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Afbeelding: Design for assembly

Less is more, let’s take it apart with: Design for Assembly

24 November 2020

A while back, you might have read our article about Design for Disassembly where we explained the importance of recycling, reusing and repairing products and objects. Have you already read that article? This time we discuss the importance of Design for Assembly, a different, but yet important part of the design process in our industry. What do you think the difference is between DFA and DFD? Let us explain!

What is Design for Assembly?

Fewer parts in a product means less time to assemble the object. Design for Assembly (DFA) is a design process or concept where a product contains as little parts as possible. With a minimal number of parts, it is easier to assemble a product but also timesaving, which in return saves in costs. DFA can lead to improvements in the reliability and quality of the product as the product is produced to last for a long period.

We do have to think small to be able to reduce parts of an existing product. Think of components such as screws and fasteners. Screws and fasteners are not expensive, but they do become expensive when having to handle them when taking a product apart.

Design for Assembly principles

Below we list some of the key principles to keep in mind when Design for Assembly.

  • The obvious one, use as little number of components as possible
  • Build-in fasteners. Conventional fasteners take up to 50% of the time to assemble a product. Objects can reduce fasteners by building it directly into the parts.
  • Usage of the same parts and fasteners. It might not be possible to reduce fasteners completely, but then at least use the same type of fastener for the whole product. This does not only apply for one particular object or product; this also applies to common parts across the product line.
  • Think: modular. Making a modular design means easy assembly for a manufacturer.
  • Foolproof for assembly. Taking components apart should not be a puzzle, and there should only be one obvious way to take the components apart.
  • Ease of packaging. The components might be made all over the world and need to be shipped. Make sure they are easy to pack and to ship.

Note that this is just the tip of the iceberg of the principles of Design for Assembly. There are many more principles and guidelines to think of when using this process. But do not hesitate to contact one of the experts at Rompa for more information!

What is the difference between DFA and DFD?

Definition DFA

Design for Assembly is a design method for a product with the ease of assembly using less parts in the product.
 

Definition DFD

Design for Disassembly is a design process that allows for the easy recovery of products, parts and materials for reuse.
 

In recent years both DFA and DFD have received a lot of attention due to the increasing importance of longer lasting products, recycling and reusing. Both of these concepts have similar goals, and both of the concepts are cost saving. Design for Disassembly is focussed on the afterlife and on recycling and reusing. DFD can be implemented in products such as electronics; it can also be used as a design process for housing and construction work. On the other side, Design for Assembly is being used on a smaller scale for smaller objects and products and is focussed mainly on the reduction of parts. 

You might also come across Design for Manufacturing (DFM); the main difference is that DFM is focussed on the reduction of overall part production. DFA and DFM are considered two different concepts but have become a singular philosophy in recent years, also known as Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA). DFMA is a methodology with the focus on simplifying the design of an object, by which manufacturing the object becomes easy and efficient. And in return, you might have guessed it already; it is cost saving! And when it becomes cost saving, it becomes attractive for the industry to implement this concept and philosophy, which in turn results in improved sustainability in everyday objects.

When we talk about the methodology and technology for remanufacturing, we need to consider not only the disassembly of products but also the need for re-assembly. Both aspects need to be considered during the design. Remanufacturing has become a very important aspect of environmental sustainability. The main goal is to bring a product or part back to its useful life.

Afbeelding: Automation line

Assemble with Rompa

When working together with Rompa, assembly is taken into consideration. We created a comprehensive 6 step service for all our clients. From idea to delivery, we provide a complete package. It is tailored to every client's project in cooperation with a project manager at Rompa. Would you like to read more about these service steps? Have a look at our service page, where we explain our 6 step service!

When we reach step 5 - just one step before delivery - we reach the assembly step. This step is not always necessary, but we can assemble plastic-, metal- and electronic components for you with the use of EDS rooms, SMT line and other facilities. Rompa makes sure the assembly process runs efficiently and safely at all our sites using tailor-made machines for automated assembly.

Have you seen our fully automatic assembly line? Take a look

Get in contact with Rompa

At Rompa we have many years of experience in Designing for Assembly for plastic products including electronics and packaging. Don't hesitate and contact us! We are always happy to answer all your questions and give you additional advice.