What's The Difference Between DFM, DFA & DFMA?

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The manufacturing industry has grown a lot over the past few decades. It was mainly revolutionized when transportation of these parts was made feasible. Different varieties of manufacturing parts and machinery were shared all over the world.

These days you will see so much variety among manufacturing goods and when all of these things are easily accessible to all, there is a very tough competition among manufacturers for this. Especially the companies providing DFMA service are very cautious of their competitors.

What is DFA?

DFA stands for design for assembly. This aspect of manufacturing mainly focuses on making the products or product parts that are easy to assemble together. Another thing that is mainly focused on in DFA is that the product parts should be strong enough to transfer and ship.

A few things which are key points for DFA are as follows:

  • The parts should be less but easy to assemble.
  • Avoid smaller parts that can be hard to assemble.
  • The assembly parts should be strong and handy.
  • After assembly, the product should be durable and also easy to disassemble.

DFMA service


What is DFM?

DFM stands for Design for Manufacturing and it is also referred to as Design for Manufacturability. The main thing in DFM is looking for ways to make sure that the end product is least complex and at the same time very effective.

Some of the key points for DFM are as follows:

  • Know the cost of fabricating every individual part than the whole product.
  • Look for components where you can reduce production costs.
  • Optimize product development by focusing on its quality, price, and reliability.
  • The main focus is on making the product in such a way that DFA is becomes easier.

What is DFMA?

We have talked about DFA and DFM individually, so you might have guessed that DFMA is the combination of two. DFMA stands for design for manufacture and assembly.

When talking about what is DFMA, it mainly focuses on the DFMA service provided and the guidelines. These guidelines are focused on making the product easy to use and cost-effective.

Some main guidelines all DFMA service providers follow are as follows:

  • Have a modular design before manufacture.
  • Focus mainly on individual parts than an overall product.
  • Each part should be easy to fabricate so that it can be changed rather than replacing the entire machine or product.
  • The product should be multi-functional.
  • Eliminate parts that are not of much use and increase the price.

Difference between DFM, DFA, and DFMA

Properly planned Design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) products are what create difference and ultimately make your customers loyal to your company. Let’s read on to know more about DFMA service and the main difference between DFM, DFA, and DFMA.

We have read that DFA is design for assembly and DFM is design for manufacturability. When talking of DFMA, it takes the nuances of both and if we put it the right way, it is the best of both worlds.

Some of the things which might be included in assembly can be unnecessary and the same is with the manufacturer that some parts might not be needed. So in DFMA, the extra assembly parts are reduced by making sure we manufacture them the right way. In short, we can say that DFMA covers the flaws of both DFM and DFA.

A simple example to explain DFMA service

Here is an example to explain the DFMA guidelines.

Suppose you bought a product or machinery. When you have ordered it, it comes with a set of instructions and parts. Having ten parts of good quality is easier to assemble than 15 complex parts. And this is what we look for in the right DFMA product parts. It should make it easier for the customer and also maintain the quality. This is what we call the right balance of DFMA.

Importance of DFA, DFM, and DFMA service

When reading as such you might not guess it from the differences that how important it is to have good DFMA service.

When you have products from a good DFA, DFM, or DFMA service, you can tell by the usage of the product that its assembly is easy, the parts are durable and the materials used are good.

So a good DFMA service is very crucial because a proper guideline to product manufacture and assembly is what will ultimately tell how long-lasting the product will be.


DFMA service


How Can You Make DFMA Service Better With Lesser Costs

We have discussed all the differences between DFA, DFM, and DFMA. Let us know talk about the aspects which can help make the DFMA service better. These aspects mainly focus on how you can make the DFMA service cost less but still be equally effective.

1. Reduce the number of parts used

More are the parts; more will be the risk of failure. So make sure you use the least parts and each one should be functional. Avoid using too many small parts. It will only increase the assembly work. Having too many parts also increase the test costs because each part will require individual testing.

2. Use a modular design

When you have a modular design, it is easier to copy it on other products. Make a modular design and then alter it according to the required needs.

Having a modular design reduces the cost of testing on individual parts every time you make it. Another benefit is that you will have to use lesser parts.

3. Standard parts are better to use

When making any complex machinery, it is better to use standard parts. They are available everywhere. So if in case the user has to get the changes, they can be easily found.

On the other hand, custom parts are not easily found everywhere and even the buyer hesitates to buy such products.

4. Design easy and error-free parts

Talking of the best DFMA service, it can be achieved when you can ultimately design error-free parts. Though it is hard to achieve yet you can try to get as close to it as possible.

As for easy and error-free parts, we mean to say the parts which cannot be assembled any other way. Make the part in such a way that there is no wrong way to put it and it minimizes the error.

5. Design multi-functional parts

Most successful DFMA service providers are the ones using multifunctional parts. If you design multifunctional parts, then you will have to make only one part instead of two or more. Multifunctional parts also reduce the cost for manufacture and testing.

An example of a multifunctional part is a heat dissipater which can be used to dissipate heat as well as a separator.

6. Design easy to assemble parts

It is a notion that complex parts are more durable. But it is smoothing which has nothing to do with durability. Make sure the parts you make are easy to assemble and put together. And if they are not, put an easy assembly guide with images in it to make the assembly easier.

7. Use right fastening means

Now moving from assembly parts to their actual assembly; it is better if you go with the conventional fastening means. Rivets, self-tapping screws, and clips are the best fastening means. Separate washers or nuts and bolts are not that reliable. They can open any time. So it is better that you manufacture parts that use the right fastening means.

8. Reduce assembly directions

The more the steps for assembly, the harder it will be to achieve the right product. If there are lesser steps for assembly, the buyer can easily assemble the parts and get the right product. Too many parts and then too many steps for assembly only increase the hassle.

9. Reduce binding tolerances or over-specifications

Binding constraints and over specifications will only confuse the buyer. These extra parts which have no use should not be included because they only increase the cost of manufacture.

But still, if you think it is necessary, include these parts with proper bold specifications that this part is not included in the actual assembly of the product.

10. Design for automation

When you are making parts, make sure that they are an automated product rather than a manual one. Automated products are generally preferred by people and they also reduce the cost of labor.

Fundamental Principles Or DFMA Service And Methods

There are many different methods for DFMA. Though we cannot cover each of these methods. Here we will discuss the main principles involved in all these methods:

  • DFMA service is a collaborative work between manufacturing and design teams. In engineering or any other industry, these two departments when working collaboratively make better products ultimately.
  • The DFMA phase does not end till manufacturing the parts, marketing is also a major part of it.
  • Lastly, for a good DFMA service, make sure you practice the feedback on products already in the process of manufacturing.

Bottom line

DFA, DFM, and DFMA are always going hand in hand. With the competitive environment, you should go with DFMA which includes both methods. We hope that this article made the difference clear and you now know about these.


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