Getting Started in DFMA—And Getting It Right

March 16, 2023
In this Engineering Academy panel, experts will take a look at the biggest challenges companies face when implementing Design for Manufacturing and Assembly.

A panel of manufacturing experts with experience in Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA) discussed how companies can get started—and succeed—in DFMA. Among other issues, panelists discuss whether DFMAs it more suited to small, medium or large companies and where to begin: Small projects or a small part of a larger project?

In this video clip of the larger session, panelists focused on the biggest challenges companies face when implementing DFMA, as well as strategies to tackle these issues.

The biggest challenges I see are dealing with legacy products, said James Dawson, new product introduction engineering manager at Peko Precision Products. “For one, companies already have a product design maybe already in production and they're looking to reduce cost or improve throughput on that product.

To RIT Associate Professor Emeritus Jon Freckleton, another challenge is getting engineers the appropriate experience in modern production methods.

A lot of them don't have enough background in today's production methods, so they cannot utilize all the things that are so good,” Freckleton said. “[Schools are] not teaching how you can cut something out with a laser quickly, easily and [with] not a lot of tooling.

David Meeker, an engineering instructor at MIT and BU, agrees with Dawson and Meeker and adds that having a DFMA champion can help companies pull out of the status quo, improve production methods and pick appropriate projects.

“If you pick a project and it's got extreme tooling costs, you're not going to waste that tooling and redo it,” Meeker said. “Your champion needs to work on the inertia of the organization that really doesn't want to do this and doesn't totally see the benefit of it. I think if you deal with those things, it will roll out fairly well.

This video is the initial part of the Panel Discussion: Getting Started in DFMA—And Getting It Right on Engineering Academy. You can watch the full presentation there, as well as others in this learning program. You also can check out additional sessions such as those covering human/technology integration and learned lessons from using DFMA on machine frames. 

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