The aim is to develop products as well as possible – high-quality, reliable, easy to use, and cost-effective to manufacture. However, wishes and goals do not always meet, and some things must be prioritized. With the help of DfX designing, goals can be achieved as desired. What does DfX mean for your product and what are the benefits of DfX design?
What DfX means?
DfX stands for Design for Excellence. The aim of DfX is to develop a product that functions as desired throughout its life cycle. X is the point of view of how the product is designed.
X can be for example:
- M – Design for Manufacturing, where the product and manufacturing are designed to be as suitable as possible in relation to production volumes.
- A – In the Design for Assembly method, the device is developed from an assembly point of view.
- C – Design for Cost, the goal is to optimize the manufacturing costs with for example production methods, material, and component choices.
- R – Design for Reliability perspective, the emphasis is on device reliability and long service life.
- In Q – Design for Quality, the product is made with special emphasis on for example visual quality.
In DfX design products are developed by using a set of operating methods, guidelines, and standards.
What does DfX design mean in practice?
In an ideal situation, DfX design is part of the product development and design from the beginning, but it can also be done for an existing product. For example, cost savings can be achieved in materials by optimizing the production assembly or the final testing process of the product.
In DfX designing, for example, manufacturing methods are checked and adjusted, or components and their availability are reviewed. Product assembly stages can be clarified and are the work and quality instructions as well as practices sufficient and easy to use.
DfX design methods include, for example, assembling and disassembling equipment, making prototypes, and analyzes from 3D models or electronic CAD (computer-aided design) images. In DfX design BOM (bill of materials) and testability analyses, process FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis), and product development changes can also be carried out.
Juha-Matti Seppälä, Line Manager DfX, tells about the stages of a typical DfM project:
"In a DfM project, the reviewing is done as early as possible. We produce a DfM feedback report which includes feedback throughout the entire project, from the first review to prototypes and production transfer. Then we go through these observations with the customer point by point and find the appropriate solutions.”
How DfX design benefits the customer?
Primarily, customers can save costs and time with DfX. 70-80% of the total product cost is determined already in the designing phase. By doing designing carefully and determined goals in mind, considerable savings can be achieved in the later stages of the product's life cycle.
With DfX design you can do changes already in the early phase of the project when it is still easy and fast. “When the product is close to production transfer the change process is more laborious, expensive, and takes more time”, says Juha-Matti.
Juha-Matti lists other benefits he has noticed in his work:
"The quality level, for example, in the proto series has improved. Because of fewer errors in assembly, the customer, and the design team can get faster to core work, such as testing the device’s features.”
"The Innokas operating model, where design and production are in close cooperation has several advantages: we learn continuously, share knowledge and thus develop our know-how all the time. When you understand the other area’s requirements finding solutions is easier and faster."
Juha-Matti continues: "When you include a team from production, the knowledge of the product builds up from the beginning. Developing the products further after the product transfer becomes easier. Customers have appreciated this."
Ville Mätäsaho, Head of Kempele Operations, adds: "In Innokas we can take producibility into account in all design projects, regardless of where the product is finally manufactured. The feedback for the design phase comes in any case from genuine production."
Communication is fast and straightforward in Innokas DfX design
At Innokas Medical, DfX design is an integral part of design projects, and our strength is that all functions are under the same roof:
"All competencies are involved: we have software design, mechanics, electronics, and production all in the same house. In addition, we have quality competence. The overall package is our biggest strength. This is a clear advantage for the customer – communication is fast and straightforward", sums up Ville.
Innokas’ long experience in designing and manufacturing demanding devices has brought not only the know-how but also an extensive network of subcontractors. This enables us to make cost savings and improve product reliability already in the design phase. Engineers, manufacturing operators, and procurement specialists all work together with the customer and component suppliers.
The goal of Innokas and DfX design is to design the best product for Your company. When time is valuable and you want to make long-term savings in costs and minimize risks in the future, it is worth investing early in DfX designing.
You might also be interested in the Saga design case example, which was also a DfX project. You can read it here.