Selecting the best fastener for your application can be tough. To make matters worse, not all fasteners are created equally. Choosing the correct fastener design, finish or material type can make all the difference in assembling a quality product. As such, it’s imperative to choose the right fastener as early on in the design process as possible and this sentiment outlines the notion of Design for Manufacturing (DFM). Let’s take a closer look at the importance of choosing the right fastener and why DFM principles can serve as a guiding light in the journey.
What Is Design for Manufacturing?
Design for Manufacturing or Design for Manufacturing and Assembly involves optimizing the design of a product for efficiency in assembly, cost and quality. To embrace DFM, you must engineer or design in a component or bolted joint with these principles in mind during the product’s design stage.
The alternative is to design the product and then choose the fastener. This less efficient practice can lead to inefficient assembly, weak joints or the necessity of special fasteners, which are not readily available or common. Using special fasteners can also:
- Greatly increase the cost of production
- Reduce the lifespan of the product
- Cause product malfunctions
- Lead to product performance issues
Implementing Design for Manufacturing and Assembly Principles in Fastener Selection
Design for Manufacturing and Assembly should occur early in the development of a product during the design phase. When using this discipline, manufacturing will become efficient and cost effective, since choosing the right fasteners can later define the assembly process and reduce tooling. While the exact DFM workflow can be tailored to the unique application and part being designed, a few general DFM principles are:
- Design fasteners and objects for fast and efficient assembly.
- Work to standardize components and materials to save money.
- Achieve design simplicity by reducing the number of parts and complications.
- Minimize the number of manufacturing operations required on fasteners during assembly.
Why Are DFM Principles Important in Fastener Selection?
Design For Manufacturing represents the evolution of product design and can be leveraged to produce products more economically and at higher quality. No other component in the assembly process can have as broad of an impact on your DFM as choosing the right fastener. A few key benefits and reasons why fastener selection should be a core focus of your DFM planning:
- More cost-effective production.
- Faster time-to-market.
- Reduction of the product development process.
- Production will be up to speed quicker.
- Components can be combined to reduce assembly steps and the number of parts.
- It detects and removes faults or mistakes.
- Delivers a higher quality of the product because the design can be enhanced and refined at each stage.
- It can create a safer working environment.
Contact Bossard for Fastener Selection Assistance
Fasteners are engineered to hold two parts together. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid adding “higher responsibilities” to simple fasteners and work to achieve design simplicity. A few additional basic rules for choosing the best fasteners are:
- Fasteners must always be equal to, or better than, the assembled parts.
- Bolted joints may never be points of weakness.
- Assembled fasteners should always be controllable as well as exchangeable.
In the end, making fasteners a top priority in the design process by embracing Design for Manufacturing and Assembly principles can unlock all of the aforementioned benefits and more. Want to implement DFM for your assembly and don’t know where to start? Bossard’s Assembly Technology Expert Services and Engineers are available to help.
For help with choosing the right fastener for you or if you have other questions about fastener technology, contact us at ProvenProductivity@bossard.com.