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Why should I worry about Design for Manufacture?

May 20, 2013

Why should I worry about Design for Manufacture?

Design for manufacture (DFM) is all about taking full advantage of the selected manufacturing process whilst at the same time engineering the part(s) to suit the process and minimise cost.

Why should I worry about Design for Manufacture?As the manufacturing method is frequently undecided when a client initially approaches us, support to make the necessary changes becomes an important part of the design service we supply.

Understanding these rules, or designing for manufacture, is as important today as it has always been. Ignore the rules and you will get a substandard product, or at best you will pay over the odds for something that could be produced for less.

What is design for manufacture?

So design for manufacture is just that. It’s designing with a manufacturing methodology in mind, such that features are created in ways the process can replicate without difficulty, as difficulty usually means additional cost!

Potential issues can range from a simple chamfer around a hole that requires an extra setup when CNC Machining; to more complicated issues such as the way in which a hole is created during injection moulding that may require an additional side action, or how to anchor a boss to a thin wall without compromising the tooling or creating sink marks on an aesthetic surface.

How do we select a manufacturing process?

So how should a process be selected? There are several important factors; probably one of the Why should I worry about Design for Manufacture?most significant is the quantity of parts required. Then there is material, size, and complexity of part, and what kind of aesthetic finish is required. 

The problem that frequently occurs is that quantities, and whilst the expectation might be 5 – 10,000 per year, the first batch might be just 50 off. The natural desire is then to try and postpone any capital expenditure on tooling until quantities begin to rise. This can lead to different technologies being used initially that are not optimal for the design.

This is where we can help, as not only do we distort the conventional quantity/process relationships, but we also specialise in adapting designs to suit the required process.

For example, if that process is injection moulding, then we have developed four categories of tooling, to suit different phases in the development programme, which is another article in itself – you may be surprised at some of the options!

Why should I worry about Design for Manufacture?Design Support

The good news is that Plunkett Associates have access to a huge variety of processes, which gives us incredible latitude to find the optimum solution and ensure the design is suitable. 

Having said that, acknowledge that some modifications may be required and so we cannot emphasise strongly enough how early communication is important. Perfecting a design before opening discussions can quickly unravel days of work – so talk to us now!

Then we can work with you to create a design that meets your requirements yet is straightforward to manufacture. After all, that is what Design for Manufacture is all about.


  • Plunkett Associates worked on the design and production of titanium frames for an artificial heart valve where precision and consistency was paramount. Communications were efficient and productive with concepts readily incorporated into the final design, and suggestions for improvements all highly appropriate. The quality of the end product was ideal and I have no doubt that I will use the advice and expertise of Plunkett Associates again.
    David Wheatley, Wheatley Research Ltd
  • “Doing business with you has been an absolute pleasure. You have made my goals a reality. You have been patient, helpful and above all, responsive. Best service that I have experienced in ages. I consider Plunkett Associates to be an integral part of my business plan moving forward.”
    Jet Cooper, Sculptor
  • Thanks for the present that arrived this morning, as promised. Parts look first class, as always.
    Jon Todd, Design Manager, PHS Group
  • Plunketts developed a solution that met our precision requirements at a cost significantly lower than alternative manufacturing approaches we had investigated
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Plunkett Associates have excellent breadth of experience, work with high quality partners and have a flexibility that we have found enables challenges to be met successfully, cost effectively and in a timely manner.
    Nick Skaer, CEO, Orthox Ltd
  • Interestingly, people who look at it in its own right with little knowledge of what it does, just like it! It’s tactile and it looks good…
    Tim Collings, Operations Director, Troika Systems Ltd
  • To create such a consistent quality finish in chrome was an amazing achievement and the prototypes really gave our stand the wow factor.
    James Clark, Group Commercial Director, The Airdri Group
  • I can’t recommend Tim and his team highly enough. We ended up with a design which can be produced and assembled quickly, efficiently and reliably, in volumes that make sense
    Simon Leggett, Director, Olivewood Technology
  • Kirintec were thrilled with Plunketts. They made a complex process simple and we were just amazed at the lead times achieved. Plus, every single deadline was met without any drama.
    Penny While, Marketing Director, Kirintec
  • Plunkett Associates truly offer a complete turnkey solution with Speed, Effectiveness and Precision.
    David Harden, Director, Enica Ltd
  • Thanks to Plunkett Associates flexible, bespoke and cost effective service I was able to produce the objects that I had originally had in mind.
    Simon Ryder, Artist
  • Plunkett Associates have a fantastic supply chain, work with all sorts of production processes and will always do their utmost to solve a problem.
    Naim Audio
  • We always know exactly what we’re getting and we know we won’t be let down on quality, price or lead times.
    Mark Williams, Research and Development Director, Johnson Safety Products
  • "With their simple to understand language, willingness to go the extra mile and approachability, Plunkett Associates were a great partner for our company. We couldn’t be happier with the results of our project. (A working prototype that they got right first time, by the way). Thank you!"
    Carolina Ballon-Forrester, Director, Kittyrama Ltd
  • “We use Plunkett Associates because we want someone we can trust, that knows what they’re talking about, has all the contacts, will provide reliable advice and feedback and will get the right result for us.”
    Jim Copestick. Design Manager, Thorlux Lighting
  • “Accuracy, finish and delivery all first class.”
    Andrew Peters, JMDA Ltd
  • “We were really surprised at how quickly they turned round such a high quality prototype and the parts certainly proved their worth. They were of high enough quality to provide a fantastic visual representation and to undergo rigorous testing."
    Stuart Wilson, Design Director, TRT Lighting
  • "Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground."
    Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd
  • Plunkett associates always find a solution. Whatever we need to prototype, they have a great grasp on the technologies available, costs and lead-times so we get the right solution tailored to the project needs. Have always delivered and never let us down.
    Naim Audio

Get in Touch with us for your Prototyping, Machining and Tooling & Moulding requirements…