Providing proactive design for manufacturability (DFM) support is not at all unusual for ACDi’s manufacturing engineering team. In fact it is standard procedure.
Ideally, ACDi’s engineering and design teams are involved early on during the client’s product development stage to evaluate DFX (design for manufacturability, design for testability) factors to discover and address potential design issues/conflicts/inconsistencies and to ensure optimal design from inception that can be realized throughout the entire product life cycle. ACDi offers total design services for our customers where we will take full control and oversight of product design, or for customers who have their own internal design capabilities, ACDi offers a comprehensive set of DFM guidelines which documents and identifies basic and fundamental industry standard circuit board and mechanical design and assembly considerations.
ACDi has a great appreciation for the DFM process and recognizes that as our clients’ manufacturing arm, they rely on our expertise in this area which has become a routine part of our value-added services offerings.
Case in point: One client outsourced their product design though a third party, who in turn aligned with ACDi for ongoing electronic manufacturing services (EMS) support. The original designer built the initial developmental units and handed off ongoing production support to ACDi. During the early production process, DFM issues became apparent that were not readily foreseen during the initial product development phase. ACDi then identified multiple opportunities which were relayed to our client and the designer which have been subsequently incorporated in the next generation unit as follows:
- The original unit design utilized specialty force sensors which required discrete connection wires to be added via a secondary hand-solder operation, causing inconsistency and in some cases, compromised sensor integrity due to the heating process. The sensors were expensive and yield rates were less than 50%. ACDi engineering incorporated a ferrule at the solder junction for the sensor pin and wire termination reducing heat transfer toward the main sensor body. The new process improved sensor yields to 100%.
- Additionally, upon install the force sensor cables were being compromised during device actuation requiring extensive rework and disassembly to repair (1.5 hours per unit). A simple and straightforward solution was offered to improve cable installation including install of an additional restraint. This simple process change totally eliminated further premature harness failure.
- A peripheral communication cable for the unit was also failing due to susceptibility to noise interference causing data transfer interruption and failure. Again the issue was permanently resolved with the conversion to a modified shielded USB cable offered by the ACDi team.
- One very significant gating factor was a very lengthy and involved test and calibration cycle, allowing only two units daily production per person. ACDi’s engineering team devised a multi-station sectionalized test/calibration process that not only identified potential issues by stages throughout the test process, but also increased overall daily throughput by 60%.
- Other improvement ideas involving strengthening the housing body were also suggested and incorporated into the new generation units, improving overall product integrity and long-term performance.
The bottom line is by working together with our client and, in this case, their third-party designer, we all as one cohesive team have continued to improve the unit’s manufacturability, which has offered improved manufacturing yields, long-term unit quality and reliability, cost avoidance and reduction, and overall improved product performance. On behalf of our client, ACDi offers continued support and validation for all ongoing engineering change activity as they progress through the product development and commercialization process.
Please don’t hesitate to contact ACDi’s engineering team for support or assistance with design or DFM needs. The earlier we get involved in the design process the better.