we'll get back to you!

    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.