Software for Estimating Part Costs Improves
Phillip Keane posted on October 17, 2017 | 1918 views

Following design for manufacturing (DFM) principles can save you a lot of hassle by informing the design process of a product in the early stages. This information can help engineers iron out many issues before they arise. Early detection of these issues can save you a lot of time, money and headaches in the design process.

caption. Picture from Boothroyd Dewhurst
DFM Concurrent Costing 3.0 guides manufacturers toward optimum process and material choices for machining, casting, plastics, and sheet metal. Picture from Boothroyd Dewhurst

As a result, several different design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA) methodologies have evolved over the years, including the Lucas Design for Assembly (DFA) Method and Hitachi Assembly Evaluation Method. However, one of the most popular is the Boothroyd Dewhurst Method (or BDM for short).

One of the great things about BDM is that it is available to the public (unlike the Hitachi method), which is why it has become so popular over the years. Another reason why BDM is so great is because it is constantly updated and is always evolving—BDM was the first company to commercialize DFM software … and it was the one of the first to release commercially available software for automatically determining part manufacturing costs from CAD geometry (so no need to rotate mock-up parts to figure out the alpha and beta symmetry).

And so, we come to the crux of the announcement: BDM will release DFM Concurrent Costing version 3.0, which enables enhanced abilities for component manufacturing cost analysis (yay!).

Deployed as a cost analysis tool for engineering and procurement teams, the latest software allows manufacturers to move beyond “price” models, based largely on past bids, to industrial cost models grounded in empirical test data and studies. 

The result is a highly reliable “should cost” view. One of the problems in the past has been the issue of local bias in terms of manufacturing costs. However, that is all changing now thanks to the latest update, which promises to assess all options where it comes to the location of manufacture.

DFM 3.0 allows manufacturers and their suppliers to explore bids in a neutral framework where machine types, speeds, processing sequences and optimum levels of automation are discussed. This better-informed environment encourages supplier suggestions and deeper, integrated partnerships built around expertise, best-cost practices and shared goals.

“We see a rise in procurement personnel joining engineering for the supplier phase of design review,” said Keith Gilligan, business development manager at Boothroyd Dewhurst, Inc.. “To better serve this new group of users, we’ve enhanced our Manufacturing Profiles feature. Now you can compare manufacturing costs across U.S geographic regions, and then to those in China, with just a few clicks. With more emphasis these days by original equipment manufacturer on supplier involvement and improved logistics, these profiles are proving useful. Producing close to your markets is increasingly favored by manufacturers looking to reduce risks and realize stronger profits.”

Here are some of the highlights of the latest version:

  • The geometry calculators in DFM 3.0 have been simplified and incorporated into the software’s main response panels so that users are more supportively guided through a DFM cost analysis of their parts.
  • The overall look and feel of the DFM software have been updated to provide a more cohesive user experience between DFA and DFM costing. Performance of the DFA/DFM software link has been improved from previous versions for more seamless data integration between software packages.
  • New batch processing features make it easier and faster to print or export multiple reports and graphs simultaneously. Multiple CAD models can also be batch processed and geometry imported simultaneously

Anyone interested in seeing how DFM can save you a bunch of headaches can mosey on over to DFMA.com for more information.

And if you want to know more about the underlying principles of DFMA (or you wish to learn how to perform DFM by hand!), we recommend a book called Product Design for Manufacture and Assembly, by Boothroyd, Dewhurst and Knight.

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