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Manufacturing Successes and Changing Role of Design are Highlights of 2011 DFMA Forum

Wed, 07/13/2011 - 9:57am
With U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse providing a video address on manufacturing’s key role in boosting the American economy, the 2011 International Forum on Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA) in Warwick, R.I., quickly established that early product design strategies are the new business model for competitive companies.

Alcoa, Boeing, Microsoft, UTC Power, Westinghouse Electric and Whirlpool were among the companies reporting reductions in product cycle times and total costs, along with better integration of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma goals through a renewed focus on “upfront engineering.”

“The trend in product design is that upfront engineering, or early analysis, is evolving into a business model,” said John Gilligan, president of Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc. “DFMA can start with rudimentary product shapes, cost them out, point to improvements and create efficiencies that carry into the whole manufacturing organization.”

Examples of significant, even radical, product savings with DFMA were abundant at the 2011 Forum. ITT Aerospace Controls reported 76-percent cost avoidance for a butterfly valve redesign, including a three-fold increase in factory throughput as a result of design improvement. International Game Technology (IGT), a global leader in the design, development and manufacture of casino gaming machines and systems products, realized a significant cost saving for a new product and a ten-fold improvement in disassembly times for service operations and system upgrades. A Fortune 100 company cited benefits of 75 million dollars on a next-generation consumer product.

In addition:

• Devenish Group aided a leading instrumentation company in the redesign of their specialized radio products, achieving 2.8 million dollars in savings on one unit.

• David Vranson of ITT Aerospace Controls was nominated DFMA Supporter of the Year in recognition of his engineering achievements and role in educating the design community about DFMA.

• Chris Tsai of Boothroyd Dewhurst presented highlights from a medical device manufacturer’s “Design-To-Cost” project that saved more than $10M and included deployment of Obeya rooms, Value Engineering, DFMA, advanced manufacturing engineers and a re-engineering of their product development process.

• Industry experts Harry Moser of the Reshoring Initiative and Dave Meeker of Neoteric Consulting each discussed the hidden costs of offshoring, with Moser offering companies a free Total Cost of Ownership analysis tool and Meeker providing DFMA redesign case study examples for equaling or beating foreign-based product costs.

• Boeing and Motorola have institutionalized DFMA as an enterprise-level tool alongside PLM and Lean approaches.

DFMA software guides engineers to assess the structural efficiency of their products and then reduce the assembly cost by consolidating individual parts into elegant, multifunctional designs. Product development teams can examine competing materials and processes and quantitatively judge the cost trade-offs of producing new designs or improving existing products.

For more information about the 2011 DFMA Forum go to: http://www.dfma.com/forum/index.html

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