An Engineer’s Guide to Resolving Manufacturing Feasibility Uncertainties

Unchecked manufacturing feasibility uncertainties can throw a mission-critical manufacturing project off course, increasing the risks of project delays, unexpected costs, and late time to market. However, when your engineering design process includes protocols intended to reduce uncertainties before proceeding to full production, your machining and grinding projects have a much greater chance of success.  

This post will offer a roadmap for engineers to follow when designing aerospace, medtech, defense, high-tech, space exploration, and other mission-critical components to ensure your designs are optimal for machining or grinding manufacturing. 

First, let’s start with the basics of manufacturing feasibility.  

What is manufacturing feasibility? 

Manufacturing feasibility is an analytical evaluation process to determine whether your proposed project is technically feasible to manufacture, allowing you to optimize your designs for easy manufacturing. Material selection, custom tooling and fixtures, feasibility rules, and a keen understanding of precision machining and centerless grinding processes and capabilities are among the chief factors to consider. 

However, perhaps one of the most critical metrics of manufacturing feasibility is ensuring a component is designed to cost (DTC). With many variables contributing to the cost, such as a round edge versus a sharp edge, tiny or dead-sharp corner radii, or very small/intricate features that require the use of very small tools, working to reduce manufacturing uncertainties using a thorough feasibility process can have a powerful effect on your company’s bottom line. 

Risks of leaving manufacturing feasibility uncertainties unchecked 

If your grinding/machining vendor does not provide comprehensive feasibility feedback, your project could be headed for trouble when inevitable surprises arise, elevating the risks of:   

  • Project delays 
  • Increased costs 
  • Late time to market 

The way to reduce these risks is clear: feasibility at every iteration of the design process will ensure manufacturing is optimized prior to production. 

In our next section of this guide for engineers, we’ll outline three ways to assess the manufacturing feasibility of your mission-critical component. 

3 Methods for assessing manufacturing feasibility 

Consider the following three methods to ensure the manufacturing feasibility of your design:  

  1. Design for manufacturing (DFM) 
  1. Design for assembly (DFA) 
  1. Prototyping 

Continue reading to learn more about these methods for resolving manufacturing feasibility uncertainties to keep your project out of danger. 

Design for manufacturing (DFM) 

DFM is an engineering design method that optimizes a component’s design for manufacturability, addressing the material, tolerances, and secondary processes to reduce the complexity of manufacturing operations and overall production costs. Using input from manufacturing engineers, designers, technical developers, and stakeholders, DFM resolves uncertainties by revealing design flaws and inaccuracies for greater part accuracy and quicker time to market. 

Head to our blog to learn more about the advantages of DFM and how it helped us detect a critical design flaw that saved one of our customers from significant and costly production holdups. 

Design for assembly (DFA) 

DFA is another engineering design method for resolving feasibility concerns, but the focus here is on the component’s assembly rather than the machining or grinding process. DFA aims to facilitate or reduce the assembly operations of parts or components, helping to resolve uncertainties, streamline costs, and reduce production times.  

Rapid prototyping 

Rapid prototyping technologies, such as additive manufacturing or 3D printing, can produce component prototypes quickly and cost-efficiently. This method allows you to resolve manufacturing feasibility uncertainties by helping you discover design problems, determine design improvements, select the required manufacturing machinery, test for fit and durability, receive feedback from customers and stakeholders, and accurately estimate production costs, manufacturing time, and material requirements.  

In this engineering guide to resolving manufacturing feasibility uncertainties, we outlined the importance of assessing manufacturing feasibility and provided three practical methods you can incorporate into your engineering design process. Contact our team for more ways we can help you determine the manufacturing feasibility of your next project.