For decades, it was normal for mechanical engineers to throw a product design over the wall to the manufacturing team—an entirely separate entity with no design input. Then came the costly reality checks, as disconnects between the design and production lines cropped up. Nonstandard components might require retooling. Material choices might delay production and time-to-market. As design rework pushed further into the product life cycle, the cumulative cost of these changes kept rising.
Thankfully, the walls between design and manufacturing have been steadily coming down, with new technologies and ways of working giving engineers full visibility into production processes and constraints. Design for Manufacturing (DfM) brings manufacturing engineering into the design process from the start.